Democrat Bill Winter is running for congress against Republican incumbent Tom Tancredo, and he really doesn’t have much of a chance at pulling the upset. Winter has raised only a fraction of the money that Tancredo has raised, and he is only running radio ads to promote his candidacy (he has nothing on television).

In fairness to Winter, Tancredo is a tough candidate. Republican voters outnumber Democrats by about 2-to-1 in the sixth congressional district, which encompasses the southern metropolitan area (Douglas County, etc.). Tancredo’s pet issue — indeed, his only issue — is illegal immigation, which has proven to be one of the biggest issues of 2006. Even though there is a backlash against congressional Republicans this year because of any number of scandals and errors coming from the national party, Winter wasn’t able to raise enough money to raise his own profile to be a real alternative to Tancredo. Voters may not love Tancredo, but if they have no idea who Winter is, then it doesn’t matter.

Since Winter is obviously feeling desperate, he has resorted to touting a poll that he says shows him to be running in a deat heat with Tancredo. Of course, he has no proof of this poll’s existence, but that hasn’t stopped him. Take a look at what he wrote on the blog SquareState:

About four weeks ago there was a poll in our race. We know that because our supporters called in to say they had been polled. We know we didn’t do the poll, so we waited to hear the results. They were never released.

That suggests it wasn’t an independent poll, because an independent poll would be released no matter how it turned out. So it wasn’t us and it wasn’t independent, so it must have been….Tancredo!

But why would an incumbent, or any candidate, not release the results of their own poll? The only reason I can think of is because that poll didn’t give them the results they hoped for!

Flash forward a couple of weeks and I am in Washington, D.C. where I am told by THREE different completely independent sources that they saw recent polling that had me even with Tom Tancredo! (and lord do I wish I could reveal their names to you! You would be shocked!) Now this isn’t too hard to believe, given that Jay Fawcett is even in his race in Colorado in a recent poll, and Ed Perlmutter is up by double figures, and our governor Candidate, Bill Ritter, is up by double figures, and up by 10 points in my district alone.

Actually, Bill it is hard to believe — and nobody who is really paying attention to this race does believe it. Why would Tancredo not release the results of his poll, if he did indeed poll? Because it doesn’t matter. Tancredo doesn’t need to crow about being ahead of Winter, because Winter is such an unknown and this race is so under the radar that there’s no point in even drawing attention to it. If Winter had some sort of momentum going (which he doesn’t), then Tancredo might release results of a poll in order to slow Winter’s fundraising efforts.

But what about Perlmutter and Ritter? Both have run solid campaigns and raised millions of dollars. It’s an apples to oranges comparison.

I hear about the vast sums being spent in races around the Country and I sigh, because I know that we could beat Tancredo with just another $100K! And if we got another $250K, we could beat him by 10 points or more!

This is really silly. No Democrat would ever beat a Republican by 10 points in this district because Republican voters outnumber Democrats 2-to-1. Winter is making a desperate lunge to convince people to help him, and you can smell the desperation through your computer screen. He may think that this is a good maneuver, but what Winter is really doing is making an ass of himself. Claiming that you know of a poll that you can’t prove – and then providing “evidence” that is nothing more than your own not-very-believable conclusions – is an amateur move that serves only to make Winter look like an amateur candidate.

Winter isn’t going to beat Tancredo this year, but if he ever hopes to run for office again, he had better stop talking about this. If Winter loses big to Tancredo in November, he’s going to look really ridiculous for running around telling people about this “poll” that he can’t prove even exists. Political candidates make their living on perception and reputation, and Winter is killing whatever good reputation he had. And that’s a shame, because he had made a respectable effort for much of the campaign and had shown that he was a good candidate, albeit without the resources or experience to be a real threat. You can always live again to fight another day, but not if you stick a knife in yourself.