John Hickenlooper won the governor's race more easily than anticipated -- and Dan Maes also exceeded expectations. A recent poll showed Maes with 5 percent support. But he tallied 11 percent, preventing the GOP from being dubbed a minor party. Campaign spokesman Nate Strauch says the candidate wasn't surprised.
"He never believed that was going to happen right up until the polls closed," Strauch says. "He was confident he would be in the double digits, and in fact, he was."
Not that the Maes faithful who gathered at his election-night watch party were able to celebrate his achievement in a baggage-free way.
"There were a lot of emotions in the room," Strauch points out. "A number of people were angry at what they perceived to be media bias, or they were angry at Tom Tancredo for entering the race.
"But as far as the overriding emotion, there was a sense of accomplishment," he continues. "Most of his supporters feel as though, despite the fact that he wasn't elected to be governor, there was still a great deal accomplished as far as proving that it's the people who control the party."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
When asked to comment about the contest as a whole, Strauch says, "The election year in general was extraordinary in a number of different ways, but the governor's race even more so" -- an understatement on par with, "The Titanic is kind of a big boat."
As for Maes's future, Strauch points out that "he's said he's going back to the private sector. Beyond that, I couldn't speculate."
Luckily for us, Westword investigative cartoonist Kenny Be can, and did...
More from our Kenny Be/Comics archive: "Dan Maes résumé rewrite highlights campaign experience: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario."