Here’s something that’s now a footnote to the 2010 Republican primary race for governor: Former Congressman Scott McInnis has given back the $300,000 he was paid by the Hasan Family Foundation after it was revealed that his “Musings on Water” had been plagiarized, reports Westword.

And perhaps it was the plagiarism issue that cost McInnis the race, allowing entrepreneur Dan Maes, who recently called Denver’s bicycle-sharing program an international conspiracy, to grab a narrow victory.

Maes beat McInnis by about two percentage points in the latest available numbers this morning (via The Associated Press).

“This campaign was not conceived in a smoke-filled room of the Brown Palace Hotel. Nor was it conceived by the power brokers in the Republican Party. This campaign began in your backyards,” Maes told his supporters last night.

As for McInnis, spokesman Sean Duffy points to the plagiarism scandal, saying, “Obviously, he had the equivalent of the kitchen sink and two pianos chucked at him.”

Maes will now face John Hickenlooper, the Denver mayor who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, and former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who left the Republican Party to run under the banner of the American Constitution Party when McInnis and Maes refused to step aside. Tancredo claims Maes, a political novice whose business skills have been questioned, has too little experience to beat Hickenlooper.

Maes says Tancredo should get out of the race.

“Tonight is a celebration, but there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room we must address,” Maes told a cheering crowd. “Mr. Tancredo, stop your campaign tonight” (via The Denver Post).

Meanwhile, Post columnist Mike Littwin writes that if the race comes down to Maes, Hickenlooper, and Tancredo, “that means both a three-ring circus and a certain Hickenlooper victory.”

In a postmortem with Westword, state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams comments on the results in each of the big three primaries, with particular and continued disgruntledness over the governorship: “The governor’s race is a very difficult one for us right now. I haven’t made any bones about it. Tom Tancredo makes it unwinnable if he remains a third-party candidate. That’s the way the race stands right now.”