Governor candidates speak, but not inside forum

Former congressman Tom Tancredo speaks to the media outside Two Rivers Convention Center on Saturday.

While the Democratic and Republican nominees for Colorado governor were preparing to debate indoors Saturday, two other candidates for that office who were not invited by Club 20 to debate were outside talking to whoever would listen.

But those two — American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and independent Jason Clark — took different tacks in presenting their message outside the Two Rivers Convention Center.

Clark used a bullhorn; Tancredo held a news conference.

“They won’t let me in,” Clark shouted a couple of times.

“There really are more than two people running for governor,” Tancredo said. “Everybody in this city, everybody in this area has the right to hear from some people who have something to say about this issue who actually have a chance at winning the race. I’m one of those guys.”

As it happened, neither had many supporters of his own to rally with. They had only supporters of Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican Dan Maes to talk to, or more accurately, shout over.

Neither was invited to speak because Club 20’s debate rules allow only those candidates whose parties received at least 1 percent of the vote in the last general election to be invited.

Just before Tancredo addressed the media, Club 20 Executive Director Reeves Brown came outside to speak to Tancredo. He apologized for not being able to invite him in to speak, and the two shook hands.

After Reeves walked back inside, however, Tancredo said that rule shouldn’t apply here.

“This organization has a set of standards they want to use to determine who speaks or not, but one of those should be: Is the person a viable candidate?” the former Republican said. “How do you decide that? Well, let’s try this: How much money have you raised that you haven’t paid yourself in gas reimbursement? Mr. Maes has, what, $20,000 left in the bank, and he has to pay more of that in some sort of fine? We have raised now, closing in on $300,000.”

The Tancredo camp said he has been invited to several other debates with Hickenlooper and Maes, and that he should have been allowed to speak at this one, too.


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