More of Maes’ supporters turn backs

Dan Maes

Top Colorado Republicans peeled away from their party’s gubernatorial candidate Thursday, and a conservative national website urged Dan Maes to get out of the race.

Maes, who defeated Scott McInnis last month for the GOP nomination for governor, resisted the urging that he abandon the race against Democrat John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, and former Republican Tom Tancredo, who joined a third party.

“Do not waiver! (sic) Never quit,” Maes posted on his Twitter account Thursday afternoon after former Sen. Hank Brown, GOP heavyweight Pete Coors and unsuccessful Republican candidate John Andrews withdrew their endorsements.

Pressure on Maes to withdraw likely will increase today as the deadline closes on the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to certify the general-election ballot.

If a vacancy occurs today in any statewide office, Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams said, the party can give the vacancy committee the required five-day notice so it could meet Tuesday. It still would have time at that point to include a new Republican candidate on the ballot.

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, herself a veteran of a statewide race as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006, repudiated Maes, calling him a fraud.

The tea party-related group, however, said it was sticking with the embattled Evergreen businessman.

“We had a long talk,” GJResult spokesman Tim Fenwick said Thursday. “As of this moment, we’re staying with him. We’ve got to have some faith in somebody. If he decides to stay in, we’re backing him to the hilt.”

Maes this week said he might have spoken incorrectly when he said he worked undercover for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation while employed by the Liberal, Kan., police.

Maes earlier in the campaign paid a record $17,500 for campaign-finance violations and found himself criticized by former supporter Freda Poundstone over whether she had given him $300 as a campaign donation or a loan to pay his mortgage.

Maes put an unsigned $300 check in Poundstone’s purse at an event earlier this week, according to published reports.

Rowland said the “character issues” that have arisen around Maes show he is “utterly unprepared to be our next governor. Dan is an accidental nominee, and he is a fraud. I realize those are harsh words, but in this case the truth is harsh.”

If Maes remains the Republican nominee, she would vote for Tancredo, Rowland wrote in an e-mail statement.

In yet another twist in the Republican race this campaign season, Jane Norton got a boost from a former detractor as a result of the Maes hullaballoo.

“Jane Norton for governor,” the website blared on Thursday.

Norton lost last month in her bid for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate. proprietor Erik Erikson breathed life into the campaign of Norton’s opponent, Ken Buck, early in 2010 and criticized Norton as an establishment candidate.

“It was funny, after all the nasty stuff he said about Jane,” said Cinamon Watson, spokeswoman for the Norton campaign.


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