We’ve discussed before in this space the many various repercussions that could come from the Gubernatorial candidacies of American Constitution Party (ACP) candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican Party nominee Dan Maes, but apparently the downside is even worse than we thought for the GOP.
As we’ve written before, Colorado law designates “major party” status on any political party whose candidate receives more than 10% of the vote in a general election for Governor. Republicans who support Tancredo over Maes — their own Party’s nominee — may be crippling future Republican candidates for years to come. Check out our previous post on the perils of opening the door for more ACP candidates, but there’s a much bigger problem if Maes fails to generate 10% of the vote in November (which is very possible).
If Maes doesn’t get 10% of the vote in November, then the Republican Party will become a “minor party” for the next four years. As the big Denver newspaper reports, this could cut in half the amount of money every Republican candidate could raise. “Major party” candidates are automatically on the ballot in both the Primary and General Election races, whether they have opponents or not. The benefit of this is that “major party” candidates can raise money for both a Primary and a General election campaign.
But “minor party” candidates are NOT automatically placed on the Primary ballot — they only appear on the Primary ballot if they have an opponent. So if Maes gets less than 10% of the vote (which would be in part because so many Republicans supported Tancredo for Governor instead of Maes), then for the next four years Republican candidates could only raise half as much money as Democrats or ACP candidates.
For example, an unopposed Republican candidate for State Senate in 2012 could receive a maximum contribution of $200 from each donor, while a Democrat or ACP candidate in the same race could get a $400 check from the same donor. D’Oh!
“(The Republicans) would really be behind the eight ball on that. Maybe for governor or some statewide offices they’ll be opposed,” attorney Bill Zimsky told The Denver Post. “But there will be plenty of Senate and House seats that will be unopposed, and they’ll be totally whipsawed by this.”
And if that happens, Republicans will have nobody to blame but themselves.