Last week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes previewed the "Defend the Republic" rally at the State Capitol -- advertised as a gathering of folks from assorted tea parties and 9.12 organizations, among others, who weren't ready to cede the Republican guv nomination to Scott McInnis.
The event took place on Saturday, and Maes concedes that "the attendance was lower than what we hoped for" -- approximately 250, as opposed to the 800 to 1,000 folks he'd anticipated. Nonetheless, he puts the best face on the proceedings.
"While the numbers were down, we had people from all over the state," says Maes, who was among the rally's featured attractions. "People drove in from Montrose County, Vail, Gunnison, Pueblo, Larimer County and Weld County in addition to Denver County. And I was very impressed by the fact that some grassroots people who've never spoken in front of a crowd had the courage to get up there and demand choice in the race.
"This wasn't a let's-endorse-Dan Maes rally," he emphasizes, "although there was certainly a lot of support. It was about demanding that the caucuses and the assembly process is allowed to play through."
However, Maes took advantage of this collection of humanity to do some extremely old-fashioned fundraising. "I stood at the stairs with a gunny sack and people put money in. We also had others walking around with gunny sacks collecting funds as well." He says he doesn't plan to publicize the amount of cash brought in, other than to say that "people were very generous. We were pleased."
For Maes to be competitive, though, he admits that he'll need a lot more moolah than landed in his sack -- which is why "we're going to start with small, home-based fundraisers called 'Dinner With Dan' in January. I'll continue to do the occasional public-speaking event, but we really have to get serious about fundraising in the first quarter. So the dinners will be our primary fundraising strategy, and we've already got about half-a-dozen booked."
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Meanwhile, Lu Busse, chair of the 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition, who was recently profiled in this space, also spoke at the rally. Along the way, she promoted what she describes via e-mail as "the 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition's new Principles Over Party initiative to encourage citizens register to vote and get involved in the primary process for both parties."
Dates and times for caucus classes can be found at TheRightHuff.blogspot.com and LibertyEvents.org. Groups that want to schedule a caucus training class are also encouraged to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look below to read the speech Busse delivered at the rally, which isn't filled with attaboys for McInnis:
Principles Over Party
Lu Busse, Chair of The 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition
12/12/09 Denver, Colorado
Greetings fellow Patriots, I'm Lu, one of the "Angry Mob" Organizers and Chair of The 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition. We're here to set the record straight.
Do you belong to a 9.12 Project group or website?
Do you belong to a Tea Party group or have you attended a Tea Party Event?
Do we represent thousands of our fellow like-minded voters in Colorado who couldn't be here today?
As part of the roll out of the Colorado Republican Party's Platform for Prosperity, the McInnis campaign was covered in the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 1st and the next day Mr. McInnis was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on the national Fox News network. Both of those news pieces gave the impression that the "Tea Party" backed Mr. McInnis for Governor of Colorado. Cavuto called him "the country's biggest tea party candidate."
Mr. McInnis mentioned the "9.12" in his answers so that also brought the groups I represent into the fray. We're here to correct the record publicly and we thank Mr. Maes for allowing several of us to speak at this event so we could.
None of Colorado Coalition's 2 dozen 9.12 Project groups have endorsed any candidate. Mr. McInnis and the Colorado Republican leadership did not speak to us or solicit our input before they introduced their new Platform. Furthermore, let it be known that we will not be used or co-opted by any Party or any candidate!
Equally concerning to us is that there appears to be a concerted effort by the political power brokers to narrow most of the primary races in Colorado to one candidate. We are told this is for "unity" and that a candidate can't win because he can't raise the money, he's a single issue candidate, or some other seemingly contrived reason. Well, we're here to say that we want choices in all the primary races so that WE can decide and not be dictated to by a select few who think they know best.
Most of our public actions to date have been directed at the Democrat-held Congress because they are not representing the people as they should, but we also expect the two major parties to represent the registered voters in their respective parties not a select few power brokers, special interest groups or fringe element.
By the way, according to a recent Rassmussen poll 23% of likely voters would vote for a generic "Tea Party" candidate - more than the 19% of American voters who identify themselves as Liberal. So The 9.12 Project, Tea Party and other grassroots conservative voters are not a fringe group, but a significant powerful block. We will hold the political parties to the same standards as we hold members of Congress and expect them listen to and represent their membership as well as to not be bought off by special interests with their own narrow or selfish agendas.
Because we did not get involved sooner, we realize we are part of the problem that most Americans are no longer being represented by their elected officials. Many in the political class on both sides of the aisle have come to represent special interests and big money players instead. We have been complaining that the Parties are not giving us true choices in elections, but we need to take responsibility for allowing this to happen by not being involved in the process. Now that we realize what's going on, we are engaged and we are involved!
The 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition is launching our Principles Over Party initiative, to encourage people to participate in the primary process. We're not only going to take our country back, we're going to take our parties back with an educated, informed and motivated electorate!
If you are not registered to vote, register NOW.
We strongly encourage registered Republicans and Democrats to attend caucus training so you can help us pick better candidates through the primary process. Talk to your neighbors and get them to go with you to the precinct caucus on March 16, 2010.
Many Democrats including some of our members do not like the direction their party is going either, so we're reaching out and appealing to the rank and file Democrats to also get involved and force your party to represent the majority of you, not the real fringe group in all of this that has hijacked the Democrat party -- the Progressives.
If you an independent and registered as unaffiliated, please pick a consonant -- D or R to help us get better candidates for everyone. Attend one of the caucus training seminars so you can learn more about how the system is set up and why being affiliated for the primaries can help. You can always go back to the County election office on March 17th and rescind your affiliation. If after checking it out you want to help us, be sure to register your affiliation by January 15, 2010 to be involved in this primary cycle.
The 9.12 Project, Tea Party, and other groups are having caucus training around the state. Pick up one of these flyers [hold up one] with websites to check for training sessions in your area. Some of the information tables here also have caucus information.
The 9.12 Project formed around 9 principles and 12 values that we share so we hold Principles Over Party as the title of our initiative reflects. Many of us will no longer hold our nose and vote for a candidate just because of party affiliation. We demand choices in the primary races to ensure we have principled, fiscally responsible candidates to vote for come November.
We respectfully request that Mr. Maes and all other candidates stay in their races so that we have a choice thru the primary process. To my fellow grassroots patriots, please consider what you can do to help candidates, financially and otherwise, so that we maintain real choice and competition in this primary. But, let me go on the record and clearly state that The 9.12 Project in Colorado has not endorsed any candidate and is not endorsing one today. Instead we are condemning the political elites in both parties who would truncate the process and limit choices for all voters.
We're also putting candidates and elected officials on notice: Remember that the voters of Colorado have the option to Recall those who are corrupt, derelict in their duties, break campaign promises, or fail to represent the people of Colorado. Think Gov. Gray Davis.
To the Political Elite in Colorado and around the country: You have tried to demean and marginalize us; You have tried to scare us off; You have gotten the compliant "lame stream media" to ignore or dismiss us; You have underestimated our numbers, influence and resolve, but we just keep marching forward in larger and larger numbers. So, we certainly are not going to let you co-opt us or tell us what to do because you don't have the answers. You are in our sights now that we are awake to your games, tactics and incremental destruction of our Constitutional Republic.
Finally we have a message for the self-appointed power brokers from both parties and their special interest cronies, we don't care how much money you can raise -- we're on the march and you'd better get out of our way because WE the People are going to choose the next Governor of Colorado!