Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

American Constitution Party has a major problem preparing for own caucus

The American Constitution Party has a major problem in Colorado. Because Republican renegade Tom Tancredo, who ran for governor on the ACP ticket in 2010, got more than 36 percent of the vote in 2010 in the race against Republican Dan Maes and Democrat John Hickenlooper, the ACP now qualifies as a major party in the state.

And the group just doesn't have the money to do the major amount of work that status requires, says ACP spokesman Doug Campbell, who was on the ballot as his party's lieutenant governor candidate before he stepped aside to let Tancredo name his own running mate, Pat Miller.

Under Colorado law, any party whose gubernatorial candidate received at least 10 percent of the vote in the last election qualifies as a major party. That means Colorado's Republican Party barely held on to that status, since Maes just squeaked past 10 percent in 2010. But since he did hit the magic number, state Republicans will still hold their caucus today as a major party.

The American Constitution Party, like the Colorado Democratic Party, is slated to have its caucus on March 6. But the ACP has barely 4,000 members -- hardly enough to hold a caucus in each precinct across the state. It doesn't even have enough money to send a mailing to those members, Campbell says. But as he interprets state election law, his party has no choice but to act as a major party.

Representatives of the American Constitution Party will be meeting with the Colorado Secretary of State tomorrow, to determine if there's any wiggle room in the rules. Can it hold caucuses by county, for example, rather than precincts?

Whatever is decided, Campbell promises that his party will move forward. "We're going to bite the bullet and do the best we can," he says.

Even if it's a major pain.

Since he wasn't elected governor, Tom Tancredo had an open schedule last November -- which meant he could debate Gustavo Arellano, author of Ask a Mexican. Watch them face off at "Tom Tancredo & 'Ask a Mexican' columnist Gustavo Arellano keep talking in debate videos."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun

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