The Colorado Republican Party wants Denver to host the 2016 GOP convention, ideally with a Republican governor in the State Capitol. But to do that, the party will have to do a lot better in next year's election than it did in 2010, when, after a bruising primary, candidate Dan Maes got just over 10 percent of the vote, and the state GOP barely hung onto its status as a major party. That's one reason why Tom Tancredo, who got over 36 percent of the vote as a third-party candidate and is running again as a Republican, wants other GOP contenders to sign a civility pledge.
Tom Tancredo, playing nice? "I'm not going to say anything to create conflict between me and other people here," he said yesterday at a taping of the Aaron Harber Show, the first faceoff between the four leading GOP candidates.
And what did the other contenders think about that? Secretary of State Scott Gessler agreed that the candidates should be "respectful of each other" and promised to at least read the civility pledge; former state senator Mike Kopp told Harber that while "voters deserve to know the differences" between the contenders, "we're not going to badmouth."
Then it was state senator Greg Brophy's turn. "I intend to be civil, you betcha," he responded, then added that if Tancredo wanted a smooth path to the nomination, maybe he should talk to the American Constitution Party, on whose ticket he ran last time.
"That wasn't very civil," Tancredo responded.
That Brophy might play the tough guy while Tom Tancredo plays nice was just one of the fascinating facts to emerge during the taping.
We knew Dan Maes, and none of the four men at the taping are Dan Maes. All have impressive resumes and are able to address the hot topics -- education, corrections, the economy -- with ease.
None of the candidates will be Mr. Nice Guy when it comes to John Hickenlooper, and particularly his position on the death penalty. It looks like Hickenlooper's executive order postponing any action on Nathan Dunlap's death sentence until another governor is in office may be the go-to topic for any candidate hoping to be that next governor.
Brophy drives a Prius and rides a bicycle. He's the only farmer in the state Senate, and the only senator who lives beyond spitting distance of I-25 in the eastern portion of the state.
Mike Kopp has been a bullrider and also a firefighter -- and Idaho hot-shot.
Scott Gessler, who's made more headlines than any of the other three over the last year, shows grace under pressure. Then again, he's also been a federal prosecutor working terrorism cases.
Tancredo was the only candidate who did not glad-hand the audience before the taping. He was also the only one not to wear a suit and tie; he showed up in jeans and cowboy boots. He once ran a janitorial business -- as the owner/operator.
"We've all cleaned toilets," joked Harber, who once thought he might want to be Colorado's secretary of state.
But will this campaign fall into one?
More from the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "Scott Gessler is off the hook from Westword, but not everybody."
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