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Dan Maes rejects Tom Tancredo's suggestion that they both quit the governor's race

Tom Tancredo's latest suggestion for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes: If Maes drops out of the race, Tancredo will, too, allowing the state GOP to choose a new candidate more likely to beat Democratic pick John Hickenlooper in November.

To paraphrase Maes's response: Fat chance.

"If Tom had wanted to effect the governor's race, he should have gone through the proper process -- he should have run as a Republican, so he would have had a chance to be nominated," says Nate Strauch, Maes's spokesman.

As for Tancredo's current offer, which recalls the ultimatum he gave Maes before deciding to enter the campaign, Strauch maintains that "Tom has been part of this culture of backroom deals for his entire career, and apparently he still thinks that's the way to do business. But that's not something Dan has ever taken part in, and he certainly isn't going to take part in it now."

What about the American Constitution Party hopeful's previous challenge? Tancredo provided his tax returns to KHOW's Peter Boyles yesterday, and gave Boyles permission to make them public if Maes would do the same.

According to Strauch, "Dan has released his tax returns, to The Constitutionalist Today," a Tea Party-friendly website. "And he's not going to be releasing them again at the request of a minor, third-party candidate -- I can tell you that much."

In the meantime, Strauch prefers to focus on the endorsements that have started coming Maes's way, including one from Hank Brown, who he refers to as "the father of the modern Republican Party in this state." He points out that "Dan met with several big name Republicans yesterday and got a very positive response on all fronts. So we expect more of these endorsements."

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Yesterday's naming of Tambor Williams as Maes's running mate has already helped in that respect, Strauch argues.

"There's no doubt that Tambor has been able to traverse the sometimes choppy political waters in this state with grace and conservative integrity," he says. "There were already signs of the party coalescing around Dan -- and the grassroots has been behind him since the beginning. Now, we're seeing the more traditional members of the party beginning to realize that he has a very good chance to win, especially when you look at this poll numbers," which have been trending upward as Tancredo's have dipped.

Regarding Maes's often-contentious relationship with the Denver Post, Strauch confirms that a meeting with Post representatives he told us about last week has taken place. He declines to go into details about the discussions, or to even say which Post staffers were present. But he calls the session "very productive," adding, "it's always good to be on the same page as the newspaper of record."

And if Maes quit, he would have a helluva time getting any ink at all.

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