Party bosses eye Nov. 2

State Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams speaks at the Mesa County Republican Woman’s luncheon at Two Rivers Convention Center on Monday.

While Colorado voters cast ballots today to decide who should represent them in various races, leaders of the two major parties already are planning ahead for the general election Nov. 2 regardless of who wins.

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams, who was in Grand Junction on Monday, said he’s more than confident the GOP will retake several seats no matter who the candidates are, including in the governor’s race.

Speaking at a Mesa County Republican Women’s lunch at Two Rivers Convention Center, Wadhams said the Democrat in the governor’s race, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, will win, but only if former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo continues his rebellious third-party bid as a candidate for the American Constitution Party.

“This governor’s race, a lot of things have happened, and they have not been good things,” Wadhams said. “There’s no doubt about it, Tom Tancredo will result in the election of John Hickenlooper. I am deeply disappointed ... and I am still hopeful he will change his mind at some point. But do not despair about the governor’s race. John Hickenlooper is a flawed candidate running on the flawed record of (Gov) Bill Ritter. We will still win.”

But Pat Waak, chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said Wadhams is living in dreamland if he thinks one of the two Republicans candidates for that office, Dan Maes or Scott McInnis, have the wherewithal to win that race.

She said both are tainted by their respective missteps: McInnis for his admitted plagiarism, and Maes for his repeated campaign finance violations.

“Nah,” she said. “They’ve got seriously hampered candidates, both with huge trust issues. I’d hate to be in (Wadhams’) place. I’m sure he’ll try to make up something (about Hickenlooper).”

Wadhams said he’s been calling on Hickenlooper’s newly named lieutenant governor running mate, Colorado State University-Pueblo president Joe Garcia, either to resign that position or go on sabbatical.

He said unlike elected officials running for re-election or some other office who can be removed by voters, state workers shouldn’t run because taxpayers end up paying their salaries as they vie for office.

Waak said the same, then, should be true for such people as Ken Buck, who’s running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate against Jane Norton while serving as Weld County’s district attorney.

“I think it’s interesting he’s focused on Joe Garcia and not on Ken Buck being a DA,” Waak said. “Joe Garcia and the CSU board of governors are working together to figure out how he can best serve and run for lieutenant governor at the same time. Otherwise, a lot of people use their personal time and leaves of absence to run for office.”

The board’s next meeting is Wednesday, and it is to discuss the matter then.

Wadhams said he hopes they’ll ask him to resign. It not, he plans to continue to take issue with Garcia’s employment.

“We urge them to tell Joe Garcia to either resign or withdraw,” Wadhams said. “I feel strongly about this. This is an ethical issue ... and we’re going to stay on this issue as long as it takes.”


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