Colorado GOPers Bolt to Tancredo

With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, a number of present and past Republican office-holders in Colorado have bolted from their embattled gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes to support American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo.

“So far, we have 20 past or present Republican state legislators in our camp,” former four-term Rep. Tancredo told HUMAN EVENTS between campaign stops. He added that present Rep. Mike Coffman as well as former Representatives Bob Schaffer (the ’08 GOP nominee for the Senate), Bob Beauprez (the ’06 gubernatorial nominee), and Joel Hefley are now supporting him.

In addition, State Sen. Josh Penry, who was a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor this year until his sudden exit from the race, is helping Tancredo’s insurgent bid.

As he has in previous interviews, Tancredo reminded us that he was an early backer of the 33-year-old Penry for governor and “if Josh had stayed in the race and won the primary or if [Maes] had resigned the nomination and the Republicans picked Josh or any credible Republican conservative to replace him, I wouldn’t be here. Under the circumstances, I felt I had to run.”

By “circumstances,” Tancredo was referring to the questions surrounding first-time candidate Maes’ resume. There have been questions raised as to just how big the business he says he runs is and his claims of being an undercover policeman investigating corruption on a local force have never been substantiated. As a result of this controversy, Maes’ campaign funding has dried up and the Republican Governors Association has said it will not fund him.

In contrast, Tancredo has raised more than $600,000—“and that’s in a state where the maximum donation to a state candidate is $525 per person,” he noted. A just-completed Denver Post poll showed Democratic nominee and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper leading the race with 46% of the vote, Tancredo with 34%, and Maes trailing at 15%.

Tancredo said that he gains support “every time we have a debate, and that’s because I address the issues others don’t want to deal with. I will make the cuts in spending we desperately need and I am willing to take on the state employees associations that have put our state on the edge of bankruptcy with their demands.”

He also said that he plans to fight for changes in the environmentalist regulations that “are driving the oil and gas industry out of Colorado and with it the jobs they provide.”

He also pointed out that while Hickenlooper was mayor, “Denver lost 39,000 private-sector jobs and he raised $290 million in taxes and fees over the last three years. And his predecessor made Denver a sanctuary city through executive order and he has never rescinded the order.”

Does the issue of illegal immigration that Tancredo is so identified with come up in debates? He answered without hesitation: “At every one of them it comes up. And I just cite the report of FAIR showing that the cost to Colorado taxpayers for illegal immigration last year was $1.4 billion.”