Dan Maes's next withdrawn endorsements may be from Tea Party groups: Will they stand firm?

Given that Colorado Secretary of State Bernie Buescher must certify the lineup for the Colorado ballot by 5 p.m. today, the pressure on embattled Republican guv candidate Dan Maes to drop out will grow by the hour. And the strain could be increased by Tea Party, 9.12 Project and other Liberty Movement groups that boosted his candidacy in the first place.

As we told you yesterday, 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition chair Lu Busse was among grassroots actvists who'd called for a sit-down with Maes to discuss his disputed claims of undercover work with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, among other things. Via e-mail, she told Westword, "A group of us need to speak to Dan Maes and hear his side first. It is possible that the current issues are more media hype and spin rather than actual facts as several stories about him have been, so we owe it to Mr. Maes to hear his answers to our members' questions before possibly adding to the spin and speculation."

That meeting took place Thursday, presumably following Maes's appearance at a Channel 12 debate alongside opponents John Hickenlooper and Tom Tancredo; the program is set to air tonight. Afterward, Busse described the session like so: "We had a good, open discussion and now we're going back to our membership to give them all the answers and information we received. We will not be making any public statements until our membership has the information and decides as a whole what to say group by group."

The last part of this statement is key. The Liberty Movement is a coalition of smaller organizations, as opposed to one monolithic outfit, as in the case with the Republican or Democratic parties. Maes could be backed by some, un-endorsed by others -- and those responses could well trickle out throughout the day.

If the general response is positive, Maes's hopes could be buoyed. If not, it'll be the equivalent of death by a thousand cuts.