Colorado Goes Crazy!

For those of you that do not know, that is a take from a headline in the Boston Globe in 1935.  That year, the Alberta general election saw the Social Credit Party of Alberta rout the governing United Farmers of Alberta to the extent that the UFA was left without a seat in the upcoming Legislative Assembly.  They would never return to government in Alberta, and left politics altogether; the UFA is now a major cooperative.  Will something that epic happen in Colorado this year?  No, of course not.  However, it is pretty amazing to see the Republican Party completely implode in a race that was thought to be a likely flip.

The frontrunner for months was former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO).  He seemed to have most of the establishment behind him in his quest for the governorship.  That is, until it came out that he had committed plagiarism in a piece about water that was written for a local non-profit.  Now it is too late to find another candidate, and the only other person in the race for the Republicans was businessman Dan Maes, who has had his own troubles with the IRS.  It seemed that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper was on his way to becoming the next Governor of Colorado, but that it may still be a tough fight.  The tea parties were backing Maes, and were he to win the nomination, Maes would have a lot of fired up activists at his disposal.

Then another former Congressman came along and finished those plans.  Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) gave the two major Republican candidates an ultimatum:  get out of the race by a deadline of my choosing, or I will run as the standard-bearer for the Constitution Party.  The Constitution Party is a far-right party that believes in keeping to the strictures of a Constitution written by people that have been dead for nearly 200 years (the Constitution Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota in 2006 favored the criminalization of homosexuality).  Usually, their candidates live in total obscurity on the local, state, and national stages, and attract somewhere between 0-1 percent of the vote.  Well, this would be much different.  To my knowledge, Tancredo would become the first ever elected official, current or former, to seek statewide office on their ticket (there was a Constitution Party candidate elected to the Montana State House in 2006).  A Tancredo candidacy would surely split the conservative vote, and send Hickenlooper a few blocks down the street in an electoral landslide.

The Republicans are wasting no time in attacking Tancredo.  State GOP Chair Dick Wadhams asked whether Tancredo would still favor impeaching President Obama or bombing Mecca if he were to become Governor.  Tancredo responded not with a “I cannot believe that you would misrepresent my record” statement, but rather with a “Well, you liked it before I ran for Governor” statement.

Considering that the Rocky Mountain states were to be fertile ground for Republican gains, this situation combined with the fact that the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada is now tanking should begin to temper enthusiastic predictions of a Democratic armageddon this year.  Break out your popcorn; it is going to be a fun ride.

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