The New York Times' Jack Healy profiles Colorado Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Tom Tancredo today, who has been largely under the radar in the campaign's final days as opponent Bob Beauprez and his allies hammer away with attack ads:
Fifteen years after he built a national reputation as an inflammatory foe of illegal immigration, Tom Tancredo, 68, is still campaigning, without apology, as Tom Tancredo. He skipped the debates ahead of Tuesday’s four-way Republican primary. He defied calls to drop out of the race. He embraces marijuana legalization. He says President Obama should be impeached, but notes that “you can’t criticize him because he’s black and if you do, you’re a racist.”
…Republican leaders fret about nominating a candidate who has called Mr. Obama the “greatest threat” facing America and once called Miami a third-world country. In a year when Democrats are scrambling to keep control of the Senate, Republicans here say that Mr. Tancredo’s views could energize Colorado’s Democrats while alienating moderate Republicans and unaffiliated voters.
“It is a real mess,” said Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado Republicans. “If he’s the nominee, he will become the defining face of the Republican Party. The Democrats will make sure of it. He has said so many inflammatory things — the list is unbelievable.”
Tancredo's unique position in this race, with higher name recognition and a built-in base of support from his years as a nationally known anti-immigrant hardliner, have given him an edge in polling, and may yet be enough to hand Tancredo the Republican nomination tomorrow. It may be that Tancredo has taken his pedal off the gas campaignwise because he doesn't expect (or perhaps desire) victory–or it may be that he doesn't feel the need to engage the attacks from Washington-based friends of chief opponent Bob Beauprez.
[I]n the twilight of the campaign, as voters mailed in their ballots and his opponents stepped up their criticisms, Mr. Tancredo dialed back his profile. He was not airing any commercials to rebut the attacks, and acknowledged that the recent barrage had probably hurt him in the polls. He gave interviews and attended campaign meetings, but also found time to help his wife deal with a broken-down car and to walk the dog.
“It’s all pretty much over,” he said.
It's a true statement, most of the ballots are already in. So why bother returning friendly fire?
We'll know if that was a smart decision soon enough.