Tambor Williams doesn't help Dan Maes' chances to become Governor of Colorado

In yesterday's blog note, I suggested that Dan Maes is trying to shore up his own weaknesses with his choice of an experienced running mate.  I had never heard of his choice, Tambor Williams, before a few days ago (since almost all of her time in the state legislature was prior to my arrival in Colorado.)

The more I read about Ms. Williams, the more I think that Maes gets little benefit from her other than trying to capture some of the Weld County (and possibly Larimer County) voter enthusiasm generated by Ken Buck.

Williams positions herself -- and Maes positions her -- as a moderate conservative.  While that is appealing to a segment of voters, Maes absolutely must get almost all Republicans to have a chance of winning; he must keep GOP voters from defecting to Tancredo in addition to trying to thread the needle in a way that keeps himself appealing to independent voters and maybe a few Dems.

I just cringed when reading this Maes statement in the Denver Post: "I have to be humble enough before God and say I know what I lack, and what I lack is Tambor Williams."

What this statement does is turn off voters who, whether you like it or not, don't want their politicians to be getting their answers from a non-terrestrial source, while telling conservatives who might appreciate Maes' heavenly appeal that what he's missing is a running mate perceived as not being a principled conservative.

I know Maes is trying to appear humble, as he says directly. Instead I think he appears unpalatable, like taking two foods such as garlic and chocolate, obviously delicious separately, and making something rather repugnant by mixing them together.

A friend -- more conservative than I am, to be sure -- sent me this opinion of Tambor Williams (written, I believe, by a third party):


She is pretty smart. Got into big issues at the legislature and generally handled them poorly. She supported Ref C (cabinet head so she had to). A friend sent me this:  http://www.kdvr.com/news/politics/kdvr-maes-picks-tambor-williams-txt,0,3863703.story

This is a disaster for the GOP. Not only was Tambor the State's top regulator after voting to allow Waren Hern to continue partial birth abortions (HB97-1136), she helped pass the largest tax hike in Colorado history (Ref C) and tried to cripple us with billions more in debt (Ref D).

Tambor Williams is the poster child for everything that caused voters to distrust the CO GOP in the first place.

So why on earth would Dan's very first decision as our nominee be such an obviously ridiculous choice?

If like me you feared Dan Maes's campaign was like the Titanic going down, he just pulled aboard the biggest anchor he could find making it sink faster.

Now the base will flee to Tancredo in droves.
And the Dems haven't even layed a glove on Dan yet.

An amaesingly bad day for the CO GOP.


While this view somewhat overstates the magnitude of the impact of Mr. Maes' selection of running mate, particularly given the potential positive of the appeal of a "moderate" woman among unaffiliated or moderate Republican women voters, it's basically right in the sense that Maes needed a near miracle: he needed someone who would bring the energy that Sarah Palin brought, at least briefly, to the McCain presidential campaign.

It was a very tall order to begin with since elections are generally not about the running mate, and this one particularly not.  So, I don't think a great outcome was even possible for Mr. Maes.  I don't know whether Maes had a better choice available.  I do have reason to believe that at least one other very credible person turned down the request to run as Maes' running mate.

I don't think Williams' abortion views are a problem for any substantial number of voters.  Pro-choice voters whose primary issue is abortion won't choose Maes anyway.  Her support of limited exceptions, i.e. rape, incest, life of the mother, are not wildly controversial among conservatives, at least not enough to cause most of them to abandon a candidate.   (I know that Tom Tancredo had a perfect voting record in Congress with the National Right to Life Committee; I don't know whether he would allow exceptions such as those Williams supports.  Tancredo's web site does not touch on the issue, which is quite rational given the bigger issues of economics, jobs, and immigration which the state is facing now and given a governor's limited ability to have any impact on abortion other than making sure taxpayer money isn't funding the procedure.)

I think her support of Referendum C is potentially a big problem, as the writer of the note above suggests.  Maes cannot afford to lose very many Republican voters. But even though the deep wound caused by Bill Owens, State Senator Steve Johnson, Bruce Benson and other Republican supporters of Ref C in 2005 seems nearly healed, my recollection is that Tom Tancredo, while on the periphery of the debate, was against C & D, and is likely to pick at that scab in attacks against Maes.  After all, if it was fair game in attacking Jane Norton, it will be fair game in attacking Tambor Williams.  If anything, Jane Norton had much more plausible deniability in the sense that she doesn't say she really supported the measures; rather she was supporting her boss.  Williams has already said she really supported C & D with the rather weak caveat that she only supported them if both passed, not if only one passed as ended up being the case.

At the end of the day, Tambor Williams seems like a bland attorney who brings as much negative as positive to the ticket.  She's not the worst possible choice for Maes, but I doubt she helps him in any substantial way and she may be a slight net negative among conservative Republican voters.

It's getting near too late for Dan Maes to get out of this race.  I continue to believe he should, particularly given Tom Tancredo's offer to get out simultaneously (which Maes rejected yesterday.)  And I also believe I should win the Powerball lottery this week.  At this point, it seems the chance of either is about the same.

p.s. I would add that Dan Maes' trying to create some sort of "gotcha" moment on the radio by asking Peter Boyles if he had Tom Tancredo's tax returns was weak, pathetic, and showed yet again his utter lack of experience. Did Maes really think that Tancredo would be as unprepared or unwilling to share the information as Maes was, particularly given that Tancredo has been a congressman? Tancredo had his tax returns to Boyles the next day, making Maes look that much worse both for asking the question and by reminding people that he took forever to show his own tax returns as well as the lack of success they showed.  By calling for Tancredo's tax returns in the way he did, Maes showed again that he's just not ready for prime time.

  • T.L. Davis
    Comment from: T.L. Davis
    08/19/10 @ 08:27:25 am

    Well, I'm not sure who he had to choose from, do you? You can blame a bad choice on anyone who has few choices to start with. I hope the CO GOP gets their wish of getting rid of Maes, because the next stop is Tancredo and he isn't even a member of the GOP at this point. I believe the circular firing squad started at the assembly when elitist GOPers discovered Maes could win and the Tea Party could make it so. They doubled down on McInnis unaware of the skeleton in the closet, but they had cast their vote and went down with that ship. To cut off their nose to spite their face they drifted to Hickenlooper and Tancredo and basically boycotted Maes. They made him radioactive back at the Assembly, so no one would come to his aid and run on his ticket. I always knew the GOP would blow up their own boat, that's why I have been such a staunch supporter of the Tea Party. So when there is a third party next election, we, like Obama can say that the GOP wants the keys to the car back after two disasterous election cycles and we won't do it, maybe it's time to find a different conservative driver.

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    08/19/10 @ 02:52:17 pm

    Let's try to undo some of the damage. Hick's new TV ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Yv_g7ZyADM&feature=player_embedded; also, at http://coloradopols.com/) is just begging for a parody. Remember the song, "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair?" Just play that in the background (using karaoke, substituting "scandal" for man, and a male voice sounding something like Hick), while listing the most outrageous scandals of Hick's administration for each new shower. Closing comment: "Negative ads" is DemSpeak for "telling the truth."

  • ken smith
    Comment from: ken smith
    08/19/10 @ 03:05:42 pm

    It's hard to blame Dan. The big boys have been trying to scuttle his candidacy since last year, but he's our version of John McClain. At this point, I can't imagine anyone with serious long-term political ambitions hopping aboard the good dinghy SS Maes. He's got DickWad knifing him from the left, Tanc knifing him from the right, and the state's money-men pulling their strings. Dan's mishandling of his tax situation has been beyond stupid. Tanc is one of the few ConMen who didn't get filthy rich in Washington; he was so spectacularly feckless in the office that neither Enron nor Andersen bothered to bribe him. (Tanc's only claim to legislative fame involved investments in the Sudan; on his "signature issue," he was nowhere to be found because he didn't want to solve it so that he could remain the center of attention.) He's the kind of guy who has a clean return, because he has a think-tank gig and nothing else. Not the kind of guy you want to attack on that issue.

  • Rich Hand
    Comment from: Rich Hand
    08/19/10 @ 03:11:27 pm

    Suggesting that Dan Maes leave the race after winning the election poses the question; what will the Republicans do then? They can't support Tancredo because he is no longer a R, so the Republican leadership will choose a candidate. How is that good for anyone? Part of Dan's appeal is he is not a party insider and none of us are perfect especially Hickenlooper. It is time to get behind Dan and start giving Hickenlooper a bath. The longer the RP takes to figure out the people have spoken the closer they get to RIP. Get to know Dan. Dan will be Governor. The LT Gov is not going to be here nor there for voters. People don't seem to get it; the people are tired of politics as usual from both parties and party insiders...

  • Jan Herron
    Comment from: Jan Herron
    08/19/10 @ 08:35:58 pm

    It's fine that Maes is not a party insider. What's wrong is that he is an enigma. I disagree with the fact that voters aren't concerned with a candidate's choice for Lt. Governor. It means a hell of a lot to me. Tambor Williams, sorry, she's no conservative. Nothing irritates a hand wringing liberal than the unvarnished truth. Maes' true colors come through loud and clear. This guy is no conservative. Guess he likes to hang around with liberals. Silverio Salazar comes to mind. John McCain=Juan Hernandez=Silverio Salazar=Dan Maes. Sounds pretty liberal to me, Ross. Remember Maes, I was for amnesty before I was against it. Yes, Maes is Colorado's one and only John McCain.

  • Connie Harn
    Comment from: Connie Harn
    08/20/10 @ 08:03:55 pm

    Between Maes and his campaign finance problems (and it also seems his personal financial problems ie: his mortgage) and Hick trying to wash all his baggage off in the shower (won't wash Hick!) - and now, Tambor Williams, I'm going to start calling Tom, Governor Tancredo. Sounds good to me! Besides, I will bet my right arm Tom would never run with a pro-choice candidate on the ticket.

  • levotb
    Comment from: levotb
    08/22/10 @ 08:19:18 pm

    Poor Fist, I mean Rich Hand, If Maes were to drop out leaving no Republican running, the answer to your question "What would Republicans do then?" answers itself. Republicans who care about Colorado being an Invaded state would vote for Tancredo. He's never altered his message. They can depend on his being a great Governor. The first thing he'd do upon becoming Governor is end all Sanctuary policies in the State, perhaps by an EO. Wouldn't it be nice if Denver and other Colorado city streets were free of gang-banging illegals? I for one am looking forward to HIS looking forward to a better Colorado. I look forward to hearing more from him about what he'll do as Governor.

  • jeremiahjj
    Comment from: jeremiahjj
    08/24/10 @ 05:23:20 pm

    Poor Dick Wadhams and the Republican Party. One is a leader without a party; the other is a party without a leader. Dick and other Republicans (Hank Brown, Scott McInnis (remember him?) and rank-and-file Republican office holders/former office holders are obligated to support the primary nominee. Unfortunately, the nominee can't win, even with Tancredo out of the race. In Texas Maes would be all hat and no cattle. In Colorado he is an empty suit and newspaper editors and talk show hosts have figured that out. That's the reason Wadhams was hoping Maes would see the light and get out of the race. That won't happen because Maes thinks he can win. Actually, I think Tancredo could win if he were the only one running against Hick. Not because Tancredo deserves to win (he doesn't), but this is the year for conservatives. The nation is repulsed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid. They are sick of Obamacare. This will work against Hickenlooper, which is why he's taking showers and doing all kinds of stupid things to make people forget what party he belongs to. He wants people to remember him as an OK guy, someone they like personally. But thanks to McInnis, fate, whatever you want to call it, it is the Republicans who are out in the cold this time around. They'd better hope the GOP takes the legislature and redistricting does not come to pass. If it does, Republicans are gonna be out in the cold for a looooooong time.