Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is kicking off his 2018 gubernatorial campaign today with a string of events around the state, and his very presence is already shaking up the rest of the Republican field.
As Ernest Luning reports this afternoon for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, George Brauchler is making some significant — and perhaps unavoidable — changes to his gubernatorial campaign:
Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler will be going without a campaign manager until next year, his campaign spokesman told Colorado Politics Wednesday. [Pols emphasis]
Veteran GOP consultant Ryan Lynch, who had been managing Brauchler’s campaign since its launch at the beginning of April, left the campaign this week for unspecified opportunities, and the campaign doesn’t plan to replace him before the end of the year.
“We have a very strong and experienced leadership team, and we will fill the campaign manager spot in 2018,” Brauchler spokesman Jack Cutter said, pointing to the campaign’s advisory team, including some of the state’s leading political operatives.
The campaign shake-up comes at the same time as former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s long-anticipated entry into the crowded Republican gubernatorial primary. Cutter said the two events aren’t related.
Yeah, right; it’s just a mind-boggling coincidence that Brauchler is doing this on the same day that Tancredo started sucking all of the oxygen out of his campaign. If these two events truly aren’t related, then the news is almost worse for Brauchler; it would mean that his campaign is so inept that they didn’t understand that everyone else would make the connection with Tancredo’s candidacy.
The reality is that it is absolutely “sad trombone” time for Brauchler, who apparently can no longer even afford to maintain a campaign manager on staff. This isn’t a huge surprise given Brauchler’s abysmal fundraising performances in 2017. Take a look at what we wrote after Brauchler reported raising just $98,000 in Q3:
This isn’t about whether or not Brauchler will have enough money to pay for an effective advertising campaign — at this rate, Brauchler is barely going to have enough money to run a functional campaign at all. Brauchler’s campaign needs to be staffing up by the end of this quarter and opening offices around the state if he is going to have the organization to succeed at the GOP state convention, and it’s difficult to see from here how he might be able to pull that together.
Brauchler doesn’t need to be the top fundraiser among Republican candidates. He does, however, need to raise enough money to run a semi-functional campaign. Brauchler literally cannot even afford to have a campaign manager at this point. Money begets money in high-profile campaigns; it’s only going to get harder for Brauchler to raise money when he has to explain to donors that he needs a check to pay for the Internet access in his campaign office.
Brauchler was already taking fire from other Republicans about continuing to serve as District Attorney while running for Governor. With his fundraising problems and reliance on grassroots support, Brauchler was absolutely the Republican candidate who had the most to lose if Tancredo jumped in the race.
The writing on the wall is hard to miss now: During Tancredo’s first kick-off event in Colorado Springs, the Tanc went out of his way to praise the Arapahoe County District Attorney. We’ve seen this tactic many times before — heap praise on an opponent in hopes that you can pick up their endorsement after they inevitably drop out of the race. Consider this quote from Tancredo’s Colorado Springs event earlier today:
“Winning the primary, I think I have a really good chance of that – I think that’s a done deal almost.”
This is more than just the typical bluster from a new candidate. Tancredo has seen at least one poll on the Republican Primary, which showed him with a significant lead over any other Republican in the field. Should Tancredo get financial support from Steve Bannon’s network, and potentially the backing of President Trump himself, it’s not hard to envision a scenario in which the Tanc shuts out all but one or two other GOP candidates. Someone like Walker Stapleton has the establishment support to hang in there with Tancredo through the June Primary; Brauchler most certainly does not.
Brauchler’s gubernatorial campaign is in full panic mode now. In fact, he’s nearing the point where he announces Carly Fiorina as his running mate.