McInnis warned Schaffer against misplacing mountains last year

Last spring, when U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer hastily pulled a campaign ad picturing Alaska’s Mount McKinley and replaced it with one featuring Colorado landmark Pikes Peak, Scott McInnis didn’t have much sympathy, but he did have some stern words of warning for his fellow Republican.

Such mishaps tend to accumulate, said former 3rd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican.

“They can afford this one, but one or two more and that’s all you can absorb,” he said.

That’s according to a May 14, 2008, article by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Gary Harmon (sub. req.) (h/t TCI reader jonragnar)

This week, the freshly minted McInnis for Governor campaign had its own mountain mixup.

The McInnis campaign’s Web site launched Thursday morning with a prominent mountain view featured on its main page. Only problem? McInnis used a gorgeous photo of the Canadian Rockies behind the question, “What do you want for the future of Colorado?”

After a group of suspicious bloggers at the political site Colorado Pols tracked the view to Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, the McInnis campaign quietly replaced the photo with one depicting the Flatirons, the craggy outcroppings that loom over Boulder.

A McInnis campaign spokesman didn’t return a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment.

But when Schaffer — who went on to lose the 2008 Senate race to Democrat Mark Udall by more than 10 points — had his own mountain mishap a year ago, McInnis had some advice for the candidate.

According to to the Daily Sentinel, McInnis said “his response would be to put out a humorous, self-deprecating ad.”

State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, a former McInnis protégé and likely rival for the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, had a different take.

“Penry said he’d rather see Schaffer go on offense” against Udall, the Daily Sentinel reported.

For those keeping track, McInnis already racked up a snafu or two before making his gubernatorial campaign official.

In April, political foes leaked a voice-mail message left by McInnis, who told a potential supporter his campaign manager was also running an independent issue campaign on his behalf. Colorado law strictly forbids coordination between campaigns and 527 committees, named after a section of the IRS code.

Colorado Ethics Watch, a nonprofit watchdog group, charged McInnis with violating campaign finance laws by engaging in campaign activities and raising money before filing candidacy forms with state election officials.

McInnis, who briefly flirted with seeking the GOP nomination for Senate two years ago before bowing out in favor of Schaffer, ruffled some Republican feathers just before the election last year when he told The Colorado Independent he would have done a better job than Schaffer running against Udall. In fact, McInnis said, he “would have beat Udall.”

The former congressman blamed more conservative members of the state Republican establishment with derailing his own candidacy for the Senate.

Penry is expected to announce his plans for the governor’s race any day now. Evergreen businessman Dan Maes has also announced he’s seeking the Republican nomination for the job.

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