If you happened to be one of the 250 or so people to attend the energy issues forum with the gubernatorial candidates at the Denver Athletic Club, you might have noticed someone was missing: businessman Dan Maes.

Now trailing fellow Republican and former Congressman Scott McInnis by 28 points in one recent poll, Maes wasn’t invited to the event, which brought out interests ranging from the Denver Petroleum Club to leading environmentalists.

Instead, McInnis and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, fielded the questions without him (via 9News). They spoke on everything from conservation to the dealings of the Public Utilities Commission.

Meanwhile, Maes, of Evergreen, faced McInnis’ empty chair during a debate in Colorado Springs that featured a heavy Tea Party influence (250 people), writes The Gazette. Despite the odds, Maes is hoping his conservative following will help him upset McInnis.

“This is 25 percent mission trip, folks,” Maes told the crowd. “This is a spiritual battle.”