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July 15, 2010 09:05 PM UTC

BREAKING: RGA Pulling Out of Colorado, GOP Discussing Options

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE #2: Well of course they deny it, as Fox 31’s Stokols updates:

Sources tell FOX31 News that the Republican Governor’s Association is essentially abandoning McInnis, and pulling funds out of the Colorado governor’s race – a claim the RGA firmly denies.

“We remain as committed today as we were a week ago, a month ago or two months ago,” said Tim Murtaugh, director of political communications for the RGA, noting that McInnis has yet to secure the Republican Party’s nomination…

Seriously, what do you expect the RGA to say on the record? When the national campaign apparatus pulls the plug, as we saw when the Republican Senate committee pulled out of Bob Schaffer’s race in 2008 (also first reported by Colorado Pols), it’s a very sensitive thing, and subject to a great deal of spin on the way down. We stand by our sources and our story, but you can read the full statement from the RGA after the jump.

UPDATE: Fox 31’s Eli Stokols confirming:

FOX31 News has learned that the Republican Governor’s Association has withdrawn its money from the McInnis campaign and is already cancelling fundraisers that were previously scheduled for him.

Sources close to the campaign say McInnis has been receiving more pressure from Republicans to drop out after his Facebook posting appeared. Sean Duffy, McInnis’ spokesman, told FOX31 News Thursday morning that the campaign was proceeding with scheduled events for the day. However, the candidate did not appear–as scheduled–at a forum in Weld County.

Here’s the latest news on the Scott McInnis scandal and the continuing fallout:

As first reported by Colorado Pols, The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) has made the decision to pull out of Colorado, according to anonymous sources. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, the Chair of the RGA, is still attending an RGA meeting in Aspen this weekend, but fundraisers with Barbour have been cancelled. Fundraising events with Barbour scheduled yesterday and today in both Denver and Aspen were called off, and the decision has been made that the Colorado governor’s race is essentially a lost cause.This is a major development, because there were rumors of as much as $9 million being spent by the RGA in Colorado — money that would have helped every Republican down the ticket.

Meanwhile, we hear that McInnis donors have already started asking for their contributions to be returned, and fundraising events for the former GOP frontrunner have also been called off.

National Republican leaders have been trying to get in touch with McInnis, who has been largely ignoring calls and bunkering down. The consensus among many top GOP leaders in Colorado is that McInnis will have to drop out of the race at some point (late next week, at the earliest), but for now he is trying to weather the storm and in denial about the fact that his campaign is over. There is a belief among many Republicans that McInnis will not exit the race until he sees polling numbers that he can no longer salvage his campaign, hence the belief that he won’t pull out until at least late next week.

Republicans are furiously working on a fallback plan, with the idea that a candidate needs to be found to help prop up the entire ticket in whatever manner is still possible — but with no illusions that they could ultimately defeat Democrat John Hickenlooper in November. Some Republicans believe that there are interpretations of state law that would allow them to submit their nominee for Governor should McInnis withdraw (how they would deal with the public relations disaster of bypassing state convention winner Dan Maes is another question).

UPDATE: Secretary of State Bernie Buescher says his office won’t issue an opinion on “a hypothetical question.”

Here’s the full statement from the Republican Governor’s Association’s Tim Murtaugh:

Republican Governors Association spokesman Tim Murtaugh today issued the following statement in response to erroneous press reports involving the Colorado governor’s race:

“We are as committed today to our efforts in Colorado as we were a week, a month or two months ago.

“Our goal has been, and remains today, to ensure that Coloradans do not have to suffer through four more years of Bill Ritter’s failed policies of raising taxes and killing jobs – and that means defeating John Hickenlooper.  We will not waver from that goal.

“It is unfortunate, however, that the news media has chosen to whip itself into a frenzy and run with unsubstantiated rumors that are patently false.”


133 thoughts on “BREAKING: RGA Pulling Out of Colorado, GOP Discussing Options

    1. Keep saying that if you want, but this is a national referendum on a shitty economy.  

      One dumbass getting beat by someone he was already going to lose to is a fart in the wind.

          1. But it’s a very real fact that a loss of millions of dollars from the RGA will have a negative effect on the rest of the GOP ballot. Will it doom them to large defeats? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s definitely going to hurt.

            1. The Business Word is reporting the opposite.

              But the Republican Governor’s Association is NOT pulling out of the Colorado Governor’s race, as falsely reported by ColoradoPols.

              An RGA spokesman, Tim Murtaugh describe the Colorado Pols report as “Fiction.” “Nothing has changed,” he declared.

                    1. Believe the correct expression is ‘hunkering down’.

                      You can hunker in your bunker, but you can’t ‘bunker down’.

                      Unless perhaps you live on Bunker Hill…?

                    1. “I did not have SEXUAL RELATIONS with that woman”

                      A distinction that obviously carried with it a difference to him.

                    2. There is actually case law on whether oral sex counts as sex.  In some jurisdictions, it doesn’t, as it doesn’t hav e the potential of creating illegiimate children.  Much of the law in this area in the old days was to ensure that property wasn’t inherited by the product of somebody else’s sperm.  In bills case, I think he thought such distinctions could duck a perjury rap.

      1. I know the ‘pubs WANT to make it that, and that will play in many elections around the country. I think Colorado voters are a bit too smart to believe that the office of Governor has much to do with that, though.

      2. Fascinating analysis from Newsweek: Here’s one quote.

        John Sides, of George Washington University, helped me run the numbers more directly: we made one graph comparing the share of the vote the incumbent party got and the change in the deficit that it had presided over. It looked like we’d spilled out a bag of dots onto a piece of paper. The next graph we made plotted vote share against change in real disposable income. The line fit perfectly-more perfectly, in fact, than I’d anticipated.

        In other words, people will be voting against incumbents because the economy sucks. It’s hard to swim upstream. So while McInnis is toast, I wouldn’t count on too much of a down-ticket boost for Dems.  

        1. There will be a definite boost for Dems in the simple loss of $9m in Republican advertising.

          Regardless of the effect of the scandal itself, the pullout of $9m will hurt the GOP in all of the higher-profile races IMHO.

        2. about this directly causing any down ticket boost to Dems as it is about a lack of down ticket boost to Rs in a strangely weak field. It’s not as if McInnis is the only R with ethics and/or other problems, just the most spectacular.

          If nothing else this is certainly sewing unhelpful to the R cause chaos.   The McInnis  withdrawal news conference story, definitely coming from Rs, shot down.  The RG story coming from who knows exactly where shot down. Craziness abounds.  

          1. they need to come out with a “Values” message of their own.

            Forget the rights or wrongs of plagurism or ‘it was a simple mistake’ bullshit.

            Here is someone whose ‘values’ constituted essentially of sitting on his ass and collecting 300k for doing nothing.

            That’s  against the conservative anti-establishment message of ‘gettting rid of corrupt career politicians’ who are used to that system of I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

            It’s Political Welfare and for a party that is soooo anti-welfare, Scott Mcinnis and the judgement of the GOP are no longer in line with that message.  

            1. He’s pretty much a walking billboard for do nothing fat cat pols taking money for nothing and throwing the little people under the bus when cornered. Losing the mustache didn’t remove the sleaze.

          1. I’m partially giving skeptic a hard time – copying and pasting a hyperlink is simplicity itself, and it’s good blogging matters because clicking someone else’s hyperlink is even easier – but it would also be nice if he pasted the link to the direct entry, since stuff drops off the home page of sites like that quickly. Having a link to the direct story means other readers don’t have to go searching for it.

          2. I’m partially giving skeptic a hard time – copying and pasting a hyperlink is simplicity itself, and it’s good blogging matters because clicking someone else’s hyperlink is even easier – but it would also be nice if he pasted the link to the direct entry, since stuff drops off the home page of sites like that quickly. Having a link to the direct story means other readers don’t have to go searching for it.

              1. Normally, would agree, but the RGA story is the lead one on the blog and I didn’t link to it directly. Sorry if I broke etiquette. 🙂

        1. Originally, I thought he might survive it.  But no way, Jose.  And trying to use Rolly Fischer as a fall guy was just dumb — he’s highly respected in the water community.

  1. Here’s the most important part:

    Republicans believe that there are interpretations of state law that would allow them to submit their nominee for Governor should McInnis withdraw

    The primary filing deadline has passed, so I thought that:

    (a) if McInnis pulls out pre-primary, Maes is the unopposed nominee, period (absent a ridiculously longshot write-in campaign).

    (b) the ONLY way the party gets to pick a replacement is if McInnis WINS the primary and THEN drops out.

    But the above quote sounds like the party is talking about replacing McInnis RE-primary, which sounds dubious.

    Anyone know the actual rules on this???

    1. There is some belief that this could happen before the primary. We don’t know enough about the law to have an opinion — that’s just what we’ve heard.

      1. Unless they can get both McInnis and Maes to pull out, I can’t see how they could do this.

        Of course, they could have McInnis “suspend his campaign” and tell everyone to vote McInnis and they’ll get candidate X after the primary, the GOP’s preferred replacement.

        1. Have Bruce Benson legally change his name to “Scott McInnis” and have McInnis change his name — for just one week! — to Gregory Hobbs. Then when the votes are counted, they go to “McInnis,” and when Benson changes his name back, he’s on the ballot. Since when have the Republicans let “the rules” get in the way of doing what they wanted?

        2. to find a way to both drop McInnis pre-primary and replace him pre-primary.  I think I read here somewhere that votes for McInnis on the already printed and soon to be mailed ballot would then count for his replacement.  But this talk all seems desperate considering the time frame in which they’d have to get the creative way around the rules as they are usually understood cleared and then get someone who can do them any good to agree to be the replacement.  The ballots go out Monday, don’t they?  Maybe all these contradictory leaks are the result of everyone dancing as fast as they can  with nobody really having a solid clue as to how to make it all work.

          1. That’s crazy. I can’t see how any court would agree that a ballot cast for “Scott McInnis” would count as a vote for “Candidate X.”

            1. But I think the way the scenario works is by making it equivalent to voting for the dropped guy as described in somewhat similar example by Craig farther down this thread:

              ”’Republicans could do a “Carnahan” like they did in Missouri.  Vote for the dead guy and we will appoint his wife to be US Senator if he wins.  This actually worked and a dead guy beat an incumbent US Senator.  This was either four or six years ago.

              So a vote for the dead guy wasn’t technically a vote for somebody else but had the same effect.

              And by the way, I’m not sure about any of this, including where I read what I thought I read.  Regardless of hypothetical scenarios it looks more and more like Rs are stuck with no good way out.  And I see that, according to up-date, FoxNews is letting the intial RG pulling out story stand just as reported by ColPols.

      2. McInnis announces in the next days publically that if he wins the primary he will resign an allow a vacancy committee to replace him.

        Then Wadhams and crew put up a big name as the party-backed candidate if McInnis wins then drops.

        The message to voters would be if you vote for McInnis you will get BigName. They might even be able to advertise that fact (although that could easily back-fire).

        There is some room for legal interpretation over the question if the vacancy committee could actually meet before the rpimary and select the replacement. I suspect that answer is “no,” since it involves a “just in case” scenario.

        This also requires getting some ducks in a row, and the GOP has not had a lot of success recently with steering their sheepeople.

        1. …before they could finish the press conference.

          First of all, party officials are not allowed (by their own rules) to support a candidate which they are engaged in a primary. So Wadhams encouraging people to vote for McInnis in order to instate BigName would be a violation of those rules. They could do it without McInnis actually being there, but then people wouldn’t buy it. If he is there for the announcement, it breaks the rules.

          Second, any kind of collaboration between people seeking the same office is SUPER illegal, and Scott’s already down a couple points on that one after the Joe G nonsense. Campaigning for yourself with the express intention of getting someone else elected is a sure fire way to be disqualified and get Maes declared the winner.

            1. Was this random R Candidate for Gov that showed up out of nowhere a couple weeks before the state assembly and did nothing except call Dan Maes supporters/delegates to try to get them to swing away from Maes, he never promoted himself, he just trashed Maes.

              Most R’s I have talked to about it believe that he was doing it, not to actually try and win, but to be a spoiler on McInnis’ behalf. Whether the McInnis campaign had any knowledge of it is debatable and ultimately unprovable, but it was a bit too suspicious.

              If you go back a few months, CPols had some articles about it all.

            2. Best web site ever because it features a big red button you can “press” to have him say his name.  If you “press” it over and over and over again really quickly, it has a great echo effect.

          1. McInnis announces he will withdraw after the primary, but remain on the ballot so the GOP voters have a choice in case they don’t want Maes (besides, his name is on the ballot regardless…).

            The State GOP announces that Big Cheese has stated an interest in being a replacement to Scott McInnis should he win the primary, without saying Scott McInnis or Big Cheese are their preferences.

            No legal issues there; no guarantee McInnis will really drop out, or that Big Cheese will actually win the vacancy committee election.

          2. Collaboration between people seeking the same office is SUPER illegal…

            That sounds like common sense to me, but is there actually any legal citation for it?

            My experience is that election law is years behind ‘regular’ white-collar criminal law.

              1. to try and track it down right now, but I’m 90% certain.

                If it’s not explicitly illegal, it could be sold as fraud at the least if he accepts even a single donation after making the decision, because you are definitely not allowed to use X candidate money to, in any way, support Y candidate.

                  1. “everybody” never knows anything.

                    If there’s a person that has set up a monthly donation to him which keeps flowing even after he says that he’s no longer in it,

                    or if some guy who doesn’t watch the news makes a donation ten minutes after the announcement,

                    then McInnis better return it.

                    Otherwise, both the donors and the Maes campaign would have a pretty good opening to cry foul if McInnis wins.

                    But remember, I am only talking about if he announces that he is dropping our, but still encourages people to vote for him, or accepts donations for the purpose of advancing another candidate.

                    It doesn’t matter if people know about it. Campaign finance laws do not allow you to spend your campaign money to assist any other issue or candidate.

          3. What would publicly be seen:

            McInnis announces if he wins primary he will quit. Then he finds a cave until after the primary.

            BigName candidate (whoever it is) publicly announces he/she will seek appointment from vacancy committee if McInnis wins and quits.

            The rest would be left to media coverage.

            As far as any advertising might go, it would have to come from a 527 and there is no real limitations on what they say, so it could be simply “Maes is a Kook, we deserve better!” or “Hick can be licked, but not by Maes.”. Anything to prompt voters to think about an alternative without actually saying it.

    2. In the late 80’s or early 90’s this happened while I was involved as Chair or Vice Chair of Jeffco Repubicans.  We had a written legal opinion stating that a replacement for one of two Republicans on the ballot was allowed in the primary.  I read it and thought it had merit.  Don’t know whether the law had changed since then.  Also in  those days we didn’t have early voting and a mail ballot and that has got to affect this.

      In addition, the Republicans could do a “Carnahan” like they did in Missouri.  Vote for the dead guy and we will appoint his wife to be US Senator if he wins.  This actually worked and a dead guy beat an incumbent US Senator.  This was either four or six years ago.

      So, either way, this may be doable.  As for the public relations disaster.  Well, Republicans are never worried about that.  How much worse can it be, they either get McInnis or they get Maes, who already sounds like Sharon Angle in Nevada, he is just being ignored by the media because none of them took him seriously.

  2. doesn’t hold any more water than the original CPols post. In fact, Fox probably got it from here.

    I’m not saying I trust the post about the denial either, but I don’t think Fox really helps the story’s credibility much.

    I’m sure we’ll know the truth soon enough, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this turned out to be true.

    They have more important races to spend money on which they may actually win.

    1. I think they’d say something like “Political blog is reporting…” to start the sentence that reports the RGA’s withdrawal. They’ve attributed a lot of other tidbits in that posting. But the one specifically about the RGA reads, “Fox 31 News has learned…” Sounds like they’re in touch with a few anonymous tippers, too.

        1. A lot of political reporting depends on anonymous sources, and the ones Pols talk to seem to have a pretty good record of telling the truth. But we’ll see what shakes out.

        2. A lot of political reporting depends on anonymous sources, and the ones Pols talk to seem to have a pretty good record of telling the truth. But we’ll see what shakes out.

          1. Your equipment needs a check-up.

            But I won’t hold it against you.

            Like I said in the start of this thread, I’m not saying it’s not true, just that until something more concrete is announced, the statement from the Director of Political Communications, who is in charge of media relations for the RGA trumps some anonymous source(s)

  3. The way my mom ended up running against Akaka is that about a week before the primary the clear front runner had a heart issue and announced he was dropping out (that wasn’t a cover – it really was medical).

    The Governor and Republican leadership announced they were going to vote for him out of respect to him. The #2 on the ballot was a libertarian/anarchist nut-case (or as John Andrews would say – a liberal) and they did not want him running.

    So the guy dropping out won, the committee appointed my mom (and we ran a U.S. Senate campaign from go to election in 2-1/2 months).

    I don’t know at what point he officially resigned. And the key points were 1) He won, 2) It was easy to sell voting for him because he was popular and it was a legit medical issue, and 3) They did not pre-announce who would replace him.

    But here’s the big question, can McInnis drop out in a way that votes for him still count and if he wins it is immediately thrown to the central committee.

    1. … just like Rob Simmons in CT is doing: saying I’m not campaigning, but I want you to vote for me anyway. Not common, but sometimes done for tactical reasons.

      1. has any willingness to fall on his sword for his party.  Think it will have to be more like thrown out kicking, hissing, biting and screaming.

  4. The editorial released in the major-Denver-newspaper-which-shall-not-be-named pretty much sums up this whole situation.

    “Colorado’s next governor will need to be a mature and steady leader with the ability to inspire the confidence of lawmakers, and citizens, if he is to solve any of the significant challenges we face.

    The Republican establishment backed McInnis and they’ve got two candidates we can’t support.

    They owe it to their members to find a better alternative.”

  5. Swing State Project is reporting rumors of replacements

    Scott McInnis may be the last to know to know that he’s dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Tom Tancredo has been telling people that McInnis is going to drop out, although the McInnis camp is denying that, saying “we’re moving forward.” Tancredo is also the first state GOPer to publicly call for McInnis to get out, although I wonder if Tancredo is hoping he may get the chance to take his place (remember Tancredo had flirted with the race early last year). Tancredo doesn’t seem to be on the list of replacements that’s being bandied about by the local press, though: they include Josh Penry (whom Tancredo had backed, and who ran for a while before dropping out), former state Sen. Mark Hillman, and… get this… ex-Rep. Bob Schaffer, who badly lost the 2008 Senate race.

    There’s also some speculation about the legalities of replacing McInnis: it doesn’t seem like the GOP could insert a hand-picked filler before the primary, unless both McInnis and Dan Maes dropped out (not out of the question, I suppose, considering that Maes’ campaign is currently belly-up). This may help McInnis’s decision along: the RGA is now saying that they’re abandoning him, pulling out of fundraisers they’d  previously scheduled.

    Interesting.  No talk of Brown or Benson as I predicted yesterday.  Assuming of course that this is anything except wild speculation.

    1. It’s hard to believe

      how quickly the McInnis juggernaut has collapsed. Very hard.

      ^ Dick Wadhams should be kicking himself for forcing Josh Penry out of the primary race.

      Wadhams is an inept fool and frankly a terrible strategist.

      Penry could have won the GOP nomination with this whole McInnis plagiarism brouhaha and actually could theoretically have had a legitimate chance of becoming governor (not that I would vote for him – just saying he would have had a solid chance because of this McInnis fiasco)

      1. I know many polical dems who were nervous about Penry being in the race. He had that young rising-star quality that Obama had, but GOP-ified.

        They speculated if Penry could eek out a primary win (hard for him to do with a GOP that likes seasoned politicians) that he would win the GE.

        Either way I think it’s too late for anyone and right now anyone in the R race is going to be tainted and I think in GE you have a lot of indies/moderates who stay home or leave that bubble blank

      2. we all owe Dickwad a huge debt of gratitude.

        What would that campaign’s motto have been?

        “Why settle for corrupt or ever batshit crazy when we still have pure evil!”

        Just my guess.

    2. The trouble is any move the GOP could make to replace McInnis is that the ballots are already printed and will be in the mail on Monday.

      There simply isn’t the time or the party unity to organize a campaign of mass strategic voting.

      By the time the word could get out far enough, too many ballots would have been returned for Maes by people who are aware that McInnis is a screw up but have forgotten about the shortcomings of Maes for any collective action to work.

      And, Maes, with a state convention win and a primary in the bag is not going to step aside no matter what the Denver Post or the GOP leadership says.

      Maes wins the primary; Hick wins the general; donors and volunteers don’t produce for Maes because they know he’s a lost cause; the other candidates have to make up for the lost enthusiasm.

      1. Assuming Maes neither does anything, nor is anything revealed about him until those ballots come in.

        And in this cycle- that seems possible.

  6. Just answered a Rasmussen survey phone call (automated responses) with various questions about the President, Governor, economy, health care, etc.  But among the first questions were those about McInnis and the “alleged plagiarism.”  Hmmm.

    1. they’re in the field, polling to see how much this has the potential to truly hurt Scottie.

      Would be interesting to know, if you remember, exactly what the McInnis-related questions were……

      1. and Hick against Maes.  There were also specific questions asking if you had been following the water-article-alleged-plagiarism story this week, and to what extent that affected your views of McInnis (that’s not the exact wording, but it was along those lines).  There were no specific questions like this asked about any other candidate.

  7. I didn’t think to cut and paste the opinion piece – just read it at the GJ Sentinel webpage in the drop-down box for Opinion/Editorials.  Thought you’d all want to see.  BTW  has anyone noticed that except for minor AP coverage in the Colorado Springs Gazette, there’s virtually no coverage of this entire issue in any of the Colorado Springs TV media – its appalling.

    1. The Gazette had a fairly tough editorial yesterday. I thought McInnis did one of his interviews with a CS TV station on Tuesday — no?  

      1. Sorry, RG, you’re right, I just went back into the archive and there’s a nice tough editorial in the Gazette – you have to understand that for those of us who live here and are marginally rational, we never read the G’s editorial page – its just too depressing.

          1. other than what I read about politicians.

            But I did grow up — I mean, spend my childhood years — with lots of juvenile delinquents.

            (Gave up completely on the growing up thing.)

  8. only one tv station has even a three sentence reference, Channel 11, Channel 5&30, and Channel 13 have had absolutely nothing, not one single acknowledgement.  I was surprised to see a small, non-committal story in the Gazette, and then yesterday Channel 11 had a buried piece.  If McInnis polls down here, most people who don’t use the internet will be completely clueless (ok, redundancy is unintentional)

    1. Ok, sure, now that I’ve outed them the stinking Channel 5&30 newsies have actually copied one of the AP stories and posted it – still not top of the news, and Channel 13 has their lead story on a Bat Fungus that could impact Colorado Caves . . . that’s the way to inform!

      1. the bat fungus affects more viewers than Scott’s problems. Those are really between him and Mr. Fischer. We should just butt out — and be goddamned careful in those caves!

    2. this story isn’t resonating outside the smoke-filled backrooms of Denver and Washington D.C.

      Real Coloradans agree with Scott: It’s a non-issue.

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