Tancredo Breaks Million Dollar Barrier

Tom Tancredo’s bid for the Presidency went from what? to hmmm… today with the news that his exploratory committee has raised more than $1 million. But he’s still a long way from wow!

Tancredo announced that he had reached his goal of raising $1 million in the first quarter of 2007, and as M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News reports, it may be changing his political direction. Read on after the jump.

Rep. Tom Tancredo has raised more than $1 million for his exploratory presidential bid, saying that makes it far more likely he will follow through with a full-fledged candidacy.

Tancredo, R-Littleton, said he’s aware of the daunting odds he faces going up against bigger-name Republican contenders who have millions more dollars in the bank.

Still, he said he takes heart in the large number of average folks – backers of his hard-line stand against illegal immigration – who have made small contributions averaging $59 on the Team Tancredo web site.

“It’s amazing to me,” Tancredo said. “I know we’re going to be a long way from the war chests that are out there. On the other hand, I feel like I’ve got more people that are committed to me and the ideas I represent than a lot of these other guys.”

Tancredo put himself in the second-tier of Republican contenders, behind front-runners like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Still, he had set a goal of raising $1 million for his exploratory committee, Tancredo for a Secure America, by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Crossing that goal, “kicks my enthusiasm level up about a million times,” Tancredo said in phone interview.

“It just simply means it’s certainly more likely that we will announce I will be a candidate for president,” he said.

He’ll make a final decision within two weeks.

Does this mean that Tancredo is on his way to the White House? No, of course not. Tancredo’s million is nice, but Mitt Romney raised $6.5 million on a single day of calling in January…and he’s running a distant third in the polls at this point.

What Tancredo’s modest fundraising does mean is that he can probably raise enough money to run a full-fledged Presidential campaign, which means that he’ll have the resources to make the kind of noise he wants to make. It could be enough to get him on the radar for a potential cabinet post should a Republican win the Presidency in 2008.

More importantly for Colorado, Tancredo’s fundraising success means that he is less likely than ever to run for re-election to his congressional seat. Several Republicans, including state Sens. Tom Wiens and Ted Harvey, and Wil Armstrong, son of GOP patriarch Bill Armstrong, have already been putting together shell campaigns for taking a run at CD-6 in the event that Tancredo doesn’t run for re-election; expect them, and others, to speed up the process in the next couple of weeks.

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