The survey of 750 likely voters in Colorado was conducted on September 12, and the results amplify the sound of revolt emanating from the east and shaking the GOP to its core.
The core of the GOP was once the constitutional, conservative base that now feels betrayed by the big spending, liberty-suspending, war-making Republican Party that, if the trend continues along its current trajectory, will be but a lifeless shell, drained of the constitutionalists that were once its lifeblood.
Tom Tancredo is one of the defectors whose electoral success may soon relegate the GOP to third-party status. Tancredo served five terms as a Republican in the House of Representatives from Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District. Much of that time, in fairness, he was a gadfly whose staunch, steadfast conservative positions persistently provoked the ire of the GOP establishment.
One of Tancredo’s primary policy concerns while serving in Congress was the abolition of illegal immigration. With the passage of S.B. 1070 in Arizona and the Obama administration’s subsequent lawsuit challenging its constitutionality, Tancredo’s experience and credibility fighting the good fight against illegal immigration has bolstered his name recognition and engendered admiration among friends of liberty throughout Colorado and the nation.
While his surging popularity is certainly welcome news to Tancredo, he had much more to be thankful for this week. Tuesday a state judge in Colorado ruled that Tancredo’s name may appear on the gubernatorial ballot in November as the candidate from the American Constitution Party. His inclusion on the ballot was challenged by two registered Republicans on the grounds that his defection from the GOP and nomination by the ACP violated state election law.
According to the Title 1 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, third-party candidates must be registered with the party by the first business day of January in the year they intend to run for office. While that would seem to proscribe Tancredo’s appearance on the ballot (he did not register with the ACP until July), the section of the code the judge held as applicable in this case, however, grants to political parties the right to set their own standards for choosing candidates. And, the American Constitution Party has chosen Tom Tancredo.
Commenting on the ruling, Tancredo called it a “huge victory” and exulted that he would “be on the ballot in November.”
Of course, inclusion on the ballot is but another hurdle on the track to the state house in Denver. While Tancredo is currently polling ahead of the Republican candidate, he is a double-digit also-ran to the Democratic candidate, John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper is polling at about 46-percent support in the Rasmussen Report survey.
Tancredo’s camp is busy trying to find pools of disaffected Republican opinion makers that they can siphon off and use to fill their candidate’s tank for the drive to election day. Last week Tancredo’s campaign published a roster of prominent Colorado Republicans who have announced their apostasy from the GOP (at least temporarily) and support for Tancredo. The list included over 16 current or former State Representatives. According to the Washington Times, Representative Steve King of Iowa is backing Tancredo’s run for Governor.
For his part, Dan Maes attributes his declining poll numbers to the negative stories running recently regarding his inflation of his law enforcement credentials. Reports from Colorado suggest that Maes exaggerated his status when he claimed to be an “undercover agent on a Kansas police force.”
“There’s no candidate in the world who could have undergone the onslaught Dan Maes has been under and not have it have an effect on the polls,” responded Nate Strauch, spokesman for the Maes campaign. He told the Washington Times that he reckons that Maes’s political foes have “spent all [their] bullets.”
Maybe. With a bulging war chest, however, Tancredo can afford to buy lots of bullets. The latest shot fired at Maes is a television spot that began running earlier this week wherein an erstwhile Maes supporter recounts how a $300 loan she made to Maes to help pay his mortgage was used as a campaign donation: “Dan Maes not only conned me out of my money, he lied to me about his background, and he deceived my friends and myself about his conservative principles. I’ve had so many people call me and ask: 'What kind of man would do that to an 83-year-old lady?'” says Freda Poundstone in the ad.
Whether or not Maes is guilty of the trickery and deception of which Tancredo’s ad accuses him, his violation of campaign laws are a matter of official record, as he has been hit with $17,500 in fines for failing to comply with regulations governing campaign reimbursements.
Coloradans will elect their 37th Governor on November 2, 2010.
Photo of Tom Tancredo: AP Images