Dan Maes: Bicycling and UN quote distorted by blogosphere echo chamber, says spokesman

Update below: If Republican guv candidate Scott McInnis isn't a dead fish, as his spokesman announced in this space today, some credit is owed his main opponent, Dan Maes, who's lately made several remarks that have taken on lives of their own.

In the view of campaign spokesman Nate Strauch, the result has been a prime example of media distortion.

Despite recent bad press, "we feel absolutely wonderful," Strauch says. "All the polling shows that Dan has taken the lead" in the Republican gubernatorial primary "and is now the frontrunner. We're expecting to win tomorrow night."

Nonetheless, he's frustrated by the hoopla over Maes's apparent assertion that Denver's B-Cycle program might turn the city into "the United Nations" via a misguided attempt at environmentalism.

"Those quotes were taken widely out of context," he maintains. "In the echo chamber that is the blogosphere, they've reached almost legendary status as a huge political gaffe. But it was really an off-the-cuff comment used as an example to illustrate a larger point -- which, of course, was completely thrown to the wind in the coverage."

What was that larger point? According to Strauch, "it was that a mayor or a governor shouldn't be taking orders from the UN. Using the B-Cycle program to illustrate that may not have been the best example, but that wasn't the focus of Dan's comments at all. He's not anti-bicycle, which is the way it's been made out -- that riding a bicycle is tantamount to bowing down in UN headquarters. He was talking about a very specific program Denver is enrolled in, and that's only one example of how that program is entering Colorado through Denver."

In the final days before the primary, the airwaves have been clogged with slick McInnis commercials. But Strauch doesn't see that as fatal to Maes's hopes.

"There's no question that Dan has the grassroots support in this election," he says. "When you're Scott McInnis, and you have $300,000 to throw around" -- a presumed reference to the amount of money he was paid by the Hasan Family Foundation for his problematic "musings on water" -- "plus all the fundraising you've gotten through decades of Washington, D.C. connections, you've got the money for these huge ad buys. But that's not who Dan is. He's been the grassroots candidate, and he's gotten to where he is now through hard work."

Given how many of Maes's supporters have been upset with both major parties, are his minions stressing that independent voters still have time to affiliate as Republicans before tomorrow's primary? Not so much.

Instead, "we're going to be spending a lot of our time in El Paso County tomorrow," Strauch allows. "They have an in-person component to their balloting, and it's a great Republican county. There are lots of good Republicans down there."

Who'll be seeing a lot more of Dan Maes, if tomorrow night's vote goes his way.

Update: Today, Westword conducted primary-eve interviews with spokespersons for all six major candidates being tested tomorrow. Click to read posts about Michael Bennet, Scott McInnis, Ken Buck, Andrew Romanoff and Jane Norton.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts