Tom Tancredo compares Scott McInnis's continuing campaign to the Hindenburg disaster

Earlier today, Patricia Calhoun shared a chat with Tom Tancredo at the Independence Institute's ATF event this past weekend. But I caught up with him yesterday when he was at an even more unusual place -- a fast-moving line at the DMV (and "fast-moving" isn't a misprint). But he still had time to talk about regrets regarding his aborted gubernatorial campaign, what might convince Scott McInnis to end his campaign, the odds that the Republican party will ask for his help, and the present guv situation, which he compares to one of history's greatest catastrophe.

Does Tancredo wish he'd never shelved his plan to run for governor?

"Sure, but I also wish I were taller," he says, laughing. He adds, "For the most part, and to the best of my ability, I don't look back. I have this feeling -- and as I grow older, I'm more and more convinced about it -- that things do happen for a reason. And the way things are unfolding, maybe they'll all work out anyway."

Among those also trying to make the latter happen is Senator Greg Brophy, who is encouraging the winner of August's Republican primary -- likely either McInnis or competitor Dan Maes -- to withdraw, allowing a Republican Party committee to choose a replacement candidate.

But would McInnis, in particular, really step down after winning the primary? Wouldn't he be likely to think, I've survived so far, and by election day, my plagiarism problems will be old news?

"I think that may be absolutely accurate," Tancredo acknowledges. But while McInnis is obviously trying to move on, he predicts that "nobody's going to allow him to. No opponent will allow him to, and the press won't allow him to."

In Tancredo's view, that makes McInnis's exit essential. And he sees a scenario that might lead him to surrender.

"There are people who are very influential, especially in Scott's life," he says. "They're the people who got him into the race, and who may act as a coach -- like, 'I put you in this game, buddy, and I'm taking you out.' That's possible. I don't know that it will occur, but somebody might want to make him an offer he can't refuse."

Like a job, à la the Obama administration and Andrew Romanoff? Tancredo's answer: "Yes, a job -- or maybe writing some papers on water."

Regarding his own prospects as a gubernatorial candidate, Tancredo topped a Denver Post poll of McInnis alternatives. Would he be receptive if the Republican Party reached out to him and urged him to take McInnis's place.

"Yeah, I'd be open to that," he says. "But the odds against that are greater than the odds in favor of McInnis dropping out of the race.

"Let's be realistic: I don't have an awful lot of friends in the hierarchy of the Republican Party. I couldn't even tell you who's on the committee who would choose someone. Every race I've run, I've pretty much run on my own. The party's been marginally involved, but I think most of the time, they were looking at the newspapers and going, 'Oh God, did he really say that?'

"So I don't think it will happen. If it does happen, I'd be happy to respond, and I'd respond positively, of course. I don't know if I can win or not, but I'm guaranteeing that the present situation is a disaster."

How big a disaster?

"What we're doing now is watching the Hindenburg descend -- watching it trying to connect with that grappling hook, or whatever it was, in New Jersey," Tancredo says. "We're watching it come down, and we know what's going to happen."

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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