Few people would argue that Tom Tancredo isn’t conservative enough. Still, tea partiers haven’t exactly embraced him. In fact, his attempts to convince Republican nominee Dan Maes to drop out of the race for governor have angered tea party leaders. During those failed talks, Tancredo, who is running under the American Constitution Party banner, urged tea partiers to work closely with the GOP instead of third parties, writes The Washington Times.

But now, as Maes lags dramatically in the polls, tea partiers are warming up to Tancredo, who has issued a list of 30 tea party activists who see him as a viable challenger to Democrat John Hickenlooper, the race’s frontrunner. Inspired by talk show host Glenn Beck, Lu Ann Busse, the chairwoman of the “9-12 Project Colorado Coalition,” says that although she’s remaining neutral, “certainly the trend is that more people are moving toward Tancredo.” Count U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman among them. The Aurora Republican calls Tancredo a “strong and decisive leader” who will help the economy (via CBS4).

Meanwhile, John Straayer, a political science professor at Colorado State University, tells the Grand Junction Sentinel the race for governor has lacked substance from the candidates. “I think the voters sense a difference between Hickenlooper and the two conservatives, but even Hickenlooper hasn’t said anything that I know of about what he’s going to do about the budget crisis in Colorado,” Straayer explains. “On the other hand, he hasn’t said anything about cut, cut, cut taxes like Maes and Tancredo. That’s part of their general image—that very, very, very conservative wing of the Republican Party,” he continues. “Cutting more government, it’s crazy. It’s off the charts. We’re getting to the point where you’re not going to be able to run the state effectively. Anybody who looks really carefully at the budget—what’s left? Are we going to take the cops off the highways and shut the prisons down? A lot of this talk is terribly unrealistic.”