Dan Maes says he's staying in race despite bankruptcy revelation, alleged bribe to quit
Another week, another series of disasters for the Dan Maes campaign. First came photos of Maes collecting cash in a burlap bag, in apparent violation of campaign rules (but beyond the statute of limitations). Next? News that he'd filed for personal bankruptcy in 1989 -- the sort of info that should have been shared long ago. And now comes a report that two GOP county chairmen shared an offer from a "wealthy donor" to buy Maes out of the governor's race.
This last bombshell comes courtesy of the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels, who points out that such a payoff would be illegal under Colorado law. Bartels also shares information from a Facebook post by Maes supporter Joe Harrington, who first revealed news about the proposal -- and asserted that it had come from backers of gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. The item includes an e-mail comment from Maes presumably directed at Tancredo. It reads:
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!
Tancredo operations manager Cliff Dodge denied any knowledge of the proposition to the Post, and Tancredo said likewise during an appearance on KHOW with fill-in host George Brauchler this morning. During his time on the air, the American Constitution Party hopeful stressed that Maes brought all of his current troubles on himself, speculating that thanks to his own weaknesses, he'd have the same dismal poll numbers he does now even if Tancredo hadn't become a candidate. Regarding Maes's description of him, Tancredo characterized it as bitterness rooted in assessing blame to others instead of to himself.
Additionally, Tancredo noted that in a new Fox News poll, Tancredo is just five points behind Hickenlooper, who racks up 45 percent compared to Tancredo's 40, with Maes registering just 10 percent. If these numbers are accurate, Maes is in real danger of earning only single digit support in the election two weeks from today -- a performance that would cause the Colorado Republican Party to lose major party status, thereby causing a range of problems around the petition process and more. As such, there are probably some Republicans who hope Maes stands tough and somehow earns 10 percent of the vote, presumably from GOP diehards who'll vote for anyone with an "R" after their name. But Colorado GOP boss Dick Wadhams seems resigned to the idea that Tancredo will get the lion's share of Republican support.
What's the Maes braintrust got to say about that? Beginning yesterday, multiple phone and e-mail messages were left for spokesman Nate Strauch, who's been extremely receptive throughout the campaign. Thus far, they haven't been returned. When and if Strauch responds, we'll share his thoughts in this space. Meanwhile, Maes sent out a defiant e-mail to supporters Monday afternoon, brushing off his difficulties one by one and declaring that victory is still within his grasp.
Page down to read the message:
Dan Maes campaign e-mail, October 18:
No Deal Says Maes -- Let the People Decide
Let's Clear Up the Past Once and For All and Win This Thing!
Liberal, KS should never have been a story but the truth was eventually revealed. I was part of a KBI investigation, and I did gather info for them, I did meet with them, all while playing the role of a local police officer. Vindicated.
Freda Poundstone -- First she said the $300 was a gift, then a loan, then she claimed I conned her. Which was it? It was a contribution that we naively took from a very savvy operative and we made a mistake by not reporting it properly. I apologized and took responsibility for it.
Other Campaign Finance Fines -- Yes, we misclassified 10 contributions and reimbursed ourselves in an untimely fashion. Not one dime was misappropriated. Defending ourselves cost us and it cost the grass roots scarce funds which was exactly the damage intended by the plaintiff. We apologized then and apologize again now and we took responsibility.
Allegations I embellished my resume -- the Post reported this week that my old partner from NY said, "Dan is great at building trust and did great things for our business out there." Again the truth was revealed. Vindicated.
The claim that I pledged not to debate if I dropped under 20% in the polls -- Wrong. Talk radio has taken my words out of context and twisted them. I said if the hosting organizations set the rule at 20% and I was under, and they did not invite me, then I would not debate or complain. I never pledged not to debate if I dropped under 20%, and emphasized that I attend based on invitations. I never said I would bow out of the race based on any poll numbers.
Recently the Post reported on our past treasurer's exit from the campaign. They did their best to imply wrongdoing but never accused. That's their style; leave you believing something wrong happened when nothing did.
Finally, I wrote off 14K in a bankruptcy over 20 years ago. It was after a divorce where I took on the bulk of the debt. It was a difficult thing to do and I have learned from it. Each of my opponents experienced financial challenges and questionable dealings more recently. At least I did not risk and lose my life savings in a ponzi scheme just a couple of years ago as one opponent did.
In the grand scheme of political races my mistakes have been insignificant compared to the hundreds of thousands, or even billions of dollars spent on TARP, back taxes on conservation easements, lost investments, business losses, etc. of my competitors.
If people have to go back 20 plus years to find anything remotely incriminating I think that is a testament to how I have managed my life and my resources over the last 20 years and that is why I should be your next governor.
Now, do you remember why we decided to do all of this? Do you remember why you have made the sacrifices over the last 18 months that you have made? Do you remember why you gave up your contributions, weekends, time with your children, time from work, and hours with family?
Have you forgotten that we wanted to rid ourselves of selfish, career politicians?
Have you forgotten that we wanted to rid ourselves of Republicans that vote more like Democrats?
Have you forgotten that we wanted less taxation and regulation?
Have you forgotten that we wanted to take back the Republican Party to its truly conservative roots?
Have you forgotten that we wanted to bring in citizen legislators and leaders?
I have never forgotten, and I challenge all of you who are part of the conservative revolution to remember our purpose. Do not buy into the false perception that is telling you to compromise! That compromising is what got us here in the first place.
I refuse to compromise; I refuse to sell out in the back room deals that my opponent would not stand up to. You wanted someone to stand up to the powers for you and I am doing it. Will you stand with me? Will you vote your principle? Remember voting your principles and winning in 2010!!
Pick up your ballot now and select Dan Maes for Governor and let's win this thing, once and for all.
This is Dan Maes and your darned right I approved this message.
Help us finish strong financially by donating at www.danmaes.com. Click on contribute now or mail a check to Friends of Dan Maes, 11 W. Hampden Ave, Englewood, CO 80013.
More from our Politics archive: "Ken Buck spokesman: Rape case stories smears that may scare women away from reporting."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.