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Tom Tancredo plans to be at debates whether Dan Maes, John Hickenlooper want him or not

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Tom Tancredo hasn't been feeling a lot of love in the past day or so. First, Dan Maes and John Hickenlooper agreed to a debate schedule without consulting him or mandating his participation. Plus, two locals have reportedly filed suit to keep Tancredo's name off the ballot. Team Tancredo shrugs off the legal action. And as for the debates, operations manager Cliff Dodge emphasizes that his guy will take part in as many as possible -- something he thinks neither Maes nor Hickenlooper will enjoy.

"They can say what they want," Dodge notes. "But Tom is going to be at most of the debates, I can tell you that."

Dodge has been calling organizers of the ten debates on the Maes-Hickenlooper slate, and he says, "Tom's going to be at the Progressive 15 debate in Loveland [on September 17], the Pueblo Chieftain debate [on October 12], the Denver Post-9News debate [on October 13], the Fox 31 debate [on October 22], the CBS4 debate [on October 29]. And I have calls into Channel 7 [October 5] and CACI [the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, whose debate is on October 14]. So the only one I haven't called yet is Action 22 [in Colorado Springs, with a debate on September 25], and I'm calling them today."

He's also likely to get in touch with Club 20 in Grand Junction, which is sponsoring a debate on September 11.

What about the possible debate participation of other so-called third-party candidates? Dodge doesn't take a position on that, saying his only concern is his candidate. Regarding the decision by the Maes and Hickenlooper camps to exclude Tancredo from the debate arrangements, he says, "It's a free country, and people can do exactly what they want. But I just have a feeling the Maes-Hickenlooper axis wasn't especially interested, after the first debate at Channel 12, in ever seeing Tom on the debate stage again."

The implication of this last comment is that Tancredo mopped the floor with both opponents at Channel 12 -- an opinion Dodge confirms.

"I think their worst nightmare is seeing Tom on stage with them," Dodge maintains. As for Tancredo's initial exclusion, "I can only say that when one decides to have a picnic and you don't invite the entrée, you don't have much of a picnic."

Page down for the complete debate schedule, as well as Tancredo campaign manager Bay Buchanan's formal statement about the lawsuit:

Debate schedule:

Sept. 2: Colorado Decides 2010 "Gubernatorial General Election Debate;" Denver

Sept. 11: Club 20; Grand Junction

Sept. 17: Progressive 15; Loveland

Sept. 25: Action 22; Colorado Springs

Oct. 5: Channel 7; Denver

Oct. 12 Pueblo Chieftain; Pueblo

Oct. 13: The Denver Post/ 9news; Denver

Oct. 14 Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry; Denver

Oct. 22 Fox 31; Denver

Oct. 29 CBS 4; Denver

Statement about lawsuit:

TANCREDO CAMPAIGN RESPONDS TO LAWSUIT

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO -- Statement from Bay Buchanan, Campaign Manager, Tancredo for Governor.

"Last Friday, after reviewing all the pertinent documentation, Colorado's Secretary of State certified Tom Tancredo as a candidate for Governor on the November ballot. Our attorneys have reviewed the recent complaint by the disgruntled Maes voters related to this certification and are confident that the courts will find no grounds on which to overturn the decision by the one individual with authority to make such decisions."

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