What Would You Do If You Were Dan Maes?

As the last ditch efforts to replace Republican Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes continue, we’ve been trying to look at this from Maes’ perspective — since we all know what the GOP power brokers want — and thinking about what he might be thinking about as he weighs calls for him to step down.

Again, keep in mind this is how we could see the decision from Maes’ perspective only. Looking at this from his view, it’s really hard to see why Maes would withdraw from the race.

For all his shortcomings as a candidate, the bottom line is that Dan Maes is really not that far away from actually becoming Governor. That doesn’t mean he will win, but NEVER in his life will he ever be this close to winning a top-tier race again. Never again will things fall into place for someone like Maes, who had no name ID and no real campaign operation, but won the GOP Nomination because, despite his flaws, he was still better than the other guy (Scott McInnis). Nobody bothered to do any opposition research on Maes, because nobody thought he would get this far. If he ever tried to run again, he would be crushed from the beginning under the weight of his own faulty resume.

While Maes’ chances of beating Democrat John Hickenlooper are certainly not great, anything could happen in the next 6-8 weeks. Maes could just stay quiet and stay out of the news (which seems to be what he’s been trying to do) and hope that enough uninformed voters just mark an ‘X’ next to the “Republican candidate for governor.”

And if he did win?  

If Maes were to pull out a victory, somehow, he could turn himself into a Sarah Palinesque figure as someone who fought the system and the power elites and won. Hell, even if he loses the race for Governor, as long as he kept it close he could still position himself in a similar manner, and at the very least write a book (or, more likely, have it ghostwritten) about how he fought the system and almost came out on top.

So for Maes, you can’t really offer him the opportunity to withdraw now under the promise that he’ll be supported for another office down the road (which happens with other politicians from time to time). We all know too much about Maes now; he’ll never get a serious chance again, and certainly never an opportunity to slide in under the radar. What could you possibly offer him that is better than what he has now — a real, honest to goodness opportunity to become Governor?    

The only thing that you could offer Maes is a nice, big-salaried job if he does withdraw. That could perhaps be appealing, since Maes does appear to have financial problems. We could see a compelling argument for Maes here, in telling him that if he loses the race he’s back to where he started (which is in a precarious personal financial situation), but if he withdraws he can make a good living at a real job. While that may sound enticing, after the way the GOP establishment has treated Maes, could he really trust that such an offer would be legitimate? And which road offers better odds? A nice long-term, well-paid job on a promise — or rolling the dice that an election wave supposed to favor Republicans will sweep Maes into office, too?

Pols reader JW brings up a third scenario, which is that Maes could end up with a decent job by just staying the course and earning kudos from people who admire him for standing tall. JW’s bigger point is that there are more potential positive outcomes for Maes if he remains as a candidate than if he drops out.

It’s obvious why the GOP wants to get rid of Maes, but it’s much less clear as to why Maes would accept any potential offer to withdraw. We should soon find out either way, but what would you do, fellow Polsters, if you were Dan Maes?

109 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Go Raiders* says:

    for a guarantee of a starting job as a running back for the Denver Broncos….  it is not like they have any real talent there anyway

    • …something about Dan Maes telling Josh McD that he doesn’t know anything about football…

      Freda Poundstone would become a Raider fan though 🙁

      not worth it….

      • Colorado Pols says:

        What would YOU do if you were Dan Maes? We don’t want to know what advice you would give him; if you were Dan Maes, thinking about this as Dan Maes, what would you do?

        • Fidel's dirt nap says:

          Maes would be very foolish to take the bait from any of these assholes anyway.  Oh Danny, there’s a lot of good opportunities down the road if you just play ball, wink, wink.  Once Danny throws in the towel and he’s yesterdays news no one is going to return his phone calls.

          (not that anything like this would happen anyway; I wouldn’t want to malign the good name of Republican party power brokers in our fine state)

        • Your editorial above was SPOT-ON

          This is Maes’ BEST chance to become Governor – and with polls saying that Maes is trending up and Tank is trending down, that is GREAT news for Maes, as Hick can’t seem to break 45%

          Although he’s raised little money, one advantage Maes has is that the media, as of now, is going to PRINT ANYTHING HE SAYS

          With that in mind, the biggest issue is spending and tax cuts

          If I were Maes, I would stay in, aggressively look for microphones, and constantly hammer how I would CUT SPENDING and CUT TAXES and how Hick won’t – and MAES HAS TO PROMISE IT – TAX CUTS AND SPENDING CUTS – just hammer that point, over and over and over

          Maes CANNOT ask Tank to step down – his demeanor to Tank needs to be very respectful and he has to stay on message – any words that are not about taxes or spending are… basically… a waste for him

          If he stays on that message and does it proactively, then he starts looking sympathetic – Tank’s support naturally drops and Dan… in all seriousness… could win it, especially if he can corner Hick and force Hick to remain uncommitted to tax cutting and spending cuts, while Maes is

          Lastly, nothing but good things can come from running a good campaign – after I lost HD56, there was a lot of good will built for me around Summit, Lake, and Eagle, mainly because, despite losing, people had a positive opinion of me (and I LOVE HD56 – best district in the world!) – had I started a business there or continued another campaign in the HD56 area, there was a great chance of success (nonetheless, my film career is going well and I’m happy – I’m very Blessed)

          That said – if Dan Maes leaves now… he looks like a wimpy candidate that got ‘pushed out’ who lacked a real spine – I would know – I had critics telling me to drop out of SD8… and later on, after some terrible press, there were some who said I should drop out of HD56

          I dropped out of SD8 and I stayed in HD56 and fought – believe me – there are plenty more benefits to staying in and ‘fighting’ than there are to ‘backing out’ like a wimp

          My 2 cents

          • 1854 GOP says:

            Your justification is all about what is good for Dan.  How about what is best for our State? Our Party? Our other GOP candidates? His mere presence on the ballot dramatically decreases the chances of other GOP candidates.  Our State has real challenges ahead, yet Dan is completely focused on his own self-interest with little appreciation for the task ahead (if elected).  More importantly, what about the thousands of Coloradans struggling to find work or simply trying to keep their job?  We need real leadership not a self-interested snake charmer.  

            • Colorado Pols says:

              And that is the point of this post. If you were in Dan Maes’ shoes, what would you do?

            • …he won the primary

              I’d rather Maes keep this powerseat, than have it fall into the lap of KingMakers

              Believe me – if you think Maes is a selfish jerk, then you  have yet to meet KingMakers…

              • ….I think he will stay in

                Dan is very dedicated – he won the Convention – he won the Primary

                Quite frankly, his win record is better than many statewide Republican candidates – I think having that confidence, Dan stays

                • 1854 GOP says:

                  Ali, you know as well as the rest of us that the so-called GOP “KingMakers” are just that, so-called.  Dan won by default because McInnis let the many people down, including your family’s foundation.  I am confident that you care more about our State’s future than to support a candidate who is metamorphosing into something that no one expected.

                  If I was Dan, I would first apologize to the State for my mistakes, thank my supporters, and promptly withdraw. I would leave with the words that my candidacy was never about Dan Maes.  The campaign was about taking a stance and speaking out for everyday Coloradans who are struggling to find a voice.  Unfortunately, my mistakes have interfered with this goal and the State of Colorado will have a brighter future because of those of you that have found your voice through my campaign.  Thank you.    

                  • John Andrews pushing for C&D Norton?

                    Come on now….

                    Honestly, Hick could potentially be better for Colorado’s working families than fiscal-liberal Norton

                    • 1854 GOP says:

                      While Mr. Andrews is a great person, writer and thoughtful policy advocate, he is no longer a KingMaker.  As the Ds have proven, KingMakers have big dollars behind them.  Those potential GOP KingMakers are quickly sliding over to Mayor Hick. Brown, Andrews, and Beauprez know this and realized something had to be said to Dan.  Granted, Dan and his wife (and whoever wrote that silly $300 check to Freda) could care less what those three gentlement think.    

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      While Mr. Andrews is a great person, writer and thoughtful policy advocate . . .

                      Ali was referring to JOHN Andrews.

                  • Fidel's dirt nap says:

                    that would be the non-McPenis thing for Maes to do, but there is not much current precedent for that.

                • d'Anconia says:

                  I disagree. I would much rather have a known conservative such as Jane Norton, even is she hasn’t supported every single position I espouse instead of John Hickenlooper,a moderate Democrat at best. At least with Norton, I can know, with a reasonable degree of certainty, that she will pursue a “small government” objective.

                  Don’t let her previous position on one or two issues determine her overall suitability. I witnessed a similar situation in Republican Party politics in New Mexico in the late 1990’s. The Republican Governor at the time, Gary Johnson, advocated for the legalization of marijuana – obviously a HIGHLY unpopular postion with most Republicans throughout the country at the time. This issue, or rather Johnson’s position, “splintered” the Republican party in NM for quite some time afterwards.

                  We may not always agree on every issue, but look for where we agree on the majority of issues.

              • Laughing Boy says:

                Like Hank Brown?

                When Hank speaks, I listen, and he apparently thinks Maes is a giant chucklehead.

          • Libertad says:

            Maes is in this for the long short haul. There is no way they can get him out … he could care less if he is exposed:

            -Got fired as a cop for beating the wife

            -House has been in foreclosure 3 times

            -Ex boss couldn’t hire him back if he wanted to [and he doesn’t want to hire him]

            -Those accounts he calls ‘Maes for Governor 2010’


            The hits will continue to come on this guy and The Denver Post will dribble it out week after week. Hell, it’ll sell papers as is.

            The people that need to be nervous are his campaign treasurer, manager and attorney. Like McGinnis’ staffers did when they shockingly saw what was occurring … run for the hills boys and girls … don’t risk a deposition down the road.

          • 20th Maine says:

            You would advise Dan to find every mic he can?  Really?  Some candidates you put in front of every mic, camera, debate audience, etc you can find.  Others… you don’t.  Maes is clearly someone you don’t.

            Because this is how it’s going to go:

            DM:  I’m for less government and more tax cuts.

            Post:  Disgraced Republican candidate Dan Maes held an empty press conference today…

            Or, more likely:

            DM:  If elected, I will guarantee Colorado keeps every drop of water that falls within our borders, I will immediately cut the state payrolls in half, and I will expand deep water drilling in our own reservoirs to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

            Post:  Dan Maes is still an idiot.

            Or even:

            Post:  Maes’ real name is Earl and he’s from Birmingham.

            DM:  Hey everyone!  Look at this refund check to Freda Poundstone!  It’s one of those really big ones like Tiger Woods used to get!

            I could go on, but the reality is playing out almost as fast as I can type.

            Maes is never going to look sympathetic.  Especially while Hick is doing quirky ads in a shower about the evils of negative advertising.  Hick comes across as awkward but honest and likable.   Maes, if anything, comes across as a typical politician who lies about his resume (not to mention being a deer in headlights when speaking about policy).

            And the comparison to your own race is a poor one.  You made a political calculation.  Maes is way beyond calculating anything.  I have no idea why you even said “nothing but good things can come from running a good campaign.”  What does that have to do with the present day circumstances?

            Bigger men have dropped out of races, rightly, in disgrace.  There are few pros and a lot of cons for Maes regardless of the choice he makes.  His reputation is in the shitter either way.  He can either step down and earn the public thanks from party regulars – while giving the conservative movement a better chance of winning.  Or, he can earn both private and public scorn and give those conservatives and party regulars the finger because they are pounding away at him.

            The only thing Maes is going to win with your advice is a Darwin Award.

  2. Old Time Dem says:

    is having Maes withdraw in return for a nice, big-salaried job not a corrupt practice?

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    I would demand:

    – $90,000 per year salary as a special assistant (or undercover agent) to the state GOP party chairman; 4-year, no cut contract.  (same deal as Governor Maes)

    – the above to also include a monthly housing allowance (since I’m giving up the mansion) and, most importantly– a non-negotiable — mileage allowance.

    – a box of “bendy” straws

    – several rolls of extra-heavy duty aluminum foil

    – a special-agent Barney Fife secret decoder ring

    – AND, . . . THIS ASHTRAY!

  4. bjwilson83 says:

    Because I’m sure Pols is so concerned about Dan Maes’s future.

  5. sxp151 says:

    Anybody know if the Hasans have some extra money lying around?

  6. Ralphie says:

    Because he has no future in politics one way or the other.

    He’s already regarded as a slimy buffoon.  He hangs in and loses and he’s finished.  He drops out and he’s finished anyway because he’s regarded as a slimy buffoon.

  7. MADCO says:

    If I was in Maes’s situaiton – I’d carve out a deal to go to law school at DU, and get a job a t a local firm with  memberships and stuff.

    If I was actually him – I’d do what he’s going to do.  Which is stay the course, play the victim card and ABC.

    If I was just advising him what to do:

    Call as big a presser as he can get together and release several years of tax returns and his personnel records from the police job.  Talk about human imperfection and the founders’ vision of government by for and of The People.   Lose that grating annoying Jesse-Ventura sounding but really Wisconsin accent.  Run as hard and as big as the budget allows (don’t sell the home).  On Nov 3 be gracious either way and either find the most talented smartes legal minds in the State or start a church.

  8. RedGreen says:

    for Maes to drop out now. Pols is right, his chances aren’t great, but at least he’s got a chance, and if he drops out, he’s got nothing. Is there anything Maes has done in the last year and a half that indicates he’ll drop out at this point? No.

    • The realist says:

      the Dem “powers that be” assumed last winter that he would drop out of the Guv’s race and be the Repub candidate in state SD16.  The Dem “powers that be” are wrong once in a while – about a number of things.

  9. jW says:

    Scenario 3: He stays in, loses, and is still offered a nice job.

    Think about all the people he’s met on the campaign trail that admire him for sticking to his guns. I’m sure he’s found some well-off donors that may have given him the same wink and nod if he stays in the race and loses. I don’t think he’ll have a tough time finding a cush job either way, so might as well give it a shot.

    It’s simple game theory. Given all of the scenarios and their outcomes, staying in provides the highest overall value.

  10. Car 31 says:

    If he dropped out now, he not only holds his current reputation but adds to it the stigma of bowing under the pressure of the GOP kingmakers (however flawed they may be).

    He won the primary. He isn’t the best candidate, but the best candidates didn’t put themselves out there.

    He won and should stay in until the end.

    And, as you said, anything can happen before the election.  

  11. Ellie says:

    but if he drops out he will always carry that little footnote,

    Former Republican Gubernatorial candidate who dropped out of the race under pressure from….

    Take your pick of kingmakers and political has beens.

  12. Pam Bennett says:

    The pressure to disappear is probably crushing. But, by staying in and learning how to be a candidate and run a campaign that is what to do.  Just to run for governor is something almost no every politician thinks about, let alone does.  

    The fruit flies maybe a constant around Maes just because he is a bit on the fruity side, not many of us have the vision to see the U.N. taking over Denver because of sharing bikes, but he is the R candidate for gov.

    I would love to have “ran for Colorado Governor” on my political resume. Maes does have that now.

    Of course after election night there is a good chance to just fade away and do backup shtick for Beck traveling snake oil and redemption show.

  13. Automaticftp says:

    And keep swinging and doing what got him there.  He has absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain.  All he has to do now is keep campaigning to the election.  

  14. DavidThi808 says:

    Poor Bill Ritter had the Democratic nomination because Beauprez was such a lock there was no point in running against him. And yet…

    Dan had an angel on his shoulder, maybe two. He keeps doing much better than expected at each step. So what happens in November? Probably Hickenlooper, but …

  15. Maes is apparently smart enough to realize that no-one can actually guarantee him a job if he drops out – that would be illegal.

    The pressure is immense right now; I’m not sure – the lighting was iffy last night when I drove by – but I think the guy who had the nasty anti-Obama sign out on I-70 (and who has recently had a Dan Maes sign instead) took his Maes sign down and put the Obama birther/terrorist sign back up (or the Maes sign was just a cover over the Obama sign).

    But everyone here is right – having “dropped out of governor’s race” on your resume isn’t a plus.  Maes stays in.  

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