Dave Liniger: Meet Re/Max balloonatic & rumored alt-governor pick for Dan Maes haters

With Colorado's GOP boss saying Republican guv nominee Dan Maes has no chance to win in a three-way race, and Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton suggesting that Maes probably isn't even competent to be dog catcher, it's no surprise that old-school conservatives are casting around for another option. Right now, the most frequently rumored is Re/Max chieftain Dave Liniger. But although he's certainly got the money for a credible run, he's not exactly a household word.

What's Liniger's story? For one thing, he's a balloonatic, as Alan Prendergast reported in the pages of Westword.

In the 1998 profile "The Final Frontier," Prendergast previewed Liniger's unsuccessful quest to circle the Earth in a balloon. Despite the fact that Re/Max uses a balloon as a logo and had loads of the crafts for promotional use, Liniger was a relative novice when it came to this mode of travel. But his inexperience didn't stop him from taking on the challenge -- and neither did the potential risks.

"This is the first civilian space mission in history," he said at the time. "The biggest concern we have is rapid decompression. If we were to blow a porthole or have a seam explode on us, our mission would be over in three to five seconds. At that altitude, your blood boils."

He insisted that he wasn't taking a foolhardy approach to the flight, saying, "There are no old, bold pilots. The stupid ones get killed off pretty quick. This is not a daredevil deal. This is a very logical, methodical, scientific approach to this."

Prendergast described Liniger as "the garrulous leader who cheerleads at conventions attended by thousands of Re/Max agents, the marketing whiz who motivates legions to go out there and clobber the competition" -- but also a private person.

"Most people don't realize it, but I'm very, very shy," Liniger said. "I get on an airplane next to somebody and I never talk to them. I fly 270 days a year, and I can't tell you the last person I met on an airplane."

That's hardly the personality profile of a candidate for governor -- especially one who'd need to introduce himself to the population of an entire state in a few short months. Then again, his political career could wind up being like his attempt at global circumnavigation. As noted by the Orlando Sentinel, high winds at Liniger's Alice Springs, Australia, launch point caused the flight to be scrubbed on multiple occasions. In the end, he never got off the ground.

Click here to read Prendergast's Dave Liniger profile.

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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