"What do you make of the Maes-Tancredo situation in Colorado's race for governor?" was our question to a friend we'll call Flavius, a longtime Republican activist in metro Denver. His reply exemplified the agonizing complexities facing GOP loyalists in this campaign. Flavius wrote:
My presumption is Tancredo will stay in and Tom is a polarizing candidate. I really like him but he has little support in the Hispanic community, for one thing, and he has upset many Republican activists who would support him except for his leaving the party. I’m in the latter group even though I understand why he did it and the way he did it. If the state GOP were to endorse Tancredo (as it happens in NY between their Conservative Party and the Republican Party) it would help Tancredo but I doubt our state party would do something like that. Some wonder if Tancredo is even legally qualified to be a candidate.
Maes will stay until something else comes out that he cannot escape. Maes has no real, deep ties to the Republican Party so he will not quit just because it benefits the state or the Republican Party. As it stands today, Maes would have a hard time finding any other job based on his phony resume so he has the incentive to stay in the race.
I can see the dynamic of it but I do not have a solid position for voting yet. My wife will vote Tancredo and I’m leaning Tancredo but I am waiting to see what the state party does as well as any challenge to his candidacy. I’m afraid we have conceded the governor's job to Hickenlooper under the current circumstances. I am just hoping this does not affect the down ticket, but that too is unknown.
Having been one of those idiots who voted for Ross Perot, my view of third party efforts has little sympathy. From my later experience working for campaigns and our party, I am more pragmatic and I understand the need for major donors and accept their influence. Still, there does seem to be a disconnect between party activists and party leadership. Some activists may be sorry they voted for Maes but I don’t think they will be happy if the party replaces their choice with someone they did not support before, such as Jane Norton. Any real solution needs the cooperation from both: donors and activists.
I honestly don’t know if the problems can be overcome. Mark Hillman or Josh Penry would have the support but may not have the name recognition nor the funding needed to pull it off. Jane Norton and Bob Beauprez have the funding and name recognition but would need a lot of grass roots support and that may be difficult to accomplish. Time is the biggest obstacle to overcome and for any solution to work both Tancredo and Maes would have to withdraw soon.