Breaking: Tancredo statement on gov race; if McInnis/Maes don't promise to get out, Tancredo will get in

[Update: Dick Wadhams has responded to Tancredo's announcement.  See end of this note for more...]

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo has just released a statement on the Colorado Republican gubernatorial primary.  In short, it says that neither Scott McInnis nor Dan Maes can win the general election.  Therefore, Tancredo calls on whichever man wins the primary to drop out and be replaced by a viable candidate chosen by a committee of the GOP.

Furthermore, Tancredo says that if Maes and McInnis do not BOTH announce by noon on Monday that they will drop out if they win the primary, Tom Tancredo will "seek the nomination of the American Constitution Party for Governor of Colorado."  He adds "If I run, I will do so to the best of my ability and will do so through the November election."

[More commentary soon, to be added below Tancredo's statement.]

See the entire statement below:

Tom Tancredo's statement regarding CO governor's race

My gut reaction to Tancredo's announcement, keeping in mind that I had some inkling for the past few days that this was coming:

While there's some small possibility that either Maes or McInnis will drop out of the race, I put the chances at maybe 5% each, especially by Monday.  That might be high.  That means (at least if you were to view their decisions as independent which is certainly not correct but the math is too complicated otherwise) that the chance of both of them getting out is 1/4 of 1%.

The other way to say this is that in my view there's a 99% chance that next Monday Tom Tancredo will officially announce that he will be running for governor as the nominee of the American Constitution Party.

So, then what?

The establishment will probably not support Tom or the winner of the primary, though McInnis has a slightly better chance of getting support because as damaged as he is, he's still probably more likely to have a chance against Hickenlooper than Maes would.  Tom could probably raise a fair bit of money, given his name recognition (and not just in Colorado), but nobody is going to raise as much, maybe not half as much, as Hickenlooper.  The Arizona law and the issue of immigration more broadly play right into the wheelhouse of Tancredo.  In other words, even if people peg him as a one-issue guy (which isn't right but I understand the perception), that one issue is very high on people's list of what's important right now.  Not as high as jobs and the economy, but Tom will be every bit as strong on those issues as McInnis or Maes would.  Nevertheless, the portrayal of Tancredo by the media and by Democrats will consistently be as a racist and a fringe candidate.  You can just hear them now: "Tancredo is right where he belongs, with a fringe third party."

In the end, I think that having Tancredo in the race as well as either Republican means a certain victory for John Hickenlooper.  But not having in the race probably means the same thing.

Even if Tancredo were the only candidate, I fear he is too controversial to win, and he'll have some 'splainin' to do regarding his vote, widely discussed by conservative activists, for TARP.  I think Tom Tancredo is smart and quite principled, despite that vote which quite a few Republicans made -- and regret.  He has a much deeper understanding of and respect for the Constitution than most of our politicians.  But he's been so type-cast that there's probably not enough time (or money) for him to change the perception of him out there.

I think Tom, if he's in the race, could get the second-most votes after John Hickenlooper.  And you  know that that means, right?  It means 4, and probably 8 years of Governor Hickenlooper.  That said, I don't think having him in the race substantially raises the chance of Hickenlooper winning either because Hick is already so likely to beat either McInnis or Maes...unless there is some bombshell news, particularly news with serious negative implications for Hickenlooper's character (analogous to McInnis' "Musings About Water" problems).  If there is an anti-Hickenlooper bombshell, then having Tom in the race could turn out to be a major negative for the chances of keeping Hick out of the governor's mansion because of the vote splitting.  That said, Tom will have a decent argument to make that having the Republican in the race is really the problem...

In the end, I don't think Tancredo has a much better chance of beating Hickenlooper than McInnis does, and obviously not if they're both in.

Thus the best possible outcome would be if Tancredo stays out because both McInnis and Maes give in to his threat...and you already know what I think the chance of that is.

While I completely understand Tom's disgust with the current situation, I'm not convinced that his decision that he can't just sit by and watch this happen without trying to do something -- which is what he's thinking, based on our on-air radio conversation on Sunday -- is the best thing for the state, and maybe, in the long run, not even for Tom Tancredo.

At the end of the day, Tancredo's entry will probably just be another interesting footnote in a sad tale of Republicans handing the governorship of Colorado to an enviro-wacko leftist wolf in sheep's clothing in the best year for Republicans since 1994.


UPDATE: Dick Wadhams responds.

In his reaction to Tancredo's announcement, Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams says he is "terribly disappointed in Tom Tancredo's announcement that he has made a backroom deal with a minor political party to run for governor."

Wadhams also mentions a Tancredo op-ed: "This past December, Tom Tancredo wrote a compelling op-ed calling on Tea Party and 9-12 activists to not form a third party because previous conservative third parties 'succeeded in electing the more liberal candidate after many conservatives waste their votes on a third party candidate.' Tom Tancredo should remember his own words."

In other words, if Tancredo thought he had even the smallest chance of being selected by a vacancy committee should his threat have worked, even that chance has just vanished like a little piece of flash paper in the flame of Dick Wadhams' anger...

Wadhams entire statement here:

Dick Wadhams' statement on Tom Tancredo's threatened entry into CO Governor's race

  • jeremiahjj
    Comment from: jeremiahjj
    07/22/10 @ 04:54:37 pm

    Republicans can find the most intricate ways to kill themselves off. Go for it, gang, and may you enjoy the next four or eight years with Hickenlooper in the governor's office. You will get what you deserve.

  • mangyredbonehound
    Comment from: mangyredbonehound
    07/22/10 @ 04:55:43 pm

    Game over. Republicans need to give this race up and spend their time and money elsewhere. McInnis is a dead man walking, Maes is doing some sort of Don Quixote charge, Tancredo is too controversial, and Hickenlooper is too normal for us to have a chance this cycle.

  • tldavis
    Comment from: tldavis
    07/22/10 @ 07:11:13 pm

    This is what the FAILURE of the GOP to embrace and support the Tea Party candidates has led to. Continually tearing down Maes has led to everyone on the political fringe seeking a way into the governor's seat. Where the rules are overcome, there are no rules. This is exactly why I got into the Tea Party, because they understand that. When you violate the Constitution to suit your personal and political goals, you get a document that means nothing. The GOP had better take a hard look at their tactics, and damn soon.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/22/10 @ 07:16:54 pm

    Tim, I agree with your basic analysis, but I think you're being slightly disingenuous for giving the Tea Party a pass on going all-in for Dan Maes. At best, he's not a great candidate. Anyway, Tancredo's action is really only possible because of McInnis' weakness. This isn't as much about Maes. As crazy as it sounds, I still think McInnis is a little better than 50/50 to win the primary. That says a lot about this race...and none of it is good.

  • Orson
    Comment from: Orson
    07/23/10 @ 12:05:32 am

    "Even if Tancredo were the only candidate, I fear he is too controversial to win...." Living in Boulder as a libertarian, not long ago, I certainly believed Tom was too controversial. Once I moved from there and saw Tom in person, unfiltered by the histrionic media, my perception changed. It changed because Tancredo incites the psychotic defenses of the political Left. What do I mean? The Left-run media is suffused by projective paranoia (eg, the Tea Party is racist), and denial of reality (eg, what illegals? what border?). These are psychotic defenses - as the former professor of clinical psychiatry, Dr. Pat Santy, explains. I think Tom can win if (and only if) he can, like Reagan, bypass the MSM filter. Maes is a long shot, but McGinnis is like Bob Dole - a party timekeeper keeping his date with doom against a populist Dem, who - if times were honest - is a tax-and-spender wildly against the needs of the day. Therefore I support Tancredo's nuclear option: it is the only way to get the neurotic Pubbies to face the truth: this is no time to go wobbly (as Maggie Thatcher famously said). For that is what Colorado Republicans have done. Have Tom or Beaupres or Hanks run, or forget governor.

  • T.L. Davis
    Comment from: T.L. Davis
    07/23/10 @ 08:04:11 am

    My defense of Maes is a defense of someone chosen by the popular vote, as was demonstrated in a recent, albeit Tea Party gathering, the straw poll vote for Maes over McInnis was at 90 some percent over single digits. But look, the issue is not so much Maes or McInnis, Tancredo, or not, it is about how do we now get to a different candidate who enjoys the actual vote of the people. The only way to avoid Maes is to avoid popular input into the selection. That, for me, is the stumbling block to choosing a different candidate. Ross, I know your pick would be Penry, okay, and someone else's would be Tancredo, and someone else's would be Benson, and someone else's would be either Buck or Norton, whoever loses the primary. I'm looking for a way to infuse the race with some popular input, some popular selection and if we can't come up with that we need to expend all energies to electing the one who enjoys that support.