Tancredo wearing ‘maniacal egotist’ label with a smile

Ex-congressman says Republicans can't win governor's race on Nov. 2

Tom Tancredo, shown during a television interview in Denver.

Tom Tancredo may be a “maniacal egotist,” but there’s a method to his madness, he said Tuesday.

By entering the race as a third-party candidate, the former Republican congressman turned American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate is trying to force the two struggling GOP governor candidates to withdraw, Tancredo told The Daily Sentinel on Tuesday.

“What I had hoped to do was have them recognize this, have (GOP chairman Dick Wadhams) recognize it and bring enough kind of pressure to bear and say, ‘Yeah, we’ll do it,’ ” Tancredo said. “Then, Tom Tancredo goes away, and we’ve got a clear path to getting somebody else in the race. For whatever reason that wouldn’t happen, didn’t happen, I’ll do what I said I’d do.”

On Monday, Tancredo made good a threat that he would enter the governor’s race as a third-party candidate unless the two GOP candidates, Dan Maes and Scott McInnis, vowed to withdraw after the Aug. 10 primary if their polling and campaign contributions showed they were far behind Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Because they refused, Tancredo switched from Republican to ACP on Monday and created a campaign account with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday.

The American Constitution Party hasn’t officially named Tancredo as its candidate yet, but the 2008 GOP presidential candidate said he expected the party to do so as early as today. The man who was seeking that job for the party, Benjamin Goss, dropped out of the race early Tuesday.

Tancredo said he made the switch because he doesn’t believe Maes or McInnis, whose campaigns have been rocked by scandals in recent weeks, have the wherewithal to defeat Hickenlooper.

Tancredo said he will drop out of the race if a strong GOP candidate emerges, but he added he isn’t sure who would be strong enough to carry the GOP into November. He also suggested the party could just back him and the ACP, saying that while Republican voters would support him, party officials likely wouldn’t.

“What they could do is nominate a straw man or nobody and say that if it looks like I could have a chance, Republicans could support me, or they could split the vote, those bozos,” the congressman said. “They could pull someone off the street. If he’s actually alive, he could run.”

Last week, 21 tea party groups around the state, including three from the Western Slope, urged the congressman not to enter the race as a third-party candidate, reminding Tancredo about something he wrote them in a letter months ago: “Leaving the party is not the answer.”

Jennifer Bailey, president of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance and director of the Two Rivers 9-12 Project, two groups that signed the letter, said Tancredo should have waited until the primary was over.

“He should just let the voters have a say at this point in the middle of a primary,” Bailey said. “We’re all intelligent enough to weigh the issues and what’s going on with the other candidates. Let that play out first, and then go from there. I think everybody’s just beyond frustrated with what’s happening with this race all the way around.”

Tancredo said his plan now is to be as visible as possible for the next two weeks, raising as much money as he can and speaking anywhere he’s invited. Some groups have canceled events he was to speak at, but he declined to identify them. Tancredo has been stumping for numerous GOP candidates, including McInnis and Ken Buck, who is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate.

Tancredo said the tea party groups are mad at him, and the GOP is angry with him, but maybe the Democrats will invite him to some events.

“I’m going to do whatever I can do, but I don’t know I’m going to get that many invitations,” Tancredo said. “They’ve called me a maniacal egotist. That would be a fun T-shirt. Vote for the maniacal egotist. He’s more than just a pretty face.”


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