Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Tom Tancredo gets a welcome to the governor's race from Libertarians

The Libertarian Party -- which got its start in Colorado close to forty years ago -- has two candidates for governor in the upcoming primary. But you don't hear David K. Williams, chair of the Libertarian Party of Colorado, whining about Tom Tancredo entering the race as a third-party candidate and taking some voters with him.

Meaning he's definitely not echoing Dick Wadhams.

"Unlike the state Republican party, we welcome competition," Williams says. "If competition is good for public schools -- and it is -- competition among political parties is even better."

Noting that Wadhams, chair of the Colorado Republican Party, termed Tancredo's run "reprehensible," Williams suggests that "what is really reprehensible is a two-party system that gives the citizens of Colorado two horrible choices for governor."

The Libertarian Party's choices on August 10 are Jaimes Brown and Dan "Kilo" Sallis. And no matter which candidate emerges triumphant from the primary, you can count on third-party candidates getting more scrutiny in the few months before the November election. Already, media outlets and civic-minded groups are strategizing how to plan debates and dialogues inclusive enough to justify an invite for Tancredo, who's running as the candidate of the American Constitution Party -- which makes the Libertarian party look mainstream. And given what's going on with Colorado's Republicans, maybe it is.

"The level of competition within our own party makes us stronger, and the race between Scott McInnis, Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo is no different," Williams continues. "Republicans and Democrats make the election rules. It is entirely disingenuous for them to complain when third parties play by those rules. The claim that any third-party candidate 'steals' votes from the two-party duopoly is arrogance at its worst. Citizens cast their votes, political parties do not."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun