The Real Threat of Dan Maes

October 19 2010, 12:00 PM

Tom Tancredo isn't about to start caving to critics, not even those who warn that he'll sink Colorado's Republican Party if he gets too many votes in the governor's race.

"That's funny," he tells The Colorado Independent. "There is someone in this race sinking the Republican Party, but it's not me. It's the guy running as a Republican, who's polling 12 percent," he adds, referring to Dan Maes and laughing.

Tancredo is within four percentage points of Democratic candidate and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Republicans really are worried about Tancredo's insurgent campaign with the American Constitution Party. That's because if Maes fails to reap at least 10 percent of the vote during the November 2 election, the Republican Party will be relegated to minor-party status. As The Associated Press points out, that's a "stunning prospect for a party that has the largest number of registered voters" in the state.

But, "it probably will happen," admits GOP state party Chairman Dick Wadhams. "Voters are asking, 'Why would I waste my vote on Maes?'"

The long list of issues surrounding Maes is what's making voters shy away from his campaign—from questions over his service as a police officer in Kansas and fines for campaign finance violations to calling Denver’s bicycle-sharing program an international conspiracy. In addition, Wadhams has been blindsided by recent news that Maes filed for bankruptcy in 1989 despite a conversation more than a year ago in which Wadhams asked Maes about any past issues that might damage his campaign, reports The Pueblo Chieftain. "I always warn candidates before they enter a race, they need to walk through any potential problems—personal, financial, political," Wadhams says.

At least one so-far-unnamed local Republican is desperate enough for Maes to drop out of the race that he allegedly bribed the candidate, which is illegal, reports The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels. Maes declined the offer.