In the wake of the flashy state GOP unity celebration this week in which former U.S. Congressman Scott McInnis eliminated major opposition in his race for governor, Dan Maes says he is determined to stay in the race. Maes is a businessman from Evergreen who has so far raised a mere $16,000 or so in campaign funds. He was mild but firm in speaking to the Denver Post about his plans yesterday. But he was not so mild two weeks ago at a candidate forum in Loveland.
“We almost won in New York,” Maes told the grassroots crowd of more than 500 in Loveland, referring to the special election NY23 race that saw conservatives around the country rally behind Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, forcing Republican Party candidate Dede Scozzafava to drop out. Hoffman ultimately lost to Democrat Bill Owens but is now contesting the election results. “That race is still going on,” said Maes.
“People said maybe I should run for state senate… Let me tell you. Governor is an executive position. It’s not a legislative playground. I have executive experience. And if each one of you gives $10 to this white-haired lady sitting here by the stage for me, then I could fight against that monster the Republican Party is propping up here in Colorado.”
By “monster,” Maes meant McInnis, who was one of only a few 2010 GOP candidates not to make it to the forum hosted by local Tea Party and Glenn Beck-inspired 9/12 groups.
Mcinnis was busy. Earlier that week he had succeeded in pushing his major rival Josh Penry out of the race apparently by winning over the major GOP donors in the state. Penry was caught out by the maneuvering. When news leaked from Washington D.C. that he was dropping out, Penry had been running full-steam for months in a race that suddenly had a limited financial future. More than that, continuing might jeopardize his standing with the state’s major conservative players. When arch-conservative former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Penry supporter, fired up the Colorado GOP base by suggesting he might run in Penry’s place, McInnis also brought him into the fold, asking Tancredo to join Penry in helping draft a campaign platform they could all agree upon– the so-called “Platform for Prosperity” unveiled Monday to great fanfare. It worked. The Tank has been stopped in his tracks.
Which leaves Dan Maes and his white-haired money collector, and today’s Post story documents the soft power being used against them:
Thanks, but no thanks, is Dan Maes’ response when fellow Republicans urge him to drop out of the governor’s race and run for the state Senate.
Maes said McInnis’ supporters, in particular, have suggested he drop out of the governor’s race. Maes is not perceived as a major threat to McInnis, but Republicans want to present a unified front in their effort to unseat Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Maes said, adding he has been encouraged by other Republicans who have called or e-mailed to ask him to stay in the contest.
Maes has always been the underdog in the Republican primary. The Evergreen businessman has raised only $16,315, compared with Penry’s $400,286 and McInnis’ $544,779.
“The brutal reality of a statewide race is you have to raise money,” said Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
Said Penry: “Dan is entitled to run. It’s a free country. But he also needs to step back and look at where he can make the largest contribution. Lots of well-funded candidates have lost. I’ve never heard of one who has no money and won.”
Obama campaign adviser Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton a monster based on Clinton’s old school tactics in the storied Democratic Party presidential primary last year. Power resigned from the Obama campaign and apologized. But Clinton’s tactics only got more monstrous and Obama won.
The Colorado governor’s election is still a year away.