Tom Tancredo doesn't know if Dan Maes would be a better governor than John Hickenlooper

Earlier today, we told you that Dan Maes had rejected a suggestion from Tom Tancredo that both of them drop out of the governor's race to allow the state GOP to choose a fresh candidate.

Tancredo says this offer shouldn't be interpreted as proof he's not wholly committed to beating John Hickenlooper in November. Indeed, he admits that he's not sure Maes would be an upgrade over Hick.

The drop-out deal recalls Tancredo's ultimatum to Maes and Scott McInnis before announcing his candidacy for the American Constitution Party, as he acknowledges.

"This is my reiteration of the first offer I made, or maybe the second -- I don't remember," Tancredo says. "And I made it because we're coming up on the last day where any changes could be made -- so I thought I'd try one more time. I definitely understand the difficulty we face with a three-person race, but I believe I have a better chance of winning in a three-person race than Maes does in a two-person race.

"If I had my druthers, it'd be that the Republican Party had fielded a candidate that was both conservative and viable, but that didn't happen. So I tried one more time."

On the day after Maes's primary win, Colorado Republican Party boss Dick Wadhams told Westword he didn't have anything else to say to Tancredo, and didn't plan to make another pitch for him to lay down his sword. But Tancredo confirms that Wadhams carried the latest step-down-for-the-good-of-the-party proposal to Maes.

Meanwhile, word has it that Tancredo's running mate, Doug Campbell, may leave the ticket in favor of an as-yet-unnamed replacement, which Channel 4 reported as likely to be a woman. Tancredo confirms the first part of this speculation but stops short of doing so for the second.

"It's accurate to say another person might take his place, but that has not yet been finalized, and we do not have that person at this moment in time," he allows. "So I can't say for certain whether it'll be a woman or a man."

As for the rationale behind such a move, he says, "If there is a person who can add a dimension to the ticket that we don't presently have, I think it would be in everybody's best interest to do that."

Regarding Maes's choice of Tambor Williams as his lieutenant governor, Tancredo is mystified by the distance between their positions on an important conservative social issue, abortion.

"She isn't just pro-choice," Tancredo maintains. "She is avidly pro-choice, which is diametrically opposed to what Dan says he's all about. And it poses the question of what he is trying to accomplish here. Does it mean he's simply looking to be governor at any cost, any price, and philosophy doesn't matter? Does he consider this to be a balancing-the-ticket act? And if that's true, then apparently if he left the governor's mansion for whatever reason -- let's say ill health or, God forbid, death -- he feels comfortable leaving it to a person who supports partial-birth abortion and Referendum C and D.

"You just have to wonder what all that was about. Or maybe she was the last person on the list."

Yesterday, Northern Colorado Tea Party director Lesley Hollywood predicted Tancredo would eventually raise the white flag when he realized that Maes had a reasonable shot of knocking off Hickenlooper in a head-to-head matchup. But Tancredo remains unconvinced that Maes is a man worthy of Republicans' vote.

"It's not just my concern about his ability to win, but about whether he should win," he says. "I really am concerned about that, because I don't know who this guy is.

"Is he the successful businessman he says he is? Or a guy who can't pay his mortgage? Is he the entrepreneur extraordinaire? Or the guy who made so little money in the last several years that he could qualify for food stamps? Is he a true conservative who is really pro-life and against government spending? Or is he the guy who appoints someone who's diametrically opposed to those philosophies." After a pause, he adds, "Oh, I guess he is that last guy."

Given these uncertainties, can Tancredo say with certainty that Maes would be a better gubernatorial choice than Hickenlooper?

"I just don't know," he says. "I truly don't. So I certainly will not drop out with him still in the race."

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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