“If Prop 103 Passes…” Squirrels, Monkeys and Maes

Since 2004, interested parties have relied on Colorado Pols for news and insight on Colorado politics and policy matters. Proposition 103 is an education funding initiative on the statewide ballot this November. If passed, Proposition 103 would restore the income and sales tax rates that were in effect in 1999 in Colorado: increasing from 4.63% to 5%, and 2.9% to 3% respectively for five years.

But that’s not all!

If Proposition 103 passes, Colorado will immediately be set upon by a fierce, probably rabid plague of squirrels. Yes, squirrels. Scary ones. Scarier, even, than the one in the picture at right.

In order to combat this squirrel attack, Colorado will be forced to import massive numbers of Squirrel Monkeys, which we presume eat squirrels (and also stuffed ducks). Over the course of three years, these Squirrel Monkeys will succeed in decimating the population of crazed squirrels…at a terrible price. You see, the Squirrel Monkeys will reproduce at incredible rates. In pictures we’ve seen, they can fly between trees and stuff, which means that they will soon be soaring back and forth across the skies of Colorado.

This new menace will force more Coloradans to abandon their bicycles and stick to riding in cars (but the convertible business will be destroyed). Ultimately the Squirrel Monkey infestation will expose the folly of the United Nations’ sinister plan to force people to ride bicycles, thus validating the beliefs of 2010 Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes (which, frankly, is still the most unbelievable part of this entire post), propelling him to victory in the 2014 U.S. Senate race over Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

And all because of Proposition 103. It’s in the data!

Who Fragged Dan Maes, Revised History Edition

It piqued our curiosity when we heard the book was coming out in June–as the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports, 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes has some new theories on what happened to him, and his (nominal) party’s chances in the governor’s race last year:

Maes blames part of his campaign’s collapse on tea party groups – also known as patriot or liberty groups – for demanding perfection and a rigid adherence to ideology.

“The tea party was looking for Jesus Christ and nitpicked anything they could. They wanted purity, and the harsh reality was and remains that no one is perfect or pure, not even little Danny Maes.” he wrote in a book he published this summer, Running Without Cowboy Boots…

[Scott] McInnis dismisses any talk of internal divisions in the party.

“I don’t think there are lasting impacts. All of that upheaval was caused, frankly, by an ambush on me,” McInnis said.

Without the discovery by Democratic-aligned operatives that portions of the “Musings on Water” papers his research assistant wrote were plagiarized, McInnis thinks he would have been the GOP nominee and won the governor’s race.

Tancredo, who has rejoined the GOP, said the best scenario for Republicans would have been McInnis as the nominee without the taint of scandal that followed him last summer. Tancredo thinks his own candidacy was a longshot.

As we’ve said repeatedly and we believe is conventional wisdom now, any hope of GOP victory in the 2010 gubernatorial race vanished the moment that Scott McInnis was brought down in scandal. Tom Tancredo had no ability to win, or even produce a face-saving result–and Maes was never a serious candidate for governor. Nonetheless Republican leadership, beginning with former party chairman Dick Wadhams but certainly not ending with him, made a disastrous mistake by publicly abandoning Maes after failing to pressure him to withdraw in time to be replaced on the ballot. A worse message for primary voters could not possibly have been sent.

Even though Maes could never have won, the chaos that ensued as Tancredo jockeyed for position and top-level Republicans spurned the GOP nominee was a huge distraction–and a source of conflict in the grassroots to the present day. And that leads to the key point: whatever Maes says now, it wasn’t the “Tea Party” that sealed his fate. It was Colorado GOP leadership who believed they could salvage an unsalvageable situation by muscling Maes out of the race. The “Tea Party” was little more than a confused rabble by this point, as incapable of affecting the outcome as Wadhams or anyone else. And given a different cue from GOP brass, they would have been happy to give Maes enough token support to avoid this lingering sense of treachery. Besides, all of the things that Maes complains about regarding the “Tea Party”–those problems exist for every Republican candidate for every office.

As it happened, everyone involved made the worst possible choice for their credibility, with the lone possible exception of Maes. Perhaps Maes feels obligated in hindsight to cover for those most responsible for his electoral fate? Given the way he was treated…he shouldn’t.

Dan Maes Still Mad…At Everybody

Republican Dan Maes, the 2010 GOP nominee for Governor (it still feels weird to write that) is apparently not letting his bygones, uh, be.

We didn’t have a chance to get to this earlier in the week, but didn’t want to forget to mention it. On Tuesday, Maes sent out a long note to supporters and people who “want the truth” detailing his continued anger at Tom Tancredo, Steve Durham, Bob Beauprez, Josh Penry, etc., etc. We were forwarded Maes’ “newsletter” as it appeared on a Facebook page, and we’ve included the entire missive after the jump.

The 2010 election is old news, certainly, but it’s interesting to read Maes’ detailed account of some of the events leading up to his nomination for Governor, as well as his calling out a handful of Republicans individually:

Bob Beauprez – you broke my heart.  You mentored me and you called me from Chicago right after the assembly to congratulate me personally.  Your radio commercial was a betrayal to me and conservative voters.

Freda Poundstone – you called me 4-5 times a day, even at 7:00 AM on the weekend to snoop around while acting like you supported me.  Shame on you.  You gave 300.00 to another candidate and told him not to cash it until after his election.  The games you played.

Josh Penry – you were a hired gun that could not hit a target.  Your political capital is gone except in parts of GJ and with some of your cronies.

Greg Brophy – you sell out to whomever Penry tells you to.

Ted Harvey – be thankful for your strong R base in Douglas County.  Their loyalty to you is admirable and your loss for chair has been your chastisement.

Click after the jump to read the full “newsletter,” complete with references to The Christmas Story, Men In Black and a sermon about giving forgiveness 77 times.


Calling A Spade a Spade


There are many classic movie bullies.  One of my favorites is the kid from The Christmas Story.  You remember him don’t you?  The tall one with the coonskin cap, braces on his teeth, and a bad chip on his shoulders.  Ralphie got his vengeance one day when he finally lost his cool and pummeled the poor kid with years of rage that had built up.  A classic!

Next to the common bully or gang of thugs is the more annoying one.  Come on, you know the one.  The short one with the big mouth.  He wants to be the bully but only talks smack when his gang is around to protect him.  If he spoke without the gang he would likely get his butt kicked.

These guys are not usually welcome at the spring formal or invited to the social event of the year.  Why?  Because they are who they are, they ticked off the wrong people, or they simply went over the line one too many times and no one wants them around.  If they show up, you know there is going to be trouble and it’s better for everyone if they just stay away.

Well, the bully of the 2010 election has decided he wants to hang out with the popular kids and he just is not feeling the love (tissue please).  That’s right, Tom Tancredo has friends trying to grease the skids for him at Lincoln Day Dinners.  “Uh hem, Mrs. Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth would like to join you for dinner.  He asked me to speak for him because he felt a little uncomfortable asking for himself”.  History buffs, just go with it.

Scripture says we are to forgive not just 7 times but 77 times.  During a great sermon on unforgiveness a month ago I broke down when I was convicted for the same.  I had let my anger get between me and God and that was a bad place to be.  I chose to forgive; but forgetting is another thing.  It is extremely interesting to me that it is the offenders who preach the message of “let’s put the past behind us”.  I had done so but just this week some of you asked me to revisit some of the details in an effort to shine the light on the truth so many who were mislead will hopefully not make the same mistake again.

Premeditated Assault on the Republican Party

Remember the memory erasure in Men In Black?  The feds waved a cool device with a bright light in front of a citizens eyes to erase their most recent memory of an alien encounter.  Folks, we are not talking about the Both Ways Bob thing of 2006, nor the poor judgement of running vicious attack ads during a primary.  We are talking about the premeditated, intentional, attack of BOTH the Republican Party AND its rightfully elected candidate.  Folks, do not look into the light!

Let’s revisit the highlights:

Summer of 2009 I am told to meet with TT and his henchman Steve Durham (see loud mouth and bully above) by one of their old friends who thought I could get them on board.  TT chooses not to attend but Durham does.  The conflicting environment of the beauty of the Garden of the Gods Club and the ugly conversation that took place was prophetic of the highs and lows of campaigning.  Durham proceeded to tell me how I could not get from here to there and win.  The conversation was like a verbal whooping and intended to convince me I was irrelevant.  Then his bravado reached out toward McInnis when he stated that he would see to it that McInnis did not make it past September if he had anything to do with it.  You see, this machinery was being prepped for manufacturing their candidate, Josh Penry. Need we talk about the track record of 30 something Josh’s in Denver?&n bsp;

November 2009.  TT starts rattling his sabre about entering the race for Governor as an R. He has his shot, he chokes.

Fast forward to spring of 2010 when some no name got 40% of the caucus straw poll for Governor.  Soon appeared the websitewww.danmaescan’twin.com .  That’s right (currently down for maintenance)!  Stay with me here folks, it gets better.  The spokesman on the website was Big Ben Goss, the leader of the American Constitution Party.   That’s right, the guy who stepped aside so TT could run on the ACP ticket.  The video droned on about the exact same thing TT had droned on to me about in private as to why I could not win, money and the lack of it as well as lack of power broker support.

Then comes a few weeks before the assembly and the rumor is that TT will try to flank both me and Scott with some floor maneuver to get on the ballot.  He will swoop in and save us all.  He chokes again.  As I said above, talk is cheap when there is no one to back it up.

Need we even revisit the ugly events of TT and Wadhams on the Boyles show?  Yes, I think so.  I never thought Dick was behind TT early on.  I think he got on board later.  The show revealed TT’s disgust with the Republican party that was backfiring at him and Dick was the face of the machine.

Finally we have the High Noon Show Down and the general election.  TT was literally demonstrating his arrogance and possibly his psychopath side.  Did anyone really think we would listen?  Did anyone really think either one would step aside?  The man who had no loyalty to the party and said multiple times, “the party is just a vehicle to accomplish my goals” was threatening the party’s candidates.  His actions would lead to the loss of the election for R’s, the loss of bonus members, and potentially lead to the party becoming a minority party.  If you do not know what that means then you have no clue what damage he could have caused all current and future R candidates!  


Can You Explain the Hysteria?

I still speak with a mentor who supported me publicly, pulled his support publicly, and then encouraged me not to drop out.  Yea, you read that right.  He jokingly challenged me  over breakfast to hire a specialist in mass human behavior to explain the quick and massive movement of support to TT when he got in once and for all.  Even he was shocked at the speed and size of it.  Many made the move for many reasons but I think most of it was the fear of backing the loser.  That is one of the most weak and politically motivated reasons I have ever seen or heard of and, in this case, reflected a temporary irrationality and lack of reason  given even the most novice of voters knew TT could not win a statewide race.


I understand the mass mentality for the average voters but some made calculated decisions to also betray the party and they must be held accountable.

Bob Beauprez – you broke my heart.  You mentored me and you called me from Chicago right after the assembly to congratulate me personally.  Your radio commercial was a betrayal to me and conservative voters.

Freda Poundstone – you called me 4-5 times a day, even at 7:00 AM on the weekend to snoop around while acting like you supported me.  Shame on you.  You gave 300.00 to another candidate and told him not to cash it until after his election.  The games you played.

Josh Penry – you were a hired gun that could not hit a target.  Your political capital is gone except in parts of GJ and with some of your cronies.

Greg Brophy – you sell out to whomever Penry tells you to.

Ted Harvey – be thankful for your strong R base in Douglas County.  Their loyalty to you is admirable and your loss for chair has been your chastisement.

There are others my Patriot friends but I fear the list is too long and they will be forgiven by their obscurity into the future.

I promised an article on Patriot Groups in this addition but that will have to wait another week.  I will explore what groups walk their talk and which ones sold out their principles for personal gain.

Until next time,

Dan Maes

Dan Maes Saved the Republican Party

We can’t tell you how much we are going to miss Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes. His bizarre statements and appearances have kept us entertained for more than a year, and Maes didn’t disappoint with his “end of campaign” email to supporters.

You can read the full email below, but the highlight is his spin that he saved the Republican Party from “minor party” status:

As most know, we delivered what may have been the most cost effective campaign in state history. We won the primary on approximately $175,000.00 and saved the Republican Party from minor party status on just under $300,000.00! [Pols emphasis] That, of course, with no thanks to the Republican Party financially.

Of course, if Maes wasn’t the GOP nominee, there would never have been a risk that Republicans might end up with “minor party” status, but, whatever.

The fact that Maes saved the Republican Party should be enough incentive to send another contribution his way:

We need a little help closing our books. Your contribution of $50.00, $100.00, $250.00 up to $1,050.00 will help us make those final payments to vendors and maybe even a bonus to one of the hardest working young ladies in politics, Jordan. Jordan worked as my scheduler, executive assistant, and driver for 11 months. Many days started at 6:00 AM and ended as late as midnight for Jordan and she earned every penny making just $1,300.00/mo. For those of you who met Jordan you know she worked very hard and always had that beautiful smile on her face and a positive attitude that complemented her loyalty and dedication to our race.

Send that woman a bonus! Hell, we’d be in favor of giving Jordan Maes a bonus just for putting up with her father’s campaign. And “bonus for daughter” looks (a little) better on a filing statement than “more mileage reimbursements.”

Maes says in the email that he’ll have an announcement about his future in a few weeks. We can hardly wait.


Campaign Wrap Up


With Campaign 2010 behind us all many have moved on to the next thing in our lives. Before I do that I wanted to thank all of you who fought the

battle to the end. Our Election Night Party was very well attended and the mood was upbeat all evening. I was so proud to be associated with so

many Patriots that stuck to their principles and did not let the politics as usual manipulate them to surrender.

The critics and sell outs will stick with the message that it would have been better to have ANY conservative than a Dem. Not in this case. This was no longer just about the Governor’s race but about the future of the Republican Party. The elitists had to understand that a compromise for

the sake of victory (which was never a possibility anyway with the ACP candidate) is not victory in 2010.

So as the pundits exhaust themselves trying to analyze things and pretend that they know what happened, or what thoughts rest in a candidate’s mind, or what motivates them to do what they do, I will thank you again for your support, hard work, and sacrifice over the last 20 months.

Help Us Close Up the Books

As most know, we delivered what may have been the most cost effective campaign in state history. We won the primary on approximately $175,000.00 and saved the Republican Party from minor party status on just under $300,000.00! That, of course, with no thanks to the Republican Party financially.

We need a little help closing our books. Your contribution of $50.00, $100.00, $250.00 up to $1,050.00 will help us make those final payments

to vendors and maybe even a bonus to one of the hardest working young ladies in politics, Jordan. Jordan worked as my scheduler, executive assistant, and driver for 11 months. Many days started at 6:00 AM and ended as late as midnight for Jordan and she earned every penny making

just $1,300.00/mo. For those of you who met Jordan you know she worked very hard and always had that beautiful smile on her face and a positive attitude that complemented her loyalty and dedication to our race…

…We are proud of the fact that we did not borrow to run our campaign. Your help will assure that we do not have to do it now.

What Is Next for Dan Maes?

My place in the conservative revolution will now take on a new role. I will be entering into a new private venture that will combine my entrepreneurial, small business background with my recent political experience to play a role in the support and guidance of the conservative revolution. We are building the infrastructure to this new venture as I type this message and I look forward to making an announcement in the next week or two.

What should be next for the conservative revolution? For what my opinion is worth these days, I strongly recommend that you stay the course. Continue your involvement in the Republican Party. As crazy as that may sound coming from someone who the party turned its back to; that is exactly why we must complete the task. We are half way there. Do not quit!

It has been an incredible journey getting to know all of Colorado over the last 20 months. We have an incredibly beautiful state but no beauty ever exceeded that of its people. I made friends that I hope I will be able to call my friends for years to come. I will treasure the trust you put in me and continue to strive for A Better Colorado.

May God Bless You All,

Dan Maes

Paid for by Friends of Dan Maes for Governor

Colorado Election Results Open Thread

UPDATE (11:25): The big Denver paper and many of the other big TV stations have some major problems with their reporting. The Denver Post, for example, had Buck ahead of Bennet 48-46, on the strength of a 52-45 advantage in Boulder. A quick check of the Boulder Clerk and Recorder’s website has Bennet leading Buck 67-29. There are a lot of somebodies who should have caught this immediately — there’s no way Boulder County would go solid red for any Republican.

We recommend sticking with the results from Fox 31, which not only has a page that seems to actually load correctly, but isn’t making any obvious errors that we can see.


UPDATE (11:16): It looks like we may be headed for at least one state legislative recount. In HD-29, Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield trails Republican Robert Ramirez by 148 votes (50.34% to 49.66%).


UPDATE (11:12): That didn’t last long. With 56% of ballots counted, Bennet and Buck are now tied at 47-47.


UPDATE (11:00): Buck has pulled ahead of Bennet for the first time tonight, leading 49-46 with 49% of precincts reporting.


UPDATE (9:50): It’s looking like the race that will have the biggest impact from an ACP candidate will not be the one anybody expected. The Secretary of State race is neck-and-neck, but the ACP candidate is already pulling 6% of the vote. Buescher may well win this seat by virtue of the American Constitution Party.


UPDATE (9:44): The percentage of precincts reporting continues to rise, and Michael Bennet continues to hold a 50-45 lead over Ken Buck. This is not good news for Buck, because early returns should have favored him (Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats in early and absentee voting). Given Buck’s numerous gaffes in the last two weeks of the campaign, it’s not likely that late voters are going to choose him over Bennet, so it’s hard to see how Buck is going to make up 5 points with 27% of the vote already tallied.


UPDATE (9:08): It’s always fun to see those really early returns that show absurd numbers. In HD-22, Democrat Christine Radeff is pummeling Republican incumbent Ken Summers 7,875 to 12. Yes, 12. For a few more minutes, anyway.


UPDATE (9:05): Republican Cory Gardner is being declared the winner in CD-4.


UPDATE (9:03): The Secretary of State race is coming down to the wire, and may be decided by the number of votes pulled in by the American Constitution Party candidate. Meanwhile, the race for Attorney General seems to be widening in favor of incumbent John Suthers.


UPDATE (9:00): Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been declared the winner in CD-7.


UPDATE (8:38): The old adage that Jefferson County decides statewide elections is largely holding form. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, unofficially, are doing better in Jefferson County, as is John Suthers. Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton are neck-and-neck in Jeffco, while Scott Gessler leads Bernie Buescher in the large west Denver suburb.


UPDATE (8:35): Ladies and gentlemen, your next Governor…John Hickenlooper! The race has been called for Hick. Now the excitement turns to whether or not Dan Maes can cross the 10% threshold. From a Hickenlooper press release:

Colorado voters on Tuesday elected John Hickenlooper, a brewpub pioneer turned Mayor of Denver, as the 42nd Governor of Colorado.

“I am humbled and honored by the decision Colorado’s voters have made, and I accept the challenge you have entrusted to me to lead our state as Governor,” Hickenlooper said. “This is not the end of our journey. This is the beginning. And it starts with bringing people together.”


UPDATE (8:20): Here’s a couple of developing stories to watch. All of this can change, of course, but as of right now…

  • Bennet maintaining early lead on Buck

  • Hickenlooper holding early lead for Governor

  • Tipton well ahead of Salazar in CD-3

  • Kennedy surprisingly strong in Treasurer race

  • Buescher may be saved by ACP candidate for SOS

  • Third party turnout not yet playing role in CD-4

  • Attorney General race staying close

  • Every major ballot measure getting crushed

  • Both Rep. Diana DeGette (CD1) and Jared Polis (CD2) have been declared winners already
  • —–

    We’ll update results as we can. In the meantime, please keep them updated, with links, in the comments below.

    *NOTE: Candidates in bold and italics have been declared the winner by at least one local news outlet.


    Michael Bennet (D): 47%

    Ken Buck (R): 47%

    56% reporting


    John Hickenlooper (D): 51%

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): 37%

    Dan Maes (R): 11%

    48% reporting


    Cary Kennedy (D): 51%

    Walker Stapleton (R): 49%

    44% reporting


    John Suthers (R): 57%

    Stan Garnett (D): 43%

    44% reporting


    Bernie Buescher (D): 44%

    Scott Gessler (R): 50%

    Amanda Campbell (ACP): 6%

    44% reporting


    John Salazar (D): 45%

    Scott Tipton (R): 50%

    63% reporting


    Betsy Markey (D): 41%

    Cory Gardner (R): 53%

    Doug Aden (ACP): 5%

    Ken “Wasko” (I): 1%

    69% reporting


    Ed Perlmutter (D): 53%

    Ryan Frazier (R): 42%

    16% reporting

    Tom Tancredo Loses His Filter

    You didn’t really think he could make it all the way to election day, did you? We hope this clears up why, while everybody else was joining the handwringing bandwagon as American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo began his “surge,” and the absurd whitewash meme of the “new Tancredo” tried to get legs under it, our only question was how long he could keep this up.

    As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone reports, not long enough.

    During a campaign swing through Southern Colorado on Tuesday, Tancredo told supporters about his perception of the threat Obama poses.

    “It’s to the Constitution, to the Bill of Rights,” the Canon City Daily Record quoted him as saying. “It’s not al-Qaida, it’s the guy sitting in the White House.” [Pols emphasis]

    …At an Oct. 22 debate with his opponents, Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican Dan Maes, Tancredo defended past inflammatory statements he has made.

    The moderator pointed to past remarks by Tancredo that called for the bombing of Mecca, characterized Miami as a third-world country, whether he has the temperament to be governor, advocated literacy tests for Colorado voters and painted Obama as the greatest threat to the nation. He then asked whether Tancredo has the temperament to be governor.

    “I absolutely do not regret (the statements),” Tancredo answered.

    Our readers will recall that Tancredo said something very similar to this, at a rally for GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck just before the primary. After a couple of days of hemming and hawing, Buck agreed with Tancredo–and took hits in the press for days afterward. That was before Tancredo jumped into the gubernatorial race as a third-party candidate, of course, so Buck was the one who looked bad. Now, Tancredo’s self-inflicted wounds carry a price for himself; in addition to all the Republicans who have rallied to his standard out of desperation, amnesia, or whatever is going on.

    And that isn’t the only jaw-dropping Tancredo gaffe in this final week of campaigning–The Denver newspaper reports today that Tancredo embellished President Barack Obama’s oft-misquoted remark about how some “bitter” people “cling to guns or religion.” The thing is, Obama never mentioned “white people.” That’s, rather unsurprisingly, just what Tancredo imagined hearing.

    Or, as Tancredo said, “take the most inflammatory one I can think of and accept that it’s true.”

    Now that, dear reader, is the Tancredo we know.

    Bottom line: the gubernatorial race in Colorado has been over since several weeks before the Republican primary. All that has happened since then has been a sideshow with one possible outcome. Make that two outcomes: Governor John Hickenlooper, and a bunch of embarrassed Republicans who will spend the next few months wondering what the hell they were thinking — particularly if Dan Maes ends up with less than 10% of the vote.

    Tancredo, Maes Back and Forth on “Deal” Continues

    On Monday we posted screenshots from Facebook accounts of Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes and supporter Joseph Harrington about alleged continued attempts by American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo to negotiate a way for Maes to exit the race for Governor. Tancredo and friends denied the accusations, naturally, but the story is far from over.

    As Fox 31 reports, Harrington claims to have “proof” of the discussions via a voicemail from Tancredo campaign manager Bay Buchanan:

    A voicemail has surfaced in which Bay Buchanan, Tom Tancredo’s campaign manager, can be heard inviting Dan Maes to come to the negotiating table, apparently contradicting the Tancredo campaign’s statements this week that they have not been looking to make a deal to get the embattled GOP  nominee to quit the governor’s race.

    The recorded voicemail was sent to Joe Harrington of Highlands Ranch, a Maes confidant, who posted a video of himself playing the voicemail on Facebook Thursday morning.

    “Tom is within four points of Hickenlooper,” Buchanan says in the message, which was sent at 12:56 p.m. last Friday. “It’s the time. He’s got to find somebody he trusts to talk to us, somebody who he trusts their word.

    “Give me a call if you’re interested. I won’t bother you any more if you guys aren’t, but the time is now. The time is absolutely now.”

    So what does Tancredo’s campaign have to say about this voicemail? That it’s all Harrington’s fault…or something:

    But, Buchanan says that Harrington first opened the door to negotiations last week when he walked into Tancredo’s campaign office and met with [Cliff Dodge (a Tancredo advisor)] last week — and that her voicemail was a response to his initial inquiry about a way for Maes to exit the race.

    “He came to us and indicated that Dan was tired and might be interested in getting out,” Buchanan told FOX 31. “We do not deny having many conversations with them, because we felt like we had a contact with Maes and that we might be able to work this all out. [Harrington] wanted us to put something in writing, he even mentioned specific jobs. And I sent him the law that states it’s illegal to even talk about those types of things. We said he could be involved in the campaign, but beyond that we were very clear that we couldn’t offer him a job.

    “When he asked what we could do, we told him ‘nothing’.”

    None of this is going to change the fact that Democrat John Hickenlooper is going to be elected Governor in two weeks. But at the rate this spat is going, somebody (if not several somebodies) may be looking at serious legal problems.

    It’s bad enough for Republicans that they have essentially given away the Governor’s race for a second straight cycle, but what they really don’t need is for this mess to produce serious legal challenges that include various GOP officials ending up giving depositions on potential backroom deals. From all indications, there are a lot of different people who had conversations with Maes over the last few months about getting out of the race for governor, and it’s not out of the question that many of them could be dragged in front of lawyers over the next 12 months.

    Colorado Ethics Watch earlier this week called on Maes to disclose details of any potential offers in a press release:

    Colorado law (C.R.S. § 1-45-115) provides that “No person shall offer or give any candidate or candidate committee any money or any other thing of value for the purpose of encouraging the withdrawal of the candidate’s candidacy, nor shall any candidate offer to withdraw a candidacy in return for money or any other thing of value.”  Under this law, a person who made a financial offer to Maes or his campaign in order to induce him to withdraw would violate Colorado campaign finance law even if the offer were rejected.

    “If, as it appears, Dan Maes has evidence that someone offered him money to drop out of the election, he should reveal it,” said Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch.  “Because even making an offer is illegal, it is incumbent on Maes and his campaign to disclose everything they know about any alleged offers to get him to drop out of the governor’s race.”

    Um, It’s a Little Too Late for That Now

    Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes today pointed to a post on Facebook from a supporter named Joseph Harrington about apparent continued efforts by Republicans to get Maes to leave the race for Governor.

    Talk about beating your heads against the wall. Republicans have been trying to get Maes out of the race since at least July, and he has yet to agree to any of their deals. So why would they keep trying, especially with the election just a few weeks away now? Do they really think Maes is suddenly going to decide to drop out now? Of course he isn’t, and the more that these stories continues to come out, the more that the Republicans involved risk getting exposed for obviously illegal activity (assuming this is true).

    Anyway, the Facebook postings are after the jump:

    New Rasmussen Poll Actually Bad News for Republicans

    From Rasmussen Reports:

    Is independent Tom Tancredo now becoming the de facto Republican candidate for governor of Colorado? He’s now moved to within four points of Democrat John Hickenlooper to turn the race into a toss-up.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado finds Hickenlooper with 42% support, while Tancredo, the candidate of the American Constitution Party, earns 38% of the vote. Support for Republican Dan Maes continues to fall and now stands at 12%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.

    Less than two weeks ago, Tancredo earned 35% of the vote to Hickenlooper’s 43% and Maes’ 16%. That shifted the race from Solid Democrat to Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Now the race moves to a Toss-Up.

    First off, we don’t believe for a second (and neither do most informed politicos in Colorado) that the governor’s race here is anything close to a toss-up. Democrat John Hickenlooper is going to be elected governor — he’s been too far ahead for too long, and he has significantly more resources than Tom Tancredo.

    But news of this poll from the notoriously right-leaning Rasmussen Reports is not actually helpful for Colorado Republicans. Tancredo is going to (rightly) tout these polling numbers as proof that he can defeat Hickenlooper, which will do two things: 1) Convince more potential Republican voters to choose Tancredo over GOP nominee Dan Maes, and 2) Give a big boost to American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden in CD-4.

    According to Rasmussen, Maes is sitting at 12% of the vote, just two points away from falling under the 10% required to cause Republicans to lose their “major party” status. More significantly, any rise for American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo makes Aden look more credible as well, and just about every vote that Aden receives is a vote that would have otherwise gone to Republican Cory Gardner in CD-4.  

    Weak Gubernatorial Candidates Hurting Others Nationwide

    As “The Fix” reports yesterday, Democrats across the country are suffering the fallout from a weak top-of-the-ticket showing:

    Rick Snyder may be House Democrats’ biggest nightmare.

    The Michigan Republican, a former head of the Gateway computer company, is running way ahead of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) in the Wolverine State’s gubernatorial race. (A poll released Sunday gave him a 20-point advantage.) Such a wide margin for Snyder creates the potential for a down-ballot sweep that could wash out Democrats’ chances in two hotly contested House districts…

    …With Snyder leading Bernero by such a wide margin, there is considerable concern among Democratic strategists that a poor performance at the top of the ticket could make just enough difference to sway the 1st District and 7th District races against them.

    The situation in Michigan is the most extreme – but far from the only – example of how Democratic struggles at the top of the ticket could well cost the party a handful of congressional contests on Nov. 2.

    “Getting tied to an unpopular ticket hurts with swing voters, but it also makes it even harder to rally your base and get them to turn out,” said one Democratic consultant who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the problem candidly…

    …In close races – and there will be lots of them at the House level in 22 days’ time – a few hundred votes can make all the difference. And that’s where a stronger-than-expected (or weaker-than-expected) than expected showing at the top of the ticket will matter – in a major way.

    There’s no mention of Colorado in this article, but Republicans stand to face the same problems with the, uh, less-than-venerable Dan Maes as the GOP candidate for governor. We’ve been saying this since even before Maes’s primary victory in August, when it became clear that the Republican Governor’s Association would not be playing in Colorado.

    As we’ve also said, this is why ballot-chasing and GOTV efforts will be so critical to many other top races. For example, Cory Gardner’s campaign in CD-4 needs to find those Republican voters — who might have lost interest in casting their ballot after watching Maes flounder around for months — and make sure they still decide to vote for him. But without RGA money in Colorado, there are fewer resources available for exactly those ballot-chase and GOTV efforts that many Republicans candidates rely upon. That’s the dangerous doubly-doozy you get with a disaster of a gubernatorial candidate like Dan Maes.

    Maes Picks Up Palin Endorsement (Not that One)

    UPDATE: Click after the jump to see some of the comments on Dan Maes’s Facebook page about this endorsement. They had us laughing out loud.


    We’re really going to miss Republican Dan Maes when his campaign for governor comes to a close. He’s just too much fun.

    Today Maes announced via Facebook that he has the support of a Palin for his campaign. Not former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, mind you, but her father-in-law, Jim Palin, who apparently makes endorsements of his own.

    You can read the endorsement letter after the jump. We’re assuming that this is the same Jim Palin from Wasilla, Alaska, who is Sarah’s father-in-law, but for all we know (and given what we all know of Dan Maes), this could just be some other dude named Jim Palin who also happens to live in Alaska.  

    Check out the comments on Dan Maes’s Facebook page about this. Jim Palin is either Sarah Palin’s husband, or father, or father-in-law, or…

    Maes, Tancredo Fallout Could Handcuff Future GOP Fundraising

    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.

    Thanks for Playing Tea Party, But Republicans Are Leaving

    As “The Fix” explains:

    Marketing consultant Christine O’Donnell’s stunning primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle last night badly imperils Republicans’ chances of winning the seat being vacated this fall by appointed Sen. Ted Kaufman (D).

    Whereas Castle was a known — and liked — commodity to First State voters based on his more than four decades of service in elected office, O’Donnell has next-to-no presence among the general election electorate and, given the sort of primary campaign she ran, seemingly little interest or ability to expand her sphere.

    National Republicans signaled privately last night that they would take their attention — and, more importantly, money — elsewhere in the country, focusing on what they believe to be growing opportunities in places like West Virginia and Connecticut to name two.

    That decision almost certainly dooms O’Donnell’s candidacy as she has no demonstrated ability to raise the money she will need to be competitive in the pricey Philadelphia media market against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons (D) [Pols emphasis]

    …Against Castle, an icon in the state, it was hard to see Coons pulling off the upset.

    Against O’Donnell, Coons is rightly regarded as the favorite.

    This race moves from “Lean Republican” to “Lean Democratic” — and in so doing gives a major boost to Senate Democrats’ chances of retaining control of the chamber in the fall.

    Sound familiar? While there are certainly significant differences here, O’Donnell’s victory is reminiscent of Dan Maes’ win in Colorado’s gubernatorial primary. In both cases, victory by the “Tea Party” favorite has given the Democrats a clear path to victory. But more telling is that once the “Tea Party” favorite won, national and local Republicans quickly abandoned them.

    The Republican Party LOVES the Tea Party…only so long as they do what the GOP wants. Which makes us wonder, again, why the Colorado Tea Party doesn’t just form their own party.

    Tancredo Candidacy Opening Door to Future ACP Candidates

    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.

    Tancredo, Poundstone’s Absolutely Vicious Anti-Maes Ad

    Wow, folks.

    Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic:

    Freda Poundstone, well-known Colorado conservative political figure, appears in a Tom Tancredo campaign ad released Tuesday in which she calls embattled Republican candidate for governor Dan Maes a con and a liar.

    “Dan Maes not only conned me out of my money, he lied to me about his background, and he deceived my friends and myself about his conservative principles,” says Poundstone, brimming with emotion. “I’ve had so many people call me and ask: What kind of a man would do that to an 83-year-old lady? and I don’t want that to happen to the voters of this state.”

    Freda Poundstone, a longtime GOP activist and one of the principal figures in this year’s “Dr. Evil” initiatives, is of course no helpless old lady–but we’ll be damned if she doesn’t play one convincingly on television.

    At the same time, it’s hard to see how attacking Dan Maes gets Tom Tancredo elected. This ad is going to hurt Maes, to be sure, but it also hurts all Republicans because Maes is at the top of the GOP ticket. Tancredo doesn’t have enough time or money to cripple Maes and damage Democrat John Hickenlooper and put out a positive message about himself.

    If the only thing Tancredo accomplishes is to bash Maes (whose campaign was already DOA), and by association, the Republican Party, then what was the point of Tancredo getting in this race? And why are so many Republicans endorsing a guy who is openly destroying another Republican?

    Fun With Press Releases: The Release of the Year!

    We get a lot of press releases, as you might expect, and we like to share them with you when we get some that are particularly entertaining (and usually not on purpose). We have a new leader for our favorite press release of the year, and it’s going to be hard to top this one:

    John Gonce, a Realtor in Southwest Denver beginning in 1962 till 2007, each election cycle has put out a letter of endorsements of all of the candidates and issues to the residences in his area…

    …John Gonce said, “I will vote for every Republican on the ballot, except Attorney General John Suthers. Suthers is way too big a proponent for big government. Dan Maes will make a great governor.”

    Who is John Gonce, you ask? We have absolutely no idea, but he’s announcing his endorsements for the 2010 election, and according to his press release, he’s apparently been doing it for decades. And he really doesn’t like Attorney General John Suthers, for some reason.

    The full glorious press release is after the jump.  

    News release 09-9-10

    Contact: John Gonce 303-935-1111


    John Gonce, a Realtor in Southwest Denver beginning in 1962 till 2007, each election cycle has put out a letter of endorsements of all of the candidates and issues to the residences in his area.

    “I have for forty-eight years felt it was my civic duty to inform the citizens of my district on all candidates and issue that will impact their lives in the coming years in what I called Gonce Times,” Gonce said in a news release Thursday, September 9, 2010. “When I could not endorse a candidate I ran for that office on eight occasions. Each time I was “sliced and diced” as Vince Carroll of The Denver Post put it in describing Dan Maes attempt for governor this November and in 1982 I was sued. In 1998 and 2000 complaints were filed on me with the Secretary of State. All were resolved with no sanctions or penalties,” John Gonce a Republican said.

    “Today it is different. We have a Secretary of State that is a staunch Democrat that sticks it to every Republican when he has a chance. Bernie Buescher badly needs to be booted out of that traditionally neutral non-political political office. He should never have certified Tom Tancredo’s candidacy for office. Buescher knew he did not meet the standard of law to be on the November ballot,” Gonce said.

    John Gonce said, “I will vote for every Republican on the ballot, except Attorney General John Suthers. Suthers is way too big a proponent for big government. Dan Maes will make a great governor.”

    Who Will Win the Race for Governor?

    Since we can’t really see many of you choosing someone other than John Hickenlooper at this point, we’re going to mix the question up a bit. What do you think will be the order of finish in the race for Governor?

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    What Will Be the Order of Finish in the Governor's Race?

    View Results

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    Fundraising Updates for State Races

    The financial reporting period for state races running between July 29 through September 1 is now available online. Here’s how the statewide candidates stack up. Keep in mind that cash-on-hand amounts are deceiving at this point, since many candidates have already spent big chunks of money to buy advertising spots (with exceptions for Dan Maes and Scott Gessler, neither of whom has a good reason for having so little left in the bank).

    Figures below as Amount Raised Last Period/ Amount Spent Last Period/ Cash-on-Hand as of Sept. 1)


    John Hickenlooper (D): $409,859/ $357,158/ $171,542

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): $199,229/ $58,376/ $140,853

    Dan Maes (R): $50,201/ $54,011/ $19,786


    Cary Kennedy (D): $102,161/ $89,189/ $90,250

    Walker Stapleton (R): $27,385/ $15,880/ $22,712


    John Suthers (R): $64,958/ $15,671/ $346,775

    Stan Garnett (D): $43,690/ $120,342/ $23,259


    Bernie Buescher (D): $36,158/ $8,708/ $139,661

    Scott Gessler (R): $13,745/ $38,071/ $14,725

    Maes Agrees to 10 Debates with Hickenlooper

    That loud “D’Oh!” you hear is coming from Republican strategists all across Colorado.

    According to a joint press release sent out by the gubernatorial campaigns of Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican Dan Maes (full release after the jump), the two candidates have agreed to 9 more debates through Oct. 29. This is terrible news for Republicans in Colorado, because every time Maes opens his mouth there is a serious risk that he will say something completely absurd, and the lead story in the media will be “Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Dan Maes Said _________ Today.”

    Ordinarily, in a race like this with a clear leader heading into mid-September, the frontrunner would be doing everything possible to duck more debates. But this is not an ordinary race, and the more that Hickenlooper gets to contrast himself with Maes, the better off the results for all Democrats.

    Most voters may not associate Maes with other Republican candidates in Colorado, but some will, and a debate schedule like this just increases the chances that Maes will damage the Republican “brand” for the General Election. The odds of this happening will only increase as Election Day nears and polls still show Maes to be far behind Hickenlooper; any “Hail Mary” passes that Maes feels like he has to toss are more than likely going to be wounded ducks instead, and a media corps already bored of the governor’s race will be more than happy to point that out.


    The Republican and Democratic nominees for governor pledged today in a joint press release to run campaigns specific to the issues, and they agreed to a fall debate schedule.

    Dan Maes and John Hickenlooper agreed to 10 debates, including the Colorado Decides 2010 “Gubernatorial General Election Debate” that aired last week.

    “Coloradans are sick and tired of the personal attacks that tend to typify election season,” Maes said. “John and I will engage each other on the issues on these 10 occasions and at numerous other forums and smaller events to let Colorado voters decide whose vision for the state they prefer.”

    Hickenlooper said he appreciated the commitment to a substantive campaign from Maes.

    “Dan and I have had healthy disagreements on various issues throughout the campaign so far, but I respect the way he has campaigned with class and respect,” Hickenlooper said. “I’m confident our joint commitment to discuss the issues facing our state will mean the rest of the country takes note of Colorado as a place that does things the right way.”

    In addition to the agreed upon debates, both campaigns will participate in numerous forums on a range of issues before Election Day.

    The debate schedule is based on invitations the campaigns received and joint availability of the candidates. Any decision on inviting third-party candidates is up to the individual event sponsors.

    The Maes and Hickenlooper campaigns have formally agreed to the following debates:

    Sept. 2:            Colorado Decides 2010 “Gubernatorial General Election Debate;” Denver

    Sept. 11:          Club 20; Grand Junction

    Sept. 17:          Progressive 15; Loveland

    Sept. 25:          Action 22; Colorado Springs

    Oct. 5:             Channel 7; Denver

    Oct. 12            Pueblo Chieftain; Pueblo

    Oct. 13:           The Denver Post/ 9news; Denver

    Oct. 14            Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry; Denver

    Oct. 22            Fox 31; Denver

    Oct. 29            CBS 4; Denver

    Bennet Leads Buck as Third Party Candidates Pull Votes

    New bipartisan polling data released today shows the U.S. Senate race to be a dead heat, while the race for Governor is what we all thought it was — in the bag for Democrat John Hickenlooper.

    According to the polling memo, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet leads Republican Ken Buck 43-40, while Hickenlooper (48%) is running away with the Governor’s race over both Republican Dan Maes (25%) and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo (15%):

    A recently conducted survey of Colorado voters conducted by the bi-partisan research team of Lori Weigel of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) highlights two very different races at the “top of the ticket” in Colorado. The results of the survey show a dead heat for U.S. Senate with Republican Ken Buck and Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet’s support within margin of error of the other (43% Bennet and 40% Buck). The data also shows how general antipathy toward both parties is having an impact on electoral politics this year, as a Libertarian candidate garners 5% of the vote – greater than the margin between the two major party candidates.

    “The anti-Washington sentiment and general political environment would seemingly be working against Bennet,” stated Lori Weigel. “Incumbents tend to receive what they see in the polling, with undecided voters more likely to opt for change. However, this year, with disgust at politics and both parties running high, we have the potential for relatively unknown third party candidates to siphon off enough votes to change traditional campaign dynamics.” [Pols emphasis]

    That last quote from Weigel is what we were talking about last week when we said that any poll in CD-4 that doesn’t include the third-party candidates on the ballot is inaccurate. Also particularly interesting to note is that the poll shows 85% of Democrats backing Bennet but only 76% supporting Buck, which is understandable given Buck’s far-right positions on many issues.

    As for the Governor’s race:

    The gubernatorial race appears to be a foregone conclusion, barring a fundamental shift in the race dynamics. Democrat John Hickenlooper is capturing 48% of the statewide vote, compared to just 25% opting for Republican Dan Maes and 15% selecting Tom Tancredo, running on the American Constitution Party label. Whether Tancredo is siphoning off GOP support that could have been available, or whether Maes’ self-inflicted wounds have boosted Tancredo’s support is open to interpretation. However, the former Congressman’s presence on the ballot and Maes’ continued problems appear to have all but sealed Democratic retention of the Governor’s mansion…

    …Even before all of the prominent withdrawals of endorsements, rank and file Republicans’ support for their party’s nominee was tepid. Just 50% of Republicans say they would vote for Maes if the election was being held today, while 24% defect to Tancredo and 12% to Hickenlooper. This stands in stark contrast to Hickenlooper’s support within his party, as 84% of Democrats choose their party’s nominee for Governor.

    Sept. 3, 2010: The Day the Colorado GOP Changed Forever

    September 3, 2010.

    Remember this day, folks, because in the coming years politicos, reporters, bloggers and everyone with an interest in Colorado politics will point back to this day to mark the moment when the Colorado Republican Party changed completely, and perhaps irrevocably. Whether or not this change will be remembered as something positive or negative may not be known until well after Election Day in November, and maybe not until Winter 2011, when Republicans across the state elect new local and statewide leadership. But make no mistake — nothing can ever be the same in the Colorado GOP after weeks of events that culminated on Friday.

    Because on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, the State Republican Party told every Republican voter that the caucus and the primary only matter so long as you choose the candidate they want you to choose. Otherwise, your vote means nothing. Incredibly, and inexplicably, the Colorado Republican Party officially declared that a small handful of people will make decisions for you, no matter what the election results say.

    In fact, two major changes have occurred: 1) The Republican Party decided that a small committee of people can choose whether or not to support a candidate that Republican voters elected, and 2) Top Republicans have splintered their support in the governor’s race in three different directions. Party unity? There’s no going back from here.

    The Colorado Statesman has an excellent story from Jody Strogoff and Ernest Luning about the events surrounding the Republican efforts to get Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes off of their ballot. You really need to read the whole thing, but we’ll break down a couple of key sections to illustrate our point after the jump.

    the Colorado Republican Party has officially abandoned its support of their nominee, with State Chairman Dick Wadhams saying he was “very disappointed in the decision by Dan Maes to continue his candidacy for governor. Revelations before and especially after the August 10th primary have raised serious questions about the veracity of how he has presented his professional background and career and have virtually destroyed any possibility of running a viable campaign.”…

    …A story published earlier Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based Politico referenced an anonymous source who said Maes met Friday morning with members of the Colorado Republican Party’s executive committee. According to the political news site’s account, powerful Republicans confronted Maes with further “damaging evidence” about him that hadn’t yet been made public in a last ditch effort to force him from the race.

    But GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams unequivocally denied that the meeting described in Politico had taken place.

    “There was no meeting with Maes by me and/or the executive committee,” Wadhams told The Statesman on Friday afternoon. He also said the GOP did not have any “damaging evidence” against Maes, as was reported in the Politico story. Nate Strauch, spokesman for Maes’ campaign, also told The Statesman that the purported meeting did not occur.

    However, a member of the state’s 24-member executive committee told The Statesman late in the day Friday that, while no official meeting of the executive committee had been convened, a member of the committee talked with Maes about the mounting negative information beginning to leak out about his personal and professional background. The top GOP official asked Maes to seriously consider withdrawing his name from the ballot before the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for ballot certification.

    Maes’ decision to stay in the race was met with varied reaction from Republicans. Most stunning, perhaps, was an announcement issued by the Colorado GOP just minutes after Friday’s ballot certification deadline. The statement, signed by Wadhams, didn’t include Maes’ name on the list of Republican candidates that had the official support of the state party.

    Because Dan Maes won the Republican nomination for governor, or more precisely, because of what Republicans did in response to that victory, the Colorado Republican Party has shattered in multiple directions. Colorado Republicans have been trying for weeks to force Maes out of the race with numerous private meetings and the leaking of damaging information about Maes in the last week (every top-level Democrat we’ve talked to last week insists that they had nothing to do with leaking information about Maes’ apparent fabrication that he was once an undercover police officer, and we believe them – Democrats have no interest in trying to force Maes out of the race for governor because he’s polling well behind Democrat John Hickenlooper). These efforts have been ongoing as the Colorado Republican Party has insisted that they were fully supportive of Maes.

    But now, under the absurd guise that they are just now learning about what a bad candidate Maes will be (and let’s be honest here – anybody who read a newspaper or blog, or watched local TV in the last three months already knew that) – the State Freakin’ Party has officially decided not to support their own nominee for governor. And it’s transparently obvious why that decision was made: Because Maes wouldn’t withdraw from the race.

    With the unprecedented move by the State GOP Party to abandon their own nominee for governor, there is nobody left to hold the ticket together – which is fundamentally the entire point of having a political party. Take a look at just how badly things have splintered:

  • The Colorado Republican Party: Officially Will NOT Support Maes for governor.

  • Steve Schuck, Prominent Republican and two-time candidate for governor in the 1980s: Publicly supporting Tom Tancredo, the American Constitution Party candidate for governor.

  • Mary Smith, Former Chair of the Denver County Republican Party: Publicly supporting Democrat John Hickenlooper for governor.

  • John Andrews, former Senate President and former GOP candidate for governor: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes and said that he will write-in Jane Norton for governor (the same Jane Norton who, just weeks earlier, lost her own primary for U.S. Senate to Ken Buck).

  • Wayne Allard, former U.S. Senator: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Paul Tauer, Former Aurora Mayor: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Dave Schultheis, outspoken term-limited State Senator: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Larry Mizel and Greg Maffei, prominent Republican businessmen and fundraisers: Publicly supporting Democrat John Hickenlooper and raising money for his campaign for governor.

  • Ken Buck, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Mike Coffman, Republican Congressman in CD-6: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Hank Brown, highly-regarded former U.S. Senator: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Doug Lamborn, Republican Congressman in CD-5: Still supporting Maes after previous public endorsement.
  • As you can see, there is no spin or analysis needed here. This is an unequivocal and embarrassing mess for the Colorado Republican Party, and here’s why: 196,560 Republican voters selected Maes over Scott McInnis in the GOP primary. Many of those Maes votes were definitely a rejection of McInnis more than a selection of Maes, but that doesn’t change the fact that Maes fairly won the nomination, after winning top line at the state GOP convention. But the Colorado Republican Party just told those 196,560 voters that their vote doesn’t matter, because they decided, through their own little Executive Committee, that Dan Maes would not receive the support of the Colorado Republican Party.

    What makes this whole fiasco even more stunning is the incredible bald-faced hypocrisy of GOP Party Chair Dick Wadhams. Just last week (Aug. 25, to be exact), a quite unambiguous letter from State GOP Chair Dick Wadhams was sent to “Colorado Republican Leaders” in an effort to clear up any “unfortunate misperceptions” about Republican efforts to force Maes out of the race for governor. Here is that letter as reprinted in The Colorado Statesman (all bolding is Pols emphasis]:

    The Colorado Republican State Executive Committee unanimously adopted a resolution at our regularly scheduled bimonthly meeting in August stating clear support for Ken Buck for U.S. Senate and Dan Maes for Governor along with all other Republican candidates nominated for statewide, congressional, state legislative and county offices in the August 10 primary election. The resolution is attached. [Pols note: We left this last sentence unaltered, although the resolution is not attached here nor was it attached to the online story in the Statesman]

    Our Republican nomination process was open and fair from the beginning of this election cycle to any candidate who chose to compete and any Republican who wished to participate in our precinct caucuses, county and district assemblies, the state assembly and primary election.

    Unfortunately, the turmoil in the governor’s race has raised unfortunate misconceptions about the role of the Colorado Republican Party and, even more specifically, my role as state chairman.

    I have been inundated by emails and phone calls by those who have the misconception that Colorado Republicans do not support our nominee for governor, Dan Maes. At the same time, I have also received emails and phone calls from people who believe I can arbitrarily reverse the result of a primary election and find a new candidate for governor.

    First of all, the Colorado Republican Party and I, as state chairman, support Dan Maes for Governor. Period. Dan won our nomination fair and square. We are working directly with Dan and his campaign in our Victory voter identification and turnout operation.

    Second, neither the state chairman nor any committee within the Colorado Republican Party can arbitrarily remove a duly-elected nominee. And that’s the way it should be…

    …Finally, I have no regrets whatsoever how we conducted our nomination process. It was not my role or the state party’s to determine who could or would run or who would win. It was my responsibility to ensure a fair nomination process open to any candidate who wished to compete and to any Republican who wished to participate in it. And that is exactly what occurred in 2010. Every person who considered running and chose to do so or not to do so made their own decision, it was not made by me or the Colorado Republican Party.

    Just nine days after this letter was sent out to “Colorado Republican Leaders,” Wadhams took the unprecedented step of announcing that the Colorado Republican Party would NOT support Maes, its own nominee for Governor, thus completely crippling any chances Maes might have of winning in November.

    Just nine days after writing that Maes “won our nomination fair and square,” the Colorado Republican Party officially and formally slammed the door in the face of Maes.

    Just  nine days after writing that “It was not my role or the state party’s to determine who could or would run or who would win,” the Colorado Republican Party did, in fact, determine unilaterally that they would not support their candidate for Governor, a man whom Wadhams already said had won the nomination “fair and square.” Again, and this is worth repeating, we’re talking about a candidate who handily won top line at the Republican State Convention in May, and who won the August Primary with 196,560 very real votes. Maes did everything the Republican Party asked him to do in order to win their nomination, and he did it. And then they rejected him anyway.

    Look, Dan Maes is a terrible candidate with virtually no chance of winning in November. Anybody with even a cursory understanding of Colorado politics knows this, too. But that doesn’t mean that the Colorado Republican Party should be allowed to completely override the Primary election results. How can Republican voters ever again believe that their vote will ultimately mean anything after this? How can the Tea Party activists believe that the State Party will ever really embrace them after they have shown such callous disregard for Democracy?

    Maybe this fiasco will finally force State Republicans to fix their internal mess and straighten things out. Maybe this will show the Tea Party that it would be better to form their own political party than be at the mercy of the GOP elite. Or maybe this will stop any future unknown, upstart candidate from even thinking about trying to run without the blessing of the GOP “kingmakers” who make decisions that have nothing to do with election results.

    We can’t pretend to guess what will happen next, but for Colorado Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party supporters, nothing can ever be the same again.

    It’s Getting Ugly–But Maes Stays

    UPDATE #3: Maes makes it official on his Facebook page:


    UPDATE #2: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:

    Despite a mass erosion of support among GOP leaders and grass roots activist, Republican Dan Maes has decided to stay in the Colorado governor’s race.

    The deadline for certifying the November ballot passes at 5 p.m. on Friday. However, Maes made his announcement at about 3 p.m…

    He will face Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo in the November election.

    Maes also told FOX31’s Eli Stokols that he plans to limit his media access going forward. He feels he has been “too available” and “too off-the-cuff” with his comments, some of which – in his view – have allowed reporters to write politically-damaging stories.

    Uh, you think so, Dan? All jokes aside, this is exactly what we would recommend if we were advising Maes. The campaign’s best chance at winning in November is to lock Maes in his basement, keep him quiet, and hope that enough voters just mark an ‘X’ next to his name because he is a Republican. This is what Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is now doing after her disastrous performance in front of the media yesterday.  


    UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Adam Schrager Tweets that “multiple Republican sources” are confirming to him, Dan Maes will NOT pull out of the gubernatorial race. Original post follows.

    Politico’s David Catanese reports as the clock ticks down to destiny:

    In a meeting Friday morning, party chairman Dick Wadhams and other members of the state GOP executive committee met with Maes to present what one called “damaging evidence” that hasn’t yet been made public but would further erode his standing as a candidate, according to the source.

    A second Republican consultant confirmed the account and said while there was no explicit ultimatum presented by the chairman to Maes, the message was clear.

    “It was: Do you really want to put your family through this? If you stay in the race, you’ll have to endure this and this,” said the Republican, citing potential reports by the Denver Post.

    Wadhams did not respond to a call for comment and another Republican aide said he did not expect the chairman to address the media until Maes came to a decision…

    The Republican source said the timing of Maes’s potential exit is key in order to halt the printing of ballots while the party convenes a replacement committee to select another candidate.

    “If the secretary of state learns about a change in candidacy today, they would delay ballot printing. This is the Hail Mary pass,” said the source.

    It’s been widely reported that Tom Tancredo has promised to remain in the race, regardless of whether or not Dan Maes succumbs to the intense pressure being exerted. On its face, this would seem to present a strong disincentive to possible Maes replacements. We’ve heard nothing from Maes’ camp to suggest that any of these developments have changed his mind, but the common theme in all of this has been an inability to predict what Maes will do next.

    But short of threatening to detach body parts, there’s just not much they can offer/threaten to do to a man with nothing to lose, and who just won his first (and likely only) election of his lifetime.

    Worst Week in Colorado #3

    It’s time for another edition of “Worst Week in Colorado,” where we ask Colorado Pols readers who it is who had the worst week in Colorado politics.

    Previous winners (or losers) include Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and former GOP Gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis. Our nominee this week is the Colorado Republican Party and Establishment in general, for its shamelessly apparent attempts to discredit Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes and force him out of the race so that they can appoint someone else.

    We had no problem with the GOP trying to get Maes out of the race prior to the Primary, or even soon afterwards, but this week the process took on a whole new level of desperate absurdity. If they can’t get Maes to agree to any sort of plan to bow out of the race, they could at least try to do it a little quieter while not openly poking in the eye the hundreds of thousands of Republicans who, for whatever reason, did vote for him in the Primary.

    Who, or what, else would you nominate for “Worst Week in Colorado” this week?

    Who Had the Worst Week in Colorado This Week?

    View Results

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    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?

    Last-Ditch Attempt to Force Maes Out Underway?

    THURSDAY UPDATE #6: The Wall Street Journal puts Dan Maes’ name in lights again, accorded the no-small honor of Quote of the Day:

    Enjoy the ride, Mr. Maes. Whatever happens tomorrow, he’s writing his poetry and the newspapers are printing it.

    THURSDAY UPDATE #5: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols Tweets from today’s debate:

    THURSDAY UPDATE #4: This is all becoming really very silly. Former Senate President, and Republican right-wing standard bearer, John Andrews issued this statement this morning:

    This morning I called Dan Maes to withdraw my endorsement and urge him to end his candidacy, for the public good.  As a conscientious Republican who earlier voted for Dan, I cannot support a manifestly unfit nominee.  He has flunked his job interview with the people of Colorado in the weeks since Scott McInnis faded.  The party should cut Maes loose if he does not resign the nomination.  I intend to write in a vote for Jane Norton for Governor. [Pols emphasis]

    Jane Norton? This makes perfect sense. Try to kick out someone who won the Republican primary in order to replace him with someone who lost a primary election of her own. We’ve absolutely reached the point where this is causing more harm than good for Republicans, whether or not they can convince Maes to withdraw.


    THURSDAY UPDATE #3: There is a Gubernatorial debate scheduled to be taped today at Noon as a joint production between Colorado Public Television (CPT12) and CBS 4. The debate is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, which could be a bit odd if Maes did withdraw from the race.


    THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Moments ago, Dan Maes posted this defiant-sounding update to his Facebook page. Does this read like a man about to pull out of this race?

    THURSDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Statesman’s Jody Strogoff confirms much of this story in a detailed must-read report this morning: renewed pressure to withdraw, a few days of expressed leeway by the Secretary of State’s office should a vacancy committee be necessary, and a twist you may not have expected: Bob Beauprez waiting in the wings?

    According to sources in the Colorado Republican Party and elsewhere interviewed Wednesday by The Colorado Statesman, major escalating problems and daunting revelations about Maes’ gubernatorial candidacy – with still more possible bombshells to drop – could unravel any hopes Maes has to stay on as the GOP standard bearer by Friday, prompting the state party to convene a special vacancy committee to select a new nominee after the required five-day advance notice. If that happened, the meeting could be held Tuesday, Sept. 7, and a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said that even though the general election ballot is set to be certified this Friday, Sept. 3, there is probably enough wiggle room for county clerks to update ballots next week if necessary…

    Although Wadhams would not discuss possible scenarios for replacing his party’s nominee, he confirmed Wednesday night that the required five-day advance notice under state election law would allow a vacancy committee to meet as early as next Tuesday, if it became necessary. Colorado secretary of state spokesman Richard Coolidge confirmed that county clerks have some leeway to order ballots printed, and agreed that changes could still be made…

    “I’m flattered,” Beauprez said when asked whether he might step in. “What I have told them is that, if a vacancy were ever to occur, I’d entertain the phone call to think about it seriously. I like to think I have plenty of gas in the tank and plenty to give. But it’s a bit idle (to talk about) now. First things first,” Beauprez cautioned.

    That being said, Beauprez acknowledged that he would be “a better candidate than I was in 2006,” and emphasized that he has learned from that experience.

    “I believe that was a job that had my experience and credentials and passion written all over it,” he said about the governor’s race four years ago. “That hasn’t changed. I still have another rodeo in me. If that vacancy were to occur, I would take the candidacy discussion very seriously,” he said.

    Original post follows–major developments likely today.

    A series of events in the last 24 hours leaves us more or less convinced that GOP leadership has commenced one final concerted attempt to force gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes out of the race. This morning, the Denver newspaper published long-rumored information about Maes’ brief record as a police officer in Kansas, showing where Maes has possibly embellished his record and subsequently removed said embellishments from his campaign website.

    It’s not a new story–inferences about Maes’ time as a cop in Liberal, Kansas 25 years ago, a job from which he was fired, have been widely circulated. We’re not downplaying the story, because it’s obviously the last thing Maes needs, but the story certainly doesn’t seem any worse than, for example, Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois–who despite revelations of much bigger exaggerations about his military service record remains the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate in that state.

    But it seems to be the pretext that Colorado GOP kingpins were looking for.

    We’ve reported in this space about at least two not-so-secret attempts by GOP chairman Dick Wadhams and other powerbrokers to force Maes out since his narrow primary win over Scott McInnis at the beginning of the month. Today, allegedly on the strength of this report about Maes’ history as a police officer, Karen Crummy reports at the Denver newspaper’s blog that former Sen. Hank Brown is withdrawing his endorsement of Maes, and Bob Beauprez is calling on Maes to pull out, while Allison Sherry writes that leading “9/12” groups in the state are demanding a meeting with Maes before the end of the week. Maes himself was summoned to DC on a red-eye flight this morning according to FOX 31’s Eli Stokols–either for recommitment from the Republican Governor’s Association like his spokesman hopes, but more likely something else.

    First of all, we don’t buy that the “9/12” groups–who, mind you, are not the ‘Tea Party’ and subject to their own influences–are spontaneously rising up against Maes, any more than we think Hank Brown didn’t know all about Maes when he endorsed him. After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there’s very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches.

    Look, folks, we’ve been clear about our estimation of Maes’ chance at winning the governor’s race, and we understand on a bare strategic level why Wadhams and the other Republican kingmakers want him out. But what you are seeing play out here, far too publicly, is seriously jeopardizing prospects for GOP success in Colorado–up and down the ticket. What they’re basically asking is for the voters to get behind a fourth gubernatorial candidate: after forcing Josh Penry out of the race, watching McInnis self-immolate, and now with the Republican brass trying one last time to veto the choice made by almost 200,000 Republican rank-and-file voters.

    And for all the angst about Maes among GOP leadership, why don’t the voters share it?

    Tom Tancredo is substantially underperforming expectations in polls. Obviously, with a Congressional resume, long history, and very high name recognition, Tancredo has assets in his favor that should make him competitive with Maes–especially as Maes stumbles–but his numbers have steadily declined from their peak. As Tancredo’s numbers have unexpectedly weakened, and as Maes has weathered repeated attempts to force him out, many Republicans we’ve talked to have been more interested in stabilizing the situation so they can proceed where they have an advantage–not another day of uncertainty in the governor’s race. They said so a couple of weeks ago when Wadhams acted as Tancredo’s emissary in that attempt to force Maes out of the race.

    There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the negative reports on Maes in the last few days that either was not known or warrants on merit another attempt to force Maes out. And yet here we are.

    With all the stops pulled out in a last-ditch effort to have their way, hoping Friday’s important-yet-obscure deadline can be beat without inspiring rebellion, there’s just not a lot of pretense left to hide behind. And you can’t tell us, no matter how optimistic Republicans are for success across the nation, that this weakness and disorganization at the top of Colorado’s Republican ticket doesn’t imperil much more than this race.

    As for Maes? What possible incentive could you offer him to not ride this coaster all the way? Maes is the only man on either side with absolutely, positively nothing to lose here.