Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo is throwing down the gauntlet. According to The Denver Post, Tancredo has demanded that the Republican Party’s two scandal-stained candidates, Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, drop out after the August 10 primary, so that the party can appoint another nominee. If not, Tancredo says, he’ll run as a third party candidate, “and I won’t get out.”
“There’s nothing left to split. The reality is that with the two candidates we have, we will lose the general election,” Tancredo told the Post.
McInnis’ campaign has been rocked by allegations of plagiarism stemming from a series of articles on water policy he was paid $300,000 to write in 2005 and 2006. Meanwhile, Maes, who is running in part on his business acumen, agreed to pay thousands to settle campaign finance violations, and has been embarrassed by tax returns showing him struggling to stay above the poverty line — not exactly a great track record for a supposed titan of capitalism.
McInnis and Maes have both previously said that they’re staying in the race, and reiterated that commitment to the Post following Tancredo’s call.
In the wake of the McInnis scandal, Tancredo’s name was floated by GOP members as a possible replacement. In a poll conducted after the plagiarism revelation, Colorado Republicans named Tancredo their choice for “strongest Republican gubernatorial candidate.”
If McInnis and Maes don’t drop out, Tancredo said he would run as the American Constitution candidate.
Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams released a statement saying he was “terribly disappointed in Tom Tancredo’s announcement that he has made a backroom deal with a minor political party to run for governor.”
Let there be no mistake about it: Regardless of who our nominee is for governor after the primary, if Tom Tancredo carries through on his threat to run as a third party candidate, he will be responsible for the election of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper as governor and for other races that will be imperiled as well.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com