The victory of political novice Dan Maes in the Colorado Republican gubernatorial primary last night likely drove a stake in any unofficial state GOP plan to ask U.S. Senate primary loser Jane Norton to run for governor.
Six-term Congressman Scott McInnis, the scandal-plagued loser to Maes in last night’s voting, is a Colorado party insider and may well have been convinced to step down for Norton. Maes, however, is a proud party outsider over which state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams has little sway. Because Maes will not be convinced to abandon his grassroots campaign, voters on the right this year in Colorado will have to choose between Maes, the tea party Cinderella, and Tom Tancredo, the longtime right-wing icon who was so disgusted by the GOP candidates he was moved to run for governor on the American Constitution Party platform.
Conservative Denver Post columnist Chuck Plunkett yesterday wrote a wistful piece setting out a scenario by which all hopes for a GOP win in the governor’s race would not be dashed. That was in the morning, before the primary ballots were tallied. Plunkett’s complex contingent scenario has been trashed by the voters.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper must have trouble keeping his focus on the campaign trail these days. If I were in his place, I’d be laughing myself silly at the prospect of a three-way race featuring either Scott McInnis or Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo.
But is it really as bleak for the Grand Old Party as it seems every time Maes starts talking about the United Nations?
I’ve come to believe the Republicans have a shot.
Several things have to happen, of course, and all of them are long shots.
Enough Republican primary goers had to come to their senses in time to pick Scott McInnis.
In-it-to-win-it McInnis has to overcome his ego, do what’s best for his party, and step down within the very near future.
Campaigning around the state over the last year, former Lieutenant Governor Norton has built name recognition and a statewide staff and some level of experience on the stump.
But McInnis disappointed his party, again. He lost, leaving Wadhams to contend with Maes and leaving Norton twisting in the wind, a mere primary loser instead of a potential savior– and giving Tom “the Tanc” Tancredo absolutely no reason to do anything but what he’s good at and what he clearly loves to do: forge ahead with guns blazing, taking no prisoners, ratcheting up the rhetoric, and leaving a trail of rich media accounts all along the way.