A Colorado Pols diarist first noted last week the potential for Republicans to lose their “major party” status if gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes fails to get 10% of the vote in November. But whether or not Maes drops below that 10% threshold, it appears as though American Constitution Party (ACP) candidate Tom Tancredo will receive more than 10% of the vote in November — which means that the ACP could become a “major political party” for the next four years.
The effect of Tancredo’s candidacy on Republicans will be felt in 2010, but the GOP could face serious problems for years because of Tanc’s run for governor. If the ACP becomes a “major political party,” then they gain the ability to nominate candidates for every office in Colorado. As a “minor” party, ACP currently can only get candidates onto the ballot in downballot races by holding a convention for that seat or by gathering petition signatures — but if Tancredo gets more than 10% of the vote in November, the ACP will essentially be able to pick candidates to run in any partisan race in Colorado. That’s bad news for Republicans, because an ACP candidate is always going to be more likely to siphon votes away from a Republican than a Democrat.
The other significant change that could come from “major party” status is that it would give the ACP a seat at the table in many committees that are filled by the governor. The governor is allowed to appoint committee and board members to all sorts of different commissions and boards throughout the state. Many of these commissions must contain a certain number of “major party” members (check this link for an example). Adding ACP members to Colorado boards and commissions certainly would help the resumes of potential future ACP candidates.
Republicans who support Tancredo aren’t just making a difference in the 2010 elections — they may be crippling future Republican candidates for years to come.