Well, you can't say he didn't warn them.
You should get out of the race for governor, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) told Colorado Republicans Scott McInnis and Dan Maes last week, if polls show that you can't beat Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper in the November election. And if you don't, I'm going to run as a third-party candidate.
McInnis and Maes, battling each other in the Aug. 10 primary, refused. Today, reports Denver Post's Karen Crummy, Tancredo joins the race as a candidate of the American Constitution Party.
Of course, Tancredo — who served in the House as a Republican for five terms and sought his party's presidential nomination in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform — has to first register with his new party. But that's just a formality.
McInnis, a former congressman who had been his party's frontrunner for gov., has been under a barrage of criticism over plagiarism charges (see July 15 Junkie post). Once upon a time, back when Bill Ritter (D) decided to retire, Republicans were confidently predicting they would take back the governorship. But between the McInnis woes and the increasing negativity in the Senate contest between Jane Norton and Ken Buck — you can listen to the piece on the Senate primary by NPR's Jeff Brady here — the opportunities for GOP gains in both contests are in jeopardy.
Dick Wadhams knows this. Wadhams, the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, blasted Tancredo as someone who would hand the governorship to Hickenlooper, currently the mayor of Denver:
Tom Tancredo has nobody's interest in mind other than his own. But what do you expect from a guy who reneged on his term-limit pledge and has been running for office for five decades?
In a shouting match the two of them had on radio station KHOW this morning, Wadhams mocked Tancredo. "What's your agenda?" he demanded of Tancredo. "What are you going to talk about? Impeach Obama and bomb Mecca?"
Tancredo wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times last week entitled, "The case for impeachment."
The Atlantic's Nicole Allen, under the header, "Tom Tancredo's Plan to Bring Down the Republicans," says this:
What's unique about Tancredo's bid is neither his one-issue stance (on immigration) nor his dramatic shift to a third party — it's his intent to hand the governorship to the Democrats because of his dissatisfaction with the Republican options. True, these options leave something to be desired ... But Tancredo is well aware that if he enters the race, siphoning votes from McInnis and Maes, Colorado voters will most likely elect Hickenlooper, whose immigration platform is nowhere near as radical as Tancredo would like.
Allen notes that there are candidates, such as Nevada's Sharron Angle and Kentucky's Rand Paul, who are running on an "insurgent, anti-establishment" platform:
But rather than pushing the existing party structure to the right, Tancredo is looking to take it down — a bolder version of the Ralph Nader approach. Whereas Nader insisted that his candidacy did not tip the 2000 election toward Bush, Tancredo would throw a victory party if his rogue campaign ended up putting a Democrat in office.
Tancredo said neither McInnis nor Maes could beat Hickenlooper. But by joining the race, he all but guarantees that result.