Maes tops McInnis for governor among GOP delegates

LOVELAND– Both major Republican candidates for governor will be on the August primary ballot. Dan Maes edged out Scott McInnis 1741-1725, taking 49.35 percent of the vote.

Dan Maes

“Wow,” Maes said after hearing the vote announced.

“This is about you. This is about the people standing up and making their voices heard, telling us what is important, telling us what you want from government and not the other way around. We are just getting warmed up,” he told the few hundred people who stayed to the end of the assembly at the Budweiser Event Center here.

“I’m speechless. I‘m asking you to give me a chance. Don’t fight me. Get on the train because we are leaving the station. There are those who have been waiting and watching, asking Is this guy for real? Can we really do it? Did we do it?” he asked the screaming crowd before launching into a fundraising spiel.

Earlier in the day, appealing for votes from the capacity crowd of 3,531 voters plus alternates, the two main candidates for governor, Maes and former Congressman Scott McInnis, left no doubt where they stand on immigration, taxes, abortion and gay marriage. To hear them tell it, they are each the true conservative in the race. They are each to the right of the other. Make no mistake about that.

Dan Maes was introduced as the “most conservative candidate for governor.”

He spoke of the “conservative revolution” he would usher in as governor.

“I’ve put more than 70,000 miles on my car while running for governor. As I was doing this, something new was happening; it’s called the tea party.” He said he has been to more tea party events than any other candidate.

“I have heard you speak loudly. You are tired of illegal immigrants running over your state. I’m here to help and I’m not from the government,” he said to loud applause.

“I am of Judeo-Christian faith. I will not give another inch on the sanctity of life.”

He said Americans need no excuse to own firearms: the Second Amendment guarantees that right.

He said he will cut taxes and bring back energy jobs he claims have left, trading on a GOP theme not supported by facts on the ground, where gas drilling is booming.

Maes has been plagued in the last week by a legal complaint concerning his campaign finances. As the Colorado Independent reported, documents filed with the Secretary of State reveal that, since October, Maes has been paid $33,135 by his campaign for mileage. Since January, the campaign paid him $7,599 for other expenses and since February, Maes has received a flat $5,000 a month for mileage.

“He says he’s just paying himself back but these are scary, ridiculous numbers,” said Erik Groves, who filed the complaint on behalf of Christopher Klitzke. “It looks like he is paying himself a salary. We looked at where he has traveled and it doesn’t match up in terms of justifying such high mileage reimbursement.” Groves agreed to suspend action on the complaint until after the delegate assembly today.

The complaint certainly didn’t seem to cost Maes support.

Scott McInnis was introduced by Margo Knudsen, who said she had been a Maes supporter for a year, but switched sides because she thinks McInnis has a better chance of beating Democratic nominee John Hickenlooper. She exhorted Republicans not to drag the race for the nomination out until August, but to pick McInnis today.

“On Day One I will reverse the executive order that unionized all state agencies,” McInnis promised. “I will stand by the governor of Arizona. I will stand by Tom Tancredo to protect our borders.”

He said any attempt to dilute the Tabor Amendment would be met by his veto pen.

“When it comes to tax increases that kill jobs, those tax increases will not go by the governor’s office. There is a new day coming.”

As he was going after Hickenlooper for being soft on immigration, he was cut off by party chair Dick Wadhams for reaching the 12-minute limit on speeches. “When you think of open doors and sanctuary cities, you think of Hickenlooper,” he said.

McInnis had left for his daughter’s wedding before the results were announced and was not available for comment immediately.

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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