Why Tom Tancredo Has Been Barred From Club 20's Debate

September 10 2010, 10:25 AM

If you're planning to attend Club 20's gubernatorial debate on Saturday hoping to see Tom Tancredo wow the crowd, forget it.

Club 20's event will be a strictly Republican and Democratic affair, meaning only Dan Maes and John Hickenlooper will take the stage since Tancredo is running as a member of the American Constitution Party, reports The Denver Post. The director of the Western Slope civic group, Reeves Brown, says minor-party candidates are only invited to debate if they represent at least one percent of the state's registered voters. No third party in the state qualifies.

Cliff Dodge, Tancredo's campaign manager, accuses Club 20 of stifling "true debate," saying that Maes is inconsequential: "Hickenlooper is going to be debating a non-entity. The momentum is to Tancredo, not to Maes."

So, there won't be any opportunity to probe the logic of Tancredo's position to do away with a law granting citizenship to any baby born within the borders of the United States. A new report by the Migration Policy Institute finds that the so-called "Birthright Citizenship Act" would increase the unauthorized U.S. population from 10.8 million to 16 million in 2050, according to The Colorado Independent. Since he's not invited, Tancredo won't be able to chide Hickenlooper for being too soft on immigration policy, but Maes might, writes the Post (in a separate article). Hickenlooper says that's just not the case, pointing to thousands of immigration-related arrests made in Denver on his watch.

Perhaps Hick and Maes will debate the merits of bicycling instead. Earlier this week in Glenwood Springs, Maes elaborated on his prior criticism of Denver's bike-sharing program.

"This is all, you know, part of a larger program that might fit good for downtown Denver, and honestly it might be great for downtown Denver," conceded Maes (via The Huffington Post). "But it may not be good for Glenwood Springs or the Western Slope, and we don't need that kind of thinking in rural Colorado."