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:
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:
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