Colorado Governor's Race: Endorsing Nobody

After thinking about the pluses and minuses of Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, and taking no pleasure in my conclusion regarding the Colorado Republican primary for Governor of Colorado, I have decided to endorse Nobody.

Let me be very clear here:  I'm not saying that I'm not endorsing anybody.  Rather, I am actively endorsing Nobody, endorsing the view, also taken by some friends who have created a Facebook page entitled "Undervote Colorado's GOP Governor Primary" (whose logo I have appropriated not once, but twice, below), that the best course of action for Colorado Republicans in this election is not to cast a vote in this race.  (I encourage you to "like" the Facebook page and send it around to your friends.)

I am, with some sadness but more resignation to a Republican Party that needs reworking inside and out, endorsing Nobody.

The only chance to get the primary winner to drop out of the race is if he can be made to believe, strongly enough to overcome the ego which all candidates do and must have, that he does not have enough support to win the general election and that he should therefore get out.  The GOP would then fill the vacancy.

If that were to happen, it still might not help unless Tom Tancredo then drops out of the race, which he has said he won't do.  And, given Tom's gambit here, I take him at his word.

It's a longshot, but perhaps the GOP wouldn't fill the vacancy, and just subtly support Tancredo, though I think Tancredo has angered too many to expect that outcome.  Another possibility, as suggested by reader Ken S. is that Tancredo might be offered the Lieutenant Governor slot with specific authority over immigration-related issues.  Seems like an interesting idea, but I wouldn't bet the ranch on Tancredo accepting such an offer.  It could depend on who the GOP governor nominee is.

At the end of the day, this election is probably lost; John Hickenlooper is probably our next governor.  This thanks to a GOP establishment which pushed the best candidate, Josh Penry, out of the race to leave us with Scott McInnis, a man who offered a partly-plagiarized paper to a foundation -- and that's the good part of that story for McInnis.  And thanks, I continue to believe despite many protestations from Tea Party and other friends, to a Tea Party movement which was so smitten by Dan Maes' new guy, ordinary guy, fresh face that they forgot that experience matters.  Any really relevant experience.  Dan Maes is a nice enough guy upon a first meeting, which is all most people will have, but my interview with him made it clear to me that he should have run for the state legislature or some other achievable goal, not for governor.  He has a decent basic foundation, but nowhere near a deep enough understanding of issues, politics, or the business of governing to make his first campaign the race for the top elected position in the state.

Arguments that it's about the "team" he puts around him are not compelling.  A good team is of course important, but the team captain should be a very strong player and Dan Maes is not that, at least not yet.  It's not meant as an insult to Mr. Maes who seems like a sincere person (as does his wife, Karen).  What he's doing is like me trying to play for the Denver Nuggets just because I played a little basketball in high school.  (Actually, Maes' relevant experience to be governor is probably even less than my relevant experience to play in the NBA.)

While I understand Tea Party and 9/12 groups' desire to elect a true outsider, it can't be at the expense of competence.  Dan Maes is simply not ready to be governor of a state.  And Scott McInnis is unfit in both temperament and history to be governor of a state.  Let me be clear:  I mean no insult to Dan Maes, and I do mean insult to Scott McInnis who should (1) have handled the "Musings on Water" fiasco much better, including (2) dropping out of the race.

The whole situation reminds me of my blog note of January 5th of this year when Bill Ritter announced he would not seek re-election (I bet he's regretting that decision now!) in which I predicted that Hickenlooper would be the Dems' nominee and I said that McInnis (the clear front-runner at the time) "would rather run against anyone but John Hickenlooper."  And more: "If I were the GOP, I’d hope that John Hickenlooper finds, yet again, a reason not to run for governor."  We weren't so lucky.  And at this point, the Republican candidates are so damaged that they might even lose to Ritter if he were running.

As crazy as it sounds, I still think McInnis might be more electable than Dan Maes, even though after one meeting with each I like Dan Maes better than I like Scott McInnis.  But by more electable, I mean maybe McInnis loses by 12 and Maes by 15. And those might be optimistic, which is a remarkable thing to believe in what is shaping up to be the best Republican year since 1994.

With looming redistricting and potential State Supreme Court vacancies, it's so important to win this seat that I really considered holding my nose and voting for Scott McInnis, not so much based on electability but on the possibility of being convinced to get out of the race. (I don't think Dan Maes will drop out under any circumstances.) But some smells are too strong to stomach, even holding one's nose and I just can't vote for a man who cheated a foundation and whose reputation among people who have known and dealt with him for a long time is "Scott is all about Scott."  I have to be able to live with myself.  It's why I didn't vote for John McCain.  This is a different sort of problem than I had with McCain, but it leads me to the same place.

In short, I can't vote for Dan Maes for this race at this time, and I can't vote for Scott McInnis for any race at any time.

In the 2010 Colorado Republican primary for Governor of Colorado, I endorse Nobody and I encourage you to leave blank both governor choices on your Republican primary ballot.

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    07/31/10 @ 07:02:17 am

    I concur, Ross. Our collective revulsion must be communicated to the candidates, in such a way as to compel the Party to think outside the box. Still, this election is all about the down-market races, I fear. How would you feel about Penry for Tancredo's Lieutenant Governor? Doable at this point? If McInnis wins and folds, we have a chance to be creative; if Maes prevails, nothing short of nuclear war would persuade him to resign.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/31/10 @ 07:06:29 am

    I'd rather see Penry for gov and Tancredo for Lt. Gov, but I don't think that will happen. I kinda doubt Josh would take the Lt. Gov position, esp under Tom, but I can't say it's totally impossible. Josh might see it as (1) too damaging to his career to boost a 3rd party candidate, (2) not earning enough money, (3) being a worthless job. I agree that Maes won't get out. What else would he do?

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    07/31/10 @ 07:09:50 am

    Ross: "I continue to believe despite many protestations from Tea Party and other friends, to a Tea Party movement which was so smitten by Dan Maes’ new guy, ordinary guy, fresh face that they forgot that experience matters." The Party people (fellow precinct CPs and local candidates supporting him) I've talked to give me the impression that Maes' strongest selling point was that he wasn't Scott McInnis. No one in the ranks likes the way candidates are anointed within the Party's sanctum sanctorum, and Maes was the vehicle by which they could express their disgust.

  • tim
    Comment from: tim
    07/31/10 @ 07:10:07 am

    You got it right! neither is ready and that is a monumental failure for the GOP! There needs to be a post election rebuilding of the party in Colorado even if we have a strong showing in the other congressional and local races. I don't trust McGuninis to not try to run all the way. He is in this for himself not the people. One can see it in his eyes. He looks through people like Udall does only seeing thier wallet. Dan is a nice enough guy and I could see him taking a LT role to Tancredo. While Peter Boyles is pissing me off as he pisses on the GOP every morning we need that salt in the wound. Lastly Tancredo is perhaps the firebrand we need to awaken party-partisianship thinking and compete for ideas. Tom needs to broaden his thinking beyond the core immigration issue. No one trick pony garbage will win! He can spend time with Chris Christy and focus on all Coloroado. The unions here need attack also! Turn firebrand into convictions and clear thinking then perhaps he wins!

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/31/10 @ 07:15:49 am

    Ken, I agree that one of Dan's selling points is that he's not Scott. But I don't want measles just because it's not cancer. Tim, Dan is simply not qualified to be Lt. Gov

  • J
    Comment from: J
    07/31/10 @ 08:35:37 am

    Ross, Please do explain the qualifications for Colorado Governor? What is qualified?

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/31/10 @ 08:48:06 am

    Bob, I would think that a basic understanding of policy-making would be helpful, a more-than-basic understanding of the state budget and budgeting process (at a time when the budget is the biggest problem), and an understanding of issues that goes deep enough that one doesn't change one's mind almost every time one meets with "experts", would all be part of a minimal qualification package. You are, of course, free to think that there are no qualifications needed other than a good attitude or particular philosophy. But I think that more people will agree with me than with that position.

  • tldavis
    Comment from: tldavis
    07/31/10 @ 08:55:14 am

    It is my opinion that when you are not going to get the result you want (Penry) then you should support something or someone who will be the candidate against Hickenlooper. It doesn't matter how we got here, we are here. I am not impressed with either candidate, which is why it took me forever to conclude that McInnis was the guy I had to back, like it or not, and the NEXT DAY the news of the plagarism broke. So, I had made my decision and it turned out to be wrong. I'm not still beating my chest for McInnis because I chose him and it turned out that he can't win. Penry is NOT on the ticket. The list of those NOT on the ticket is long and distinguished. You are as guilty of anyone as making this an unwinable election by continually opting for people who are NOT on the ticket. Your instincts, instead of finding something to champion, is to scorch the earth in front of Penry without realizing that that sort of talk is WHY Tancredo entered the race. The answer you offer is to turn to the wisdom of the vacancy committee where you hope to get your wish, but what if they choose someone you think equally as incapable of winning? Will you sit in the corner petulantly and refuse to vote? If this election is jacked up it is because of this sort of "can't win" hysteria. I just want everyone to calm the heck down and start thinking of how to HELP someone win, instead of tearing everyone to pieces trying to get their way. I may even agree with you that Penry would be the BEST candidate, the reason I haven't gotten on the Penry bandwagon is, again, he is NOT on the ticket. Also, blaming the Tea Partyists for choosing poorly is a bad tactic. That is like saying that the people choosing candidates via some form of popular selection is a bad idea, and they should just allow the smart people on committees to do that sort of thing. I can't disagree with that more. You might note, however, that even by the time the Tea Partyists got an opportunity to support anyone the only two major candidates were Maes and McInnis. Penry was at none of these events as a candidate. So, blaming them for not having the ultimate wisdom to select Penry out of a crowd of Colorado citizens and thrusting him forward is ridiculous. I know this is long, sorry.

  • J
    Comment from: J
    07/31/10 @ 09:09:33 am

    Ross, Please do not put words in my mouth. You wrote: "You are, of course, free to think that there are no qualifications needed other than a good attitude or particular philosophy. But I think that more people will agree with me than with that position. " I was asking you what the ideal qualifications for Colorado Governor were. I never said anything about what I thought was ideal. Is there a certain education or experience you are requiring? Budget hawk is all I gleamed from your non- descript response. Give me something more tangible.

  • J
    Comment from: J
    07/31/10 @ 09:12:21 am

    I agree with tldavis. Stop allowing the Denver Post to manage the GOP campaign.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/31/10 @ 09:21:02 am

    J, Qualifications should include a history for more than a couple of months of supporting limited government and liberty. I would also like to see some measure of success is something the person has done before, something that shows leadership skills, good judgment, and the ability to work through difficult situations. I don't care about a particular level or type of formal education.

  • Comment from: Rossputin
    07/31/10 @ 09:23:21 am

    Tim, You are overstating the degree to which my non-endorsement has anything to do with Penry. I think it's probably too late for any Republican to win this election. We need to focus on winning the Senate race and, perhaps more importantly, winning back at least one part of the state legislature. I didn't say the Tea Party people should have selected Penry. You're making too much of my Penry mention. The bottom line is that neither McInnis nor Maes should be governor and I'm not going to support someone just because he has an R by his name. It's taking Obama for people to learn the lesson at the federal level. If it takes Hick for them to learn it at the state level, so be it. People will get the government they deserve, and the GOP will get what it deserves. I'm not just pointing at the Tea Party -- a movement I greatly support. There's a lot of blame to go around here. The people who pushed Penry out and forced McInnis on us deserve more blame than anyone else.

  • J
    Comment from: J
    07/31/10 @ 09:33:39 am

    Ross, You had better write an article because I am just no understanding what you think makes a candidate "qualified". You are telling me the things one should NOT be, tell me what one SHOULD be.

  • tldavis
    Comment from: tldavis
    07/31/10 @ 09:34:28 am

    By not supporting either one, you are supporting Hickenlooper. Why not just put your endorsement with Hick? Look, I'm all for the better candidate, but I don't think that is Hickenlooper. I think Hickenlooper would be a disasterous governor for this state, I think Hick's election would seriously hinder future oil and gas development and some companies holding out for a Republican governor and easing regulations might just pack up and go to North Dakota. I think Hickenscooper would drive up taxes and plunge the state economy into recession and greater unemployment that it already has. I think Hickenscooper would inflame racial relations worse than they are now. I think an in-your-face sanctuary state would invite strife unseen in this state. I think Hickenscooper would stack the supreme court with justices exactly like those present, or worse and forget redistricting. For all of these reasons I would elect a ham sandwich if it had an R on its napkin. I'm just asking you not to burn the ham sandwich.

  • J
    Comment from: J
    07/31/10 @ 09:35:54 am

    Ross wrote:" I'm not just pointing at the Tea Party -- a movement I greatly support. There's a lot of blame to go around here. The people who pushed Penry out and forced McInnis on us deserve more blame than anyone else. " I think Penny pushed himself out by supporting ref O and cosigning hb1326.

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    07/31/10 @ 09:38:45 am

    Ross: "I agree that one of Dan's selling points is that he's not Scott. But I don't want measles just because it's not cancer." You misunderstand me. I'm accounting for Dan's success within the Party. You or I could have run and gotten on the ballot this year in his place. As for Dan's not being qualified to be our LtG, I have but two words in rebuttal: Jane Norton. Based on my discussions with her, she doesn't know enough about the law to be able to write it; you and I are more qualified to be our Senator than she is right now. LtG isn't much of a job, and Dan could learn the ropes there safely. Romanoff and Buck are both competent, partisan considerations aside. Bennet is a lawyer, and not entirely useless (partisan considerations aside). Ideally, you'd like your candidate to have some law-writing or law-interpreting experience in the minor leagues.

  • joe harrington
    Comment from: joe harrington
    08/02/10 @ 12:54:39 am

    Komrades: Of course the following means that those of you who wish to throw away your votes in the GOP primary need to register in a small third party, but here goes: It occurs to me that if enough of the preferred votes for Nobody (as you suggest) banded together and drafted either of Romanoff or Bennet to run on the American Socialist Party ticket for Governor, as THE one true Socialist running in the race, that we might be able to get enough liberal votes siphoned off to make this competitive again. Where is Ralph Nader when we need him? Any other suggested large ego / socialist candidates that you could add to my shopping list? Another benefit of my proposed strategy is that we would not be bound by the usual ethical constraints of the typical conservative. Yours in the relentless bashing of all things capitalistic! Josef

  • kjdiamond
    Comment from: kjdiamond
    08/02/10 @ 02:43:27 pm

    I think this says more about Ross' character that he chooses not to support either candidate for the GOP. Why? If you look recently at his non-endorsement of McCain, you will understand that Ross will not vote for someone just to make a vote count. I went at him for this, only becuase Obama was/is such a mess. However, if you have the convictions and belief in your ideals, you stick to it. I am a GOPer, but even I can see that both of these candidates are flawed. The only thing to do is sit back and watch the Looper go down in flames, and come back in a few years with a much stronger GOP brand. Otherwise, none of these idiots are getting my vote and that says a lot. I still voted for McCain even though he looked like he wanted NOTHING to do with being President.