Tancredo Runs for the Iowa Border; Leaves Campaign in the Dust?

It appears Tom Tancredo’s quixotic presidential bid is coming to a screeching halt with today’s announcement of a major announcement on Thursday afternoon in Des Moines, Iowa.Speculation is rife in the media and political blogs that the Colorado congressman from Littleton is calling it quits before the Iowa caucus.

In recent days, Tancredo’s single-issue bully pulpit campaign has deflated like a day-old chalupa.

According to M.E. Sprengelmeyer’s Back roads to the White House, close Tancredo allies in the anti-immigration movement endorsed other presidential candidates:

First, Jim Gilchrist, founder of The Minuteman Project, announced he was backing former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Then Tancredo’s friend and close congressional ally, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, endorsed former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee.

Earlier this month on the left-leaning Alternet, Max Blumenthal resurrected the sketchy circumstances behind Tancredo’s hiring of undocumented immigrants to remodel his basement rec room.

When Tancredo hired a construction crew to transform his drab basement into a high-tech pleasure den in October 2001, however, he did not express concern that only two of its members spoke English. Nor did he bother to check the workers’ documentation to see if they were legal residents of the United States. Had Tancredo done so, he would have learned that most of the crew consisted of undocumented immigrants, or “criminal aliens” as he likes to call them. Instead, Tancredo paid the crew $60,000 for its labor and waited innocently for the completion of his elaborate entertainment complex.

Today came a bizarre pissing match between the Tancredo camp, which has been bleeding supporters, and fellow congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul.

In an article posted on the right-wing Web site USA Daily, Tancredo demanded that Paul clarify statements made by a supporter on a Web site run by Paul’s former chief of staff, Lew Rockwell:

“This letter written on behalf of Ron Paul labels the Minutemen as racists, supports a pathway to citizenship, and denounces assimilation and the use of the English language in America,” Tancredo said. “Congressman Paul needs to write off this radical diatribe as nothing more than a rogue supporter misusing his name, or publicly support the views that are exhibited in this letter.”

In October, the five-term congressman set off a mad dash within the Colorado GOP when Tancredo said he would not seek re-election to his CD-6 seat. Later, he hinted that he may consider a run for Senate. Of Colorado’s two Senate seats, republican Wayne Allard is retiring in 2008 and democrat Ken Salazar is up for re-election in 2010.

Stay tuned to Colorado Confidential for the latest developments from Salon F at the downtown Des Moines Marriott. The major announcement is slated for 1 p.m. MST.