Forest health, fire risks and wood utilization will be on the agenda at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 as top state and federal officials hold a forest health summit meeting. This image by Derek Weidensee shows an area in Montana where a fire burned through stands of mature lodgepole pines, while an area cut previously for regeneration apparently withstood the blaze relatively unscathed.
Top state and national officials, including Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, Gov. Bill Ritter and Senator Mark Udall, will gather at the Keystone Conference Center Nov. 15 for the Governor’s Bark Beetle Summit in a public meeting that hasn’t received much publicity.
Governor-elect John Hickenlooper has also been invited.
“Scott’s success in selling paper will help Colorado effectively and efficiently move the large amount of bark beetle lumber from the forest and into the marketplace, creating tons of jobs and making lots of money,” Hickenlooper said. “This is a unique opportunity to resolve Colorado’s forest health and budget issues.”
“Scott will be a wonderful addition to our paper team, focusing particularly on the use of beetle kill in paper production,” Hickenlooper said. “We hired him based on his skills, personal drive and love for ‘That’s what she said’ jokes.”
Firefighters have been in a see-saw battle with the northern Colorado blaze, extending their lines along the eastern flank but losing ground on the west and north sides as flames burn through a dry forest thick with trees killed by bark beetles.
Investigators said lightning triggered the fire, which is about 15 miles west of Fort Collins and 60 miles northwest of Denver.
The fire is burning on land owned by private parties and the U.S. Forest Service. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who oversees the Forest Service, is scheduled to meet with fire managers on Saturday.
A 30-acre blaze near Lake George in Park County was 50 percent contained. It started Wednesday and was also caused by lightning.
Separately, a fire believed to have been caused by lightning destroyed a house four miles outside Rollinsville on Friday. Gilpin County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cherokee Blake said no one was hurt.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order Thursday banning open burning and the private use of fireworks throughout Colorado.
"I went to dinner at 6 o'clock and kept thinking 'This is really going to work,' " Tancredo said in an interview with The Denver Post on Thursday. "And of course it didn't. I'm content in the fact that it's part of God's plan. I just wish he wouldn't tease me so much."
I have a suggestion for your future, Mister Congressman...
As I said not long ago, [10th comment] I'm glad I can still laugh about this.
Somebody has found what they consider to be a perfect metaphor for Colorado's 2010 Gubernatorial election - Monty Python's "Quest for the Holy Grail."
Dan Maes as the Black Night is believable but I'm having trouble with Tom Tancredo as King Arthur. And this portrayal incorrectly casts the battle as 'mano a mano' but Tancredo had the might of the state GOP establishment pulling ropes and levers for him. Nonetheless, quite humorous.
If we agree to "call it a draw" between the Liberty Movement and Republican Establishment I think I could live with a Tancredo vote on my conscience. On to round two!
The Refugee took the window of opportunity between rides in a crowded silver tube to cast his 2010 ballot. All of the decisions were easy, except for the governor's contest.
At the final moment of truth, with a patina of sweat across his brow, knowing that he may be forever ridiculed on ThreeSources and branded with a scarlet 'T', he furtively glanced over his shoulder to avoid on-lookers and pulled the methaphorical lever for Tancredo. Yes, he feels soiled. But it's done and can't be taken back.
In the end, he realized that a vote for Maes was merely a vote for respecting the process. Maes has no shot - zero - and a vote for him is a vote for Hickenlooper. Governor Hickenlooper will appoint another generation of liberal judges and facilitate Democratically gerrymandered districts to assure at least another decade of liberal Democrat representation in Congress for what is fundamentally a center-right state. A Governor Tancredo might prove embarassing at times, but there are worse outcomes than a deadlocked executive vs. legislative session. Getting nothing done would be a step in the right direction. Tancredo will at least appoint decent judges (presumably) and prevent the worst of the gerrymandering.
So, process be damned. But if you'll excuse him, The Refugee now needs to go take a shower.
Denver Mayor's "I don't want to be Governor" Moment
(Or as my brother-in-law suggested, "I'm too sexy for this job.")
Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.
I realize that all of you outta-staters must get pretty bored with the detailed coverage we've been giving the Colorado governor's race. I appreciate the effort it must take to have any interest whatsoever. But this time, this story, will be worth it - trust me. Not since candidate Obama was caught on tape telling a sympathetic audience that rural Pennysylvania voters "bitterly cling to their guns and religion" have I seen such a self-inflicted smoking gun of political idiocy. And to make it that much better, this time we have video.
For those who don't have time to watch at the moment (and because I'm such a sadistic bastard I want this Democrat's words repeated as many times as possible) here is the money quote:
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper: "I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming. Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico."
I can hear his poll numbers crashing in every non-metro precinct in the state. If ours was a 2-party race between fully supported candidates of the 2 major parties I'd be dancing a jig right now. Alas.
"Tell that hypocritical, draft dodging, TARP voting, pot endorsing, thug to get out of the race and let the people's choice win this thing for real conservatives!"
A Dan Maes supporter claims to have been the conduit for up to three different overtures of a deal, on behalf of the Tancredo campaign, for Maes to withdraw from the governor's race. The supporter characterizes the offers as "at their core illegal."
Over the past three weeks I have approached or been approached by many people regarding making a deal with the Tancredo campaign. I spoke to a well-known blogger, two Metro-Denver area GOP county chairs, two senior operatives for Tom Tancredo, a former senior officer of the state GOP, and directly with Tom Tancredo. In three of the discussion threads, deals were conveyed from an un-known source that were at their core illegal: Dan Maes was to be offered a bunch of money in a 501c)4 non-profit foundation, in exchange for getting out of the race - with the money coming from some un-named wealthy donor. Several of the people who conveyed the offers to me commented that they found the offer repulsive but felt it their duty to pass the offer along. In each instance, I did my best to repeat the deal offered, as carefully as I could state the deal, directly to Dan Maes. In each case, he never batted an eye and, after making sure he understood the deal, rejected the deal outright.
The obvious question is, "What did Tom Tancredo know and when did he know it?"
The other obvious conclusion is that if this story becomes state-wide news then "Tom Tancredo Can't Win."
(For remainder of Facebook post click 'continue reading.')
I proposed instead a poll to all of them: the poll was to be only of Assembly delegates or GOP primary voters, and it would ask them what they wanted Dan and Tom to do. Dan's body language was that the only deal he would accept was one clearly selected by the voters who asked him to be where he is today - as the Nominee of his Party. Dan was willing to accept the outcome of such a poll - specifically targeted to the audience that voted him in. Tom was not willing to accept the outcome of the poll, rather Tom and his emissaries pointed to the media-touted and in my view generally rigged polls which include Dem's, independents and R's in proportions not indicative of the actual voter turnout in a wave-Republican year.
When the last deal fell through last night, Dan's response was priceless, and I copy it here exactly as he emailed to me:
"Here is my offer to them:
Tell that hypocritical, draft dodging, TARP voting, pot endorsing, thug to get out of the race and let the people’s choice win this thing for real conservatives!"
In all my dealings with Dan Maes he has never come close to taking the bait on anything immoral or illegal. A deal similar to "Musings on Water" is not interesting to him and if all he was after was money or a job he would have taken one of these deals.
I mailed in my ballot this morning - For DAN MAES for Governor! I hope you will too.
PS: I agree with about 90% of what Ross wrote at www.rossputin.com although he presents it selectively to emphasize what he wants to emphasize (it's his blog and he can do what he will there). He confirms that someone (not Tancredo, but the best way to find them is to talk to someone close to Tom) was conveying the idea to several people that the best deal to get Maes out of the race was to offer him employment at a privately funded Commission. Well - that is what I said. You could call it a foundation but it is someone out there offering a deal "of value" to Maes. Maes was willing to do a deal that would involve voter feedback driving the decision and Tancredo couldn't accept that. Maes has abided by the will of the voters expressed in 4 separate events (the caucus, the county assembly, the state convention, and the primary). Tom Tancredo does not trust the voters enough to place his future in the hands of the voters. He short-circuited the process to get a small party to put him on the ballot and didn't even use their assembly process to do so - rather he bought off their Executive committee to make the deal happen after their voters had picked a different candidate. Tom doesn't trust the voters who pay attention, rather he wants the general election voters to decide based on populist pleas and red-meat shoveled off the back of the campaign wagon in the last month of the election cycle. Dan Maes might be flawed in many ways, but he trusted the voters to decide his fate.
Joseph G Harrington
Highlands Ranch, Douglas County Colorado
Less than two weeks ago, Tancredo earned 35% of the vote to Hickenlooper's 43% and Maes' 16%. That shifted the race from Solid Democrat to Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Now the race moves to a Toss-Up.
I'd be far more comfortable with a Tancredo administration than Hickenlooper's. I just don't think I can bring myself to vote for him. Still sticking with the 12 percenters.
Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into, Tom!
Heard the first anti-Tancredo ad on radio this morning, paid for by "Our Community Votes" - an issue advocacy group that looks like an ACORN fragment, judging by the rhetoric on its website.
"There's a new political party in this year's election. The American Constitution Party. Its candidates, Tom Tancredo and Doug Aden, are too extreme to represent us. Both want to make English the official language of the United States, which threatens our diverse culture, and eliminate congressional pensions, which would make it harder for people who want to serve in congress as a career."
I paraphrased from memory but this was the gist of the message. Yes, I know I'm a weirdo but those particular criticisms just make me like these two guys more. If they wanted to expose these guys' bad ideas they should have talked about Tancredo getting in the race out of last minute spite or Aden's advocacy of new international trade tariffs to "keep jobs in the US." [I heard him say this at Friday's Longmont Chamber forum.] But it appears they don't actually want to discourage voting for them. Fort Collins Coloradoan:
But the content of the ad seems designed to promote Aden's candidacy with conservative voters who might cast ballots for him rather than Republican Party nominee Cory Gardner.
Kyle Saunders, a political scientist at Colorado State University, said the ad by a Democratic-affiliated group aimed at boosting Aden was "not at all surprising."
"Every vote Aden gets from a disenchanted or confused Republican voter is very likely a vote that is taken away from Gardner," he said.
Fair enough, but why mention Tancredo? Because Tancredo has wide name recognition and Doug Aden is an insect, politically speaking. Link them together and Aden's vote count goes up by a factor of ten. And their mention of the American Constitution Party? Nobody had heard of them either until Tom and his antics made them front page news. All of this is calculated to siphon support from the GOP. Tom Tancredo must be very, very proud of himself.
Rep Tom Tancredo (RACP, White) just called to invite me to a rally. He told me how bad Democrats have been for business (then why are you helping elect one?) and ended by saying "I'll make Colorado a welcome place for business and an unwelcome place for illegal aliens."
Hickenlooper: Tancredo a "lifetime politician" for agreeing with me
That's essentially what Denver Mayor and Democrat candidate for governor John Hickenloopersaid of the minor party spoiler candidate, Tom Tancredo recently.
Asked whether it looked to him like American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo was trying to move toward the middle now that he seems to be running ahead of Republican nominee Dan Maes, he noted that Tancredo has indeed changed his tune on the three tax-cutting measures on the ballot.
“He was in favor of all three, but now he seems to be rethinking that, which reveals him as a lifetime politician. I’ve been in business most of my life and I’ve been opposed to all three of those from the beginning,” he said.
Logic: exit stage left.
Hickenlooper continued his circular logic with this:
In the long-term, he said the answer to transportation funding is the same as the answer to all other state funding — creating a stronger business environment in Colorado. “We need to have a more pro-business attitude all across the state,” he said.
Proving that this is mere feel-good campaign rhetoric, since the Colorado Union of Taxpayer's open letter regarding those three tax-cutting measures Hickenlooper opposed "from the beginning" says that this is exactly what they aim to do.
- By reducing the rate of growth of tax rates, we will create conditions for economic expansion in Colorado.
- Expanding the economy will create more jobs
- Charter schools will also benefit from expanding Colorado’s economy.
- Expanding Colorado’s economy will also benefit fire protection districts and law enforcement agencies.
Republican candidate for CO governor Dan Maes took some heat in early August for suggesting that statist influences at the United Nations are inserting themselves into state and municipal governments through an organization called ICLEI. I'll admit that if you've never heard of these self-important busybodies the whole idea can sound a bit conspiratorial. Even our own jk joked "See the bikes all come in black helicopters..."
Yet today, from the "just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get me" department, we have the White House's Ocean Policy Initiative.
What the administration in effect is putting in place is an alternative power structure that circumvents existing state and local decision-making bodies and replaces them with made-in-Washington zoning. All of this is taking place without the consent of Congress, without the consent of the governors, and, most important of all, without the consent of the governed.
Suddenly the idea that similar efforts to influence local decision-making by the U.N. might "threaten our personal freedoms" doesn't seem like such a crackpot remark. JK commented "Let's pick smarter fights than this, boys." I'll counter with, "Someone has to start connecting the dots for voters sooner or later. Let's hope that when they do it isn't too late to get our liberty back using the ballot box."
I thought this Eric guy made some pretty good points:
Tom Tancredo is not a legitimate candidate for a 3rd party. He's a Republican. The primary is over.
How can Tom Tancredo sleep at night after violating his own advice NOT to go third party?
Dan Maes is the victim of character assassination by the Denver Post.
The absence of 1099's for Dan Maes from the KBI doesn't prove that Maes is lying.
To put the headline in context, the full statement by Brauchler was as follows:
"So listen, I get what you're sayin' Eric. I disagree with what he did. I think it's hurtful to the conservative movement. I think it's gonna put someone in office I completely disagree with. I think Tom's lost his freakin' mind. But how does that translate into, 'He should not have a voice on the stage if voters are gonna have the choice between these different candidates?"
I try to help my friends out. Brother br is on the road and suggests a David Harsanyi column. A David Harsanyi column whacking Rep. Tom Tancredo (R - White). I'd better post:
Approximately 70 percent of citizens are concerned about a lack of border control, but very few share -- as former Republican Majority leader and Tea Party activist Dick Armey appropriately described -- Tancredo's "harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude on the immigration issue."
Stemming from this all-inclusive fear of illegal aliens, Tancredo has taken protectionist and isolationist positions -- voting against a number of free-trade agreements in Congress, for instance -- that are antithetical to the tenets of fiscal conservatism.
My pal Harsanyi is still too harsh on Dan Maes, but a Tancredo whack is always appreciated.
Dan Maes 'Little Surprise' Quip Makes NRO Headline
What a pleasure it was to find a national reference to Colorado's gubernatorial race that has something positive to say about the Republican nominee, Dan Maes. On its Battle '10 blog NRO's Michael Sandoval tells us that Dan promised a "little surprise" on Thursday (today.)
I'll avoid temptation and not excerpt the most exciting speculation that Sandoval engages in for fear of creating expectations. You'll have to read for yourself.
Here's another possibility: Some evidence to corroborate his believable but ridiculed KBI story would be helpful.
Over police work, Frieda Poundstone and "overstated" business success.
As a political outsider who is being shunned by the party, Dan doesn't have access to the same contribution channels that Scott McInnis would have (or that Tom Tancredo does.) Nor is he treated well by established media. So he has to rely on personal appearances, the internet, and bloggers, to get his message out. Like this.
Last week I linked a story explaining how Tom Tancredo's third-party challenge to Dan Maes violates state law. Today a pair of apparent Maes supporters filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Tancredo from the ballot.
"Our attorneys have reviewed the recent complaint by the disgruntled Maes voters related to this certification and are confident that the courts will find no grounds on which to overturn the decision by the one individual with authority to make such decisions," said Bay Buchanan, Tancredo's campaign manager.
Yes, thatBay Buchanan. But those filing the lawsuit are quite a bit more objective in their statements. From a radio interview [last third of clip] on 630 KHOW this afternoon, plaintiff Joe Harrington said,
"The US Supreme Court held in a case in the past (...) in a case called 'Storer' that the general election ballot is reserved for major struggles; it is not a forum for continuing interparty feuds. The disaffiliation statute protects the direct primary process by refusing to recognize independent candidates who do not make early plans to leave the party and to take the alternative course to the ballot. It works against independent candidacies prompted by short-range political goals, pique, or personal quarrels.It is also a substantial barrier to a party fielding an independent candidate to capture and bleed off votes in a general election that might well go to another party."
Harrington closed by saying, "These aren't real complicated rules but, you know, he's got to follow the rules the same way that illegal immigrants have to."
Al Maurer of The Constitutionalist Today makes an analogy between the race for Colorado's next governor and a trio of ponderosa pines in his rural backyard. Two trees on the other side of his fence were infested with pine bark beetles. He feared that the beetles might infest a tree of his, "which was bigger, straighter, older and yet stronger than the two infected trees" so he cut them down. But it was too late and his tree was also infested with beetles.
Unless you live in Black Forest like I do, why should you care about my tree? Because the story is a fitting analogy for this year’s Colorado governor’s race.
The two trees on the other side of the fence are Tancredo and Hickenlooper. Dan Maes is our tree. We in the Liberty movement and the Republican Party didn’t plant him or grow him. We listened to his message and because it is like ours, we bought into him and his candidacy. It was our support rather than his brilliance as a politician and campaigner that brought victory at the state assembly and the primary election. He’s not the most beautiful or strongest tree in the forest, but he’s our tree. And he’s a whole lot better than those two infected trees on the other side of the fence.
He’s taken some hits this week. The beetles that are the establishment press, the pundits, and the self-appointed power brokers are focused on destroying him. When they’re done with him (or their ratings start to decline), they’ll move on to the next target. Abandoning him will not save the other candidates on the ticket—quite the contrary, it will embolden these insects to attack someone else.
No, We the People and the new alternative media are the insecticide. You see, the beetles are not all-powerful. Not all of the beetles carry the fungus that destroys the tree. Strong trees can survive and even thrive if assisted. The insecticide I used was pretty old; I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Our insecticide is old too—it dates from 1776.
Dan said yesterday that he is in it to win it. Always has been.
In an editorial posted 24 hours prior to the ballot certification deadline Denver's newspaper said that Colorado voters "deserve a credible Republican choice" for governor. (I'd be glad to know that the Post's editorial board is so concerned about a quality Republican candidate if I believed that they were not irretrievably invested in Democrat, statist, ideals.)
The Post's parting thought is this:
Coloradans deserve better than what we have now, and would benefit greatly from a legitimate race involving both major parties.
This is where I agree with them. What do Coloradans have now? A Democrat governor and a Democrat-controlled legislature who have conspired to raise taxes and fees on state citizens and their businesses, contributing to a virtually stagnant job market.
Another possibly unintentional admission by this statement is that ours is a two-party political system. Minor parties exist but our office holders are chosen by a party primary vetting process and a general election to choose from between the two competing sets of ideas and visions of the major party nominees.
"The issues facing Colorado are important, and voters deserve a legitimate gubernatorial race and debate between credible candidates — not a sideshow," says the Post - disengenuously, since their newspaper has played a large role in creating the sideshow. (The paper elevated Maes' "oh, by the way" bicycle program comments into a major issue story and bragged in the editorial that their reporter pushed the Kansas police work issue that supposedly led to all the establishment GOP defections. And yet, ColoradoPols.com says "It's not a new story--inferences about Maes' time as a cop in Liberal, Kansas 25 years ago, a job from which he was fired, have been widely circulated. (...) But it seems to be the pretext that Colorado GOP kingpins were looking for.")
Alright then, Post. let's debate the issues. You have the ball.
Instead the Post continues to disparage the Republican candidate with relentless ad-hominem:
"Disgraced." Not "credible." Paid a "huge" fine. $300 cash donation "violated state law." And finally, "Maes apparently lied" about doing undercover police work in Kansas - a self-serving characterization if there ever was one.
My wife believes I may be so invested in Maes candidacy that I can't be objective in evaluating him. This is certainly possible, and I've asked myself the same question over the past week. But my investment thus far is less than $100 and ten hours at the State Assembly, and a few fundraisers/speaking events. (Okay, and some blogging.) But isn't it possible that the anti-Maes voices are invested as well? From the Post editorial: "We've questioned Maes' credibility for two months and said he wasn't fit to serve as governor." No reason to change their minds now, I suppose. Even if, as Colorado Pols purports, "After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there's very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches." Isn't there a story here? Isn't it news when the chairman of one of the state's two major parties declares "I am very disappointed in the decision by [my party's nominee] to continue his candidacy for governor." Isn't there a story here? Particularly when, as Colorado Pols asks,"And for all the angst about Maes among GOP leadership, why don't the voters share it?"
Unfortunately for those of us interested in the truth, the Post and the GOP establishment are both deathly afraid of the same threat: voters thinking for themselves.
Maes: “After speaking with, and hearing from, numerous Coloradans – from former Senators to family farmers – I’ve determined that I cannot turn my back on the 200,000 voters who nominated me to run for this office,” said Maes. “During this time of deliberation, I listened equally to those who wanted me in this race and those who did not, and after internalizing that advice, I’m proud to say I’m in it to win it."
Tancredo: “It doesn’t matter what Dan Maes does or what the Republicans do,” Tancredo told The Post. “I don’t care if they bring back Abraham Lincoln to run. From this moment on, I’m never going to answer this question again. I’m here to stay.
“I have done more than any other candidate to try and correct the problems in the Republican party but they have said no.
“I no longer consider Dan Maes a serious candidate. He is now the third-party candidate.”
So let's get this straight: 200,000 Colorado Republicans said that Dan Maes is the party's nominee, and one ex-Republican says he's "now the third-party candidate?" Which of these men is delusional?
Dan Maes has now lost the support of not only of the state GOP luminaries/establishment, but of the Tea Party and 9/12 groups that got him through the primaries. With those losses, he has become unelectable. But even if he were elected, could he govern? Probably not. It's time to go, Dan.
"I'm concerned about the revelations. I'm withdrawing my endorsement," said Brown, referring to a Denver Post story today that Maes embellished details about his law enforcement background. "I'm beginning to find that (Maes') explanations are not adequate."
"Revelations?" I'm not surprised that the Denver Post is calling retired city managers and chiefs of police in another state to investigate the nature of "undercover" work that Dan Maes may have done as a Kansas cop twenty-five years ago, but I am a little surprised that a veteran politician would balk over such a triviality.
On Dan Maes Facebook page someone said that "Hank Brown is an old crony of Tom Tancredo." I replied,
I don't know about Brown being a Tancredo crony but he is definitely an "establishment" Republican. Dick Armey* said a mouthful when he warned, "The [TEA Party] movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is ...aiming for a hostile takeover." It seems to me that many GOP insiders are fighting back, slinging mud, and trying to maintain their stranglehold on the Colorado Republican Party. This is sad. If true it means they'd rather be in control than win the election.
First of all, we don't buy that the "9/12" groups--who, mind you, are not the 'Tea Party' and subject to their own influences--are spontaneously rising up against Maes, any more than we think Hank Brown didn't know all about Maes when he endorsed him. After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there's very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches.
Word is the GOP Kingmakers want to replace Maes with their 2006 loser, Bob Beauprez.
Colorado Revised Statute 1-4-1304 to be exact. Kyle Getchey reports in The Constitutionalist Today that Colorado Law and the American Constitution Party's own bylaws require that the party's nominees be registered members of the party no later than January 1, 2010.
So, who will reign in this invalid candidacy?
Under Article 8, "the chairman shall enforce the observation of the bylaws and rules of the ACP." But obviously this isn't happening. So, if the ACP's Western States Area Chairman Frank Fluckiger (no joke) will not enforce the principled party's bylaws, then maybe some nice Republican should mount a legal challenge. Perhaps this distinguished member of the GOP could pursue action against the ACP, Tancredo, and Fluckiger, all three. That could make for good sport.
With a byline dated today (mountain daylight time) this story looks like it might have legs. But hurry, the ballot printing deadline is Friday!
Many times over the past weeks since Dan Maes won the Colorado gubernatorial primary I have searched for a copy of the video showing Tom Tancredo telling TEA Partiers, "Whatever you do, stay with the GOP. Don't form a third party." This is significant, of course, because bolting for a third party is exactly what the GOP stalwart has done, supposedly to prevent leftist Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper from winning the election. Ironically, polls have shown that Maes has an excellent chance to defeat Hickenlooper head-to-head in a 2-way race. (Particularly if the GOP establishment would stop hounding the man at every opportunity.) I still haven't found that video but I did finally find Tom's open letter to Tea Party Patriots.
Some patriots are tempted to launch a third political party or back one of the existing small parties that never attract more than one or two percent of the vote in state races. I strongly believe that such a course is suicidal and would only result in splitting the conservative vote and guaranteeing the re-election of liberals and socialists.
I believe the Republican Party is the natural home of conservatives and that the road back to constitutional government lies in taking control of the Republican Party from top to bottom, from county committee to the statehouse and all the way to Washington, D.C.
Yes, over the last decade, many individuals left the Republican Party because George Bush led the national party to abandon its principles and support several big government programs. But leaving the party is not the answer. Fighting for your principles and reshaping the party is the answer.
Throughout our nation’s history, third parties have never succeeded in taking power and running the government. They have sometimes succeeded in pushing a major party in a new direction, but just as often, they succeeded only in electing the more liberal candidate after many conservatives waste their votes on a third party candidate. Remember 1992? Ross Perot never had a chance to be president, but he did help elect Bill Clinton.
We know that our country faces real dangers – from Radical Islam abroad and from multiculturalism and the Marxist agenda at home. We also know politics is not a game, that the choices we make today affect our future for generations to come. Our children’s and grandchildren’s liberties are at risk as never before.
I hope you will join me in the Republican precinct caucuses in March, the county assemblies in April and then at the state convention in May. Besides supporting candidates who support the Contract with Colorado, help me lay the foundation for a generation of conservative leaders.
Well Tom, we did that. Dan Maes was a close second at the March caucus. He won the top spot at the state convention. And, most recently, he won the statewide party primary. And what have you done? You have joined "one of the existing small parties that never attract more than one or two percent of the vote in state races" and unless you somehow cajole Dan into quitting the race he is so completely invested in you likley will succeed "only in electing the more liberal candidate after many conservatives waste their votes on a third party candidate."
Our friend David [Harsanyi] opines after citing a new Rasmussen poll showing all CO governor candidates losing support over the past few weeks but most notably the self-important Tom Tancredo's support is in single digits when poll respondents are asked for not just their preference, but which way they really expect to vote. David says-
And when it’s all said and done, Tancredo’s vanity entry into gubernatorial politics will expire in the same state it existed, instilled with a false sense of importance.
That's where the former congressman is headed according to Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli.
"Tancredo has lost the support of the Republican Party," local pollster extraordinaire Floyd Ciruli told me. "The only question is when he becomes a pariah."
This from a Vincent Carroll column that tries to shine some light into one of Tancredo's ear holes, such that perhaps he can see for himself what is going on.
In the Republican-heavy Ipsos Public Affairs polling sample, only 10 percent of respondents identified immigration as one of the "biggest problems" facing Colorado — not even the biggest problem, mind you — and yet Tancredo is running on little else.
"I couldn't stand by and watch the Republican establishment just hand over the state to Obama's hand-picked Democrat candidate," Tancredo tells his supporters.
So, rather than stand by, Tancredo has resolved to guarantee the outcome he supposedly dreads.
I recently endorsed, tongue in cheek, Mayor Hickenlooper for Governor because of his stealthy promise to "create jobs and cut government spending." And why do we want to cut government spending? There are many reasons but a big one is to reduce the tax burden on private (job-creating) industry. The problem being that when said tax burden reaches a certain weight most businesses can no longer support it. They go out of business, hunker down in survival mode, or potential new businesses are never started. The idea of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party movement is that America has already reached, and is surpassing, that threshold:
But many, maybe most, Democrats, including gubernatorial candidate Mayor John Hickenlooper, have an alternate view: Taxes couldn't possibly be made any lower than they are now:
In a web version of Democrat candidate John Hickenlooper's first campaign ad for Colorado governor he apparently said, "Colorado needs a governor who brings people together to create jobs and cut government spending." Go Hick! You're the man!
I have to admit I missed the "cut spending" message on my first viewing, but those lefties over at Open Left sure didn't.
Because Republicans are likely to split the vote in this three-way race featuring GOP nominee Dan Maes and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo, this gubernatorial race is all but a coronation for Hickenlooper, which means he could be using the free pass to do what Colorado Democrats in the recent past have been doing to great electoral and public policy success - namely, countering the right's insidious "cut government spending" mantra with a more constructive vision. But instead, Hickenlooper's ad, while certainly cute in its construction, is actually using the free pass to reiterate the Republicans' central (and most legitimately dangerous) argument about what Colorado's fundamental challenge really is.
So why is Hick touting spending cuts? Could he actually believe that Republicans are right? Get outta town! [And here's where I admit my endorsement of him is sarcastic.] Is it because of the reverberating popular theme of public thrift kept alive by the 25% of us who are TEA Partiers? Maybe, if he thinks it will be a close contest with the Republican. But Open Left says "this gubernatorial race is all but a coronation for Hickenlooper." Apparently Hickenlooper isn't so sanguine.
So Harsanyi thinks conservatives should be more frightened of a Maes win than Hickenlooper's? I ask you David, which self-proclaimed spending cutter would you rather have? I'll take the guy who knows what it's like to scramble to pay his mortgage. I'll take Maes.
The last libertarian in conventional media executes a brutal, prison yard shanking of Tea Party and ThreeSources's darling Dan Maes.
There's no crime in the average guy, the political neophyte, the Common Man, running for political office. I wish more people would. But too many Colorado conservatives and activists have tied their political future to the silly belief that any everyman candidate is superior to any establishment one.
No, it's not because Maes hit up an 80-something woman for 300 bucks (cash!) to help pay his mortgage. You know, I get that. No one forced her, right? Nor is it because he finagled tens of thousands in gas money through his campaign contributions. I'm actually kind of impressed.
And it's not that bicycle enthusiasts aren't sort of creepy. They are. And it's not that the United Nations isn't a hive of petty tyrants. It is. And, in our hearts, we all know that John Hickenlooper, if he could get away with it, would make Denver a signatory on a One World Commie Bike Plot.
It's just that responsible people generally understand those kinds of thoughts should be reserved for internal dialogue.
With Colorado's primary election day tomorrow the left-leaning pollster Public Policy Polling today released a new poll on the senate and governor's races. Bennet's 6-point lead over Romanoff is slightly more than the 4.6% margin of error for the Democratic poll, but the GOP races are both closer than the 3.5% theoretical uncertainty.
Among 767 "likely Republican primary voters" Norton leads Buck 45-43 (12 percent undecided) ((still?)) and McInnis leads Maes 41-40. The only poll that's going to settle these races is the one that starts to be tallied tomorrow at 7pm.
But here's something else I found interesting in the questions asked only of Republicans.
"Do you support or oppose the goals of the 'Tea Party' movement?"
Support - 78%
Oppose - 9%
"Do you personally identify as a member of the 'Tea Party' movement?"
Yes - 35%
No - 47%
So while one-third of us are active anti-tax and spenders, three-quarters of Republicans support our cause. Bully!
(Also curious why they didn't poll those questions of the Dems.)
Okay, he's my Gubernatorialguy! I pimped for him on these pages! I gave money! I mailed in my ballot yesterday with his oval completely filled!
This does not really strike me as good politics in Colorado:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."
"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.
Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."
"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.
See the bikes all come in black helicopters... I guess he wasn't planning on carrying Boulder County anyway, but this comes against the backdrop of Lance Armstrong and Governor Ritter announcing a new Colorado Stage race -- and all heading out afterward on a bike ride.
I'm thinking this round may have gone to the Democrats...
Dear blog brother JK just cautioned, vis-a-vis the Colorado candidacies of Ken Buck and Dan Maes-
But My Pragmatic Heart (spleen at least) is becoming more concerned that our rush to put forward non-professional candidates might have us nominating a lot of wolf-fodder to wolf-like, professional, Democratic candidates in the fall.
I replied that "Voters are tired of status-quo Republicans. There needs to be a difference between them and the Dems." But someone else long ago said this with greater power and eloquence.
"Just get up off the ground, that's all I ask. Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. Take a look at this country through her eyes if you really want to see something. And you won't just see scenery; you'll see the whole parade of what Man's carved out for himself, after centuries of fighting. Fighting for something better than just jungle law, fighting so's he can stand on his own two feet, free and decent, like he was created, no matter what his race, color, or creed. That's what you'd see. There's no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that's what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we'd better get those boys' camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it's not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don't get lost once they come to light. They're right here; you just have to see them again!" - Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
As Smith also said, "EITHER I'M DEAD RIGHT OR I'M CRAZY."
Former Congressman — and perhaps former Republican — Tom Tancredo is considering running for Colorado governor as an unaffiliated or a third-party candidate.
"I'm not ruling it out," he said Wednesday. "I have a lot of things going on. I'm trying to figure out legal issues."
He added, "I will have more (to say) in the next 24 hours."
Tancredo cannot appear on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate because he hasn't been a registered unaffiliated long enough, said Rich Coolidge, spokesman for the Colorado secretary of state's office.
UPDATE: Tancredo tells Maes and McInnis to bow out or he's in!
If they don’t, he said he will run for governor as an American Constitution Candidate, a move likely to split the Republican Party in November’s general election.
“There’s nothing left to split. The reality is that with the two candidates we have, we will lose the general election,” Tancredo said in an interview.
The third Harsanyi post of the day here on ThreeSources...
A week ago David wrote a nice expose on the "kingmakers" in Colorado GOP politics. [Nobody ever mentions any names but the ones that come to my mind are Bill Armstrong, maybe Coors and Monfort? Anybody?]
Republicans around the country are energized by a diverse group of candidates from a variety of backgrounds: from youthful political veterans like Marco Rubio in Florida to political neophytes like former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in California, the establishment and the grass roots have often found palatable choices ready for an ideological debate.
Yet, in Colorado, the tin-earned Republican kingmakers dampen enthusiasm with their stale picks and then hire the same campaign staffs to lose one election after the next. One day, perhaps these guys will realize that name recognition isn't very important if no one likes your name.
This came to a head when the GOP establishment candidate Scott McInnis "Blew a tire" and left a clear path for TPD Dan Maes. But for some reason Dave doesn't like him either. Why? "Trust me" he seems to be saying.
What else can they do? They're stuck with Dan Maes. No credible candidate will expend the energy to compete in a primary against the establishment.
But Maes will be unacceptable to business donors, to national donors, and he will be unacceptable to most voters — not because he's an insurgent or because he has wild ideas, but because he is strikingly unprepared for the role of governor. It won't take long before this fact becomes apparent to anyone who watches a debate.
While the prevailing national anxiety about Washington might save some flawed Republican candidates, it's unlikely to happen in the governor's race constituted as is.
I don't get it. Call me an optimist. Call me Pollyana. I think the talking heads in this town give way to much credit to Hickenlooper "The Invincible" and way too little to TEA Party fever. I also think, after much pondering, that all this "Dan can't win" talk is actually helpful coming from the establishment. It helps to lower expectations. I've heard these guys bellyache day after day and I still don't cringe at the thought of Maes and Hick standing side by side and asking voters to choose between a no-nonsense "nobody" and the aw-shucks darling of the Downtown Denver illuminati. Cross over that 470 beltway and your more likely to find people asking, Hicken-what-er? (In El Paso County they call him "Sanctuary City Johnny.")
As a Maes supporter before, during and after the State Assembly I shed no tears for Congressman McInnis. The news is consistent with my gut feeling about the man. I do worry, however, that Dan Maes loses more credibility with each day that passes before his promised revelation [12:20-23:40] that was supposed to take him off the defensive on alleged campaign finance rule violations.
"This has not been resolved. It's still being discussed, and we're just going to ask everyone to be patient and let the truth come out. (...) I ask everybody, be patient. 24 to 48 hours this thing's going to work itself out, the truth will be revealed, and I'm not afraid to admit - we made a couple, you know, clerical errors. We made simple mistakes that can really add up in this world and I think people will see that and they'll go, OK, we see that and we understand this happened and now let's get back to business as usual and get back on course."
Don Johnson at People's Press Collective is breathlessly annointing Democrat John Hickenlooper "Governor-elect" to which I say, keep your britches on Don. You [Don] give Dan Maes so little credit you've probably never met him. I have, and his honesty and directness won my support. Make Dan the nominee and put the party muscle behind him (like Hick will have) and watch the man work. I've seen him several times now, perused his campaign calendar, and I think the man is a Hoss.
UPDATE (15:00 MDT): How does JK say it exactly ... Mea Maxima Culpa?
Dan issued a press release explaining the campaign finance fines 2 days ago. [Facebook login required for link.] All emphasis mine.
Maes Campaign Finance Matter Closed - No Misuse of Funds Occurred.
Evergreen, CO- July 12, 2010 - On May 5th 2010 Grand Junction resident Christopher Klitzke, with his attorney Erik Groves also of Grand Junction, filed a citizens complaint alleging that Dan Maes, Republican Designee for Governor in Colorado, had violated campaign finance guidelines. The complaint made allegations that would result in approximately $25,000.00 in fines for various alleged violations. After Maes had agreed to not contest the matter on July 2, 2010 and pay the fine Groves re-approached Maes' attorney, Steve Jones, with a proposal to reduce the fine amount. After days of negotiating, the matter was closed today. Maes agreed to a lower amount of $17,500.00 reflecting fines for four violations. The fine was assessed for failing to disclose expenditures of over $20.00 in a timely manner though no specific finance laws dictate what timely is. It also included failure to properly record the occupation of 9 contributors and incorrectly listing a non-monetary (in kind) contribution as corporate instead of personal. Allegations of improper payments to Dan Maes by the campaign account proved untrue.
"Our campaign grew very quickly and the demands on it exceeded the resources we had for professional accounting staff. After our contract accountant left our campaign abruptly after our Q4 2009 report was due, we were left to use an inexperienced volunteer to complete the report. We made some clerical mistakes that we regret", stated Maes. "Our campaign must take responsibility for these mistakes. We have taken steps to insure these mistakes do not happen again. It is important that our supporters and other Colorado voters understand that there were no illegal contributions nor expenditures and every reimbursement made by the campaign to Dan Maes was a completely legal and appropriate reimbursement of resources loaned to the campaign throughout 2009," Maes continued. “Do the math, 80,000 miles over 16 months at a combination of .555 and.505/mile equals over $40,000.00. Many people do not understand the work load and travel involved in a statewide campaign.”
The release concludes with this, my favorite part:
"It is, however, obvious that this complaint was a politically motivated assault on our campaign and the grass roots voters, with the goal to drain our human and financial resources just as the primary season begins. It is a distraction from the serious issues facing the state of Colorado," Maes added. "We are ready to move forward and get to the real issues facing Colorado voters, and especially registered Republicans who deserve a debate between my Republican opponent and me. To date he has refused such a debate. The primary voters deserve to know the differences between us and he is denying them that privilege." Maes concluded.
Another example of Dan's willingness to tell it like it is in plain English. Imagine a governor with this quality. Actually, you don't have to imagine it. His name is Chris Christie.
"Republicans put TEA Party Activist Dan Maes on Top of Their Primary Ballot
That's the way Fox News reported Colorado's GOP Convention vote today. I have the vote totals below and yes, Lynn Bartels did beat me to press with this one, but she only gives the share of the vote for each candidate, not the total votes. In my defense, I conserved my battery until the convention ended and powered up to look for wireless but it was pay to play and that is ten bucks that could be better spent on a Dan Maes campaign contribution.
The GOP state treasurer nomination goes to JJ Ament, with 2,788 votes to 690 for Ali Hasan. Hasan's 20% showing was below the 30% threshold to get him on the primary ballot.
The senate race was a little closer with Ken Buck's 2,701 votes surpassing Tidwell's 522, Greenheck's 56 and Barton's 35. Only Buck was voted onto the primary.
And then there was the governor's race. This one came down to the wire and the close finish was, I suspect, the reason it took nearly 2 hours to count and recount and verify and reverify the vote totals (after state party chair Dick Wadhams estimated 30 minutes.) Dan Maes drew 1,741 votes and party insider and long-time front runner Scott McInnis tallied 1,725. (YJ Mager received 21.) By a 16 vote margin the upstart "people's choice" candidate took the top position on the primary ballot. With 49% and 48% respectively, Maes and McInnis will face off in the primary election in August.
There is no picture of Scott McInnis because he and his family left before the voting ended to attend the wedding of Scott's eldest daughter in Estes Park. A campaign staffer made some cursory remarks to that effect.
In acknowledging his first-place finish Maes told the few of us remaining in the hall, "This is not about me. This is about you, the people, standing up and making yourselves heard. (...) We're just getting warmed up! (...) And to all of you Republicans in elective office out there, don't block me. This train is leaving the station and it's time to get on board. (...) The next step is to start sending in those contributions. It's time to start raising the money necessary to take this campaign to the next level." (Or something along those lines.)
UPDATE: Here's an interesting list of winners and losers from the Republican State Assembly
2. Dan Maes: Edging out the party establishment’s favorite Scott McInnis, even by the narrowest of margins, gives an added boost to his campaign. Having given a great speech and recorded a strong showing today, Maes knows he has a lot of ground to make up in fundraising. But he’s in the game at least until August.
3. Ken Buck: Once Jane Norton decided to skip the assembly and petition on, a Buck victory was a slam dunk. But the Weld County D.A. put on an impressive showing of 77 percent despite the undervotes and protest votes. Primary race? Game on.
4. Cory Gardner: Clearing the 4th CD Republican field with 60 percent is a big relief for Gardner, as the GOP unites strong in its best chance to take back a Colorado Congressional seat from the Democrats.
5. Tea Party / 9-12 Project: The growing influence and focused energy of these groups was on display in Loveland. Besides the medium-sized sea of red shirts for Dan Maes, how else do you explain Bob McConnell winning 45 percent to make the ballot in CD3 and Dean Madere finishing a respectable second in CD4? Fiscal conservatism is alive and well and ready to rear its head in Colorado.
6. Republican Party unity: I think this point may be lost on some, especially on the other side, who are wishing for the opposite to happen. But despite (or maybe because of) heated primary competition, there was less dissension and infighting evident than at any of the past three state assemblies.
1. Negative campaign tactics: Ali Hasan banked a lot of his success on attacks suggesting fellow treasurer candidate J.J. Ament is a “fiscal liberal.” The delegates — whom no one could describe as anything but right of center — weren’t buying. Meanwhile, non-participating gubernatorial candidate Joe Gschwendtner bombarded delegates with robo-calls before the Assembly urging them to vote against Dan Maes saying he can’t win, a strategy that appears to have backfired. (See #2)
2. Joe G: Gschwendtner’s campaign spokesman told Lynn Bartels earlier in the day: “After Dan doesn’t get his 30 percent, it will be McInnis and Gschwendtner.” Whoops. The late-entry campaign would have a steep enough hill to climb in a two-way race, but McInnis’ party establishment backing and Maes’ outstanding grassroots showing leave very little political oxygen.
4. Establishment backing: Many delegates this year seemed to be looking for candidates of integrity who have fire in the belly, candidates who send signals of running on principle rather than being handpicked by the powers that be. It’s certainly a reason Scott McInnis missed top line on the ballot, and it helps to explain why SD 16 candidate Tim Leonard was able to garner 70 percent support and avoid a primary with Mark Hurlbert.
Maes has won despite dismal fundraising and a few stumbles along the way. Putting some 70,000 miles on your car in less than 12 months while attending hundreds of political events can pay off. I think he comes off as being a bit smarter and more honest than McInnis, and he's willing to talk to both supporters and critics while McInnis is a glad hander who tries to avoid talking issues with supporters or, especially, the media and critics.
1:50 pm MDT: Sitting in the front row of the 4th CD Assembly in Loveland, CO wearing my Cory Gardner T-shirt. I'll try to post a few tidbits that may be of interest. So far:
Collected a Ken Buck T-shirt in exchange for my promise to wear it to the State Convention tomorrow. Huzzah!
Found a fellow Maes/Buck supporter who said "I'm a Republican but I'm for limited government and individual rights, which really makes me a liberal." He is against the drug war and prohibition of abortion. Sorry though, JK, he's also anti-illegal immigration.
Talked for about 10 minutes with Dan Maes. Asked him how I should respond to the next McInnis supporter who says Dan was pro-amnesty on the first version of his website. Dan said he has never said anything of the sort on his website or anywhere else. He told us he had lunch with Tom Tancredo to get the lowdown on the immigration issue and that Tom seemed to come away from that meeting with the sense that Dan isn't "tough enough" on immigration. That impression, after working through the grapevine, became "Dan's for Amnesty." Dan also told us a Post reporter asked him if he, himself, is hispanic. "Maes is a hispanic name" the reporter said. Well, Dan's eldest daughter with his first wife, whose father was from Chihuahua, Mexico, is part hispanic. Perhaps that's where that rumor started from. Dad and I were both very impressed with Dan. He looked me square in the eye. He also suggested asking McInnis supporters what Scott's articulated position is on ANY issue. That gibes with my sentiment. Scott is commitment-phobic.