Political science prof uncovers MO behind Maes’ undercover cop claims

How to explain GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes’ now-suspect claims that he was an undercover officer with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation in the 1980s?

It’s really pretty simple, according to Colorado College political science professor Bob Loevy: “I think we have to keep in mind that in order to get elected, candidates have to do things that are notable, and they have to plead their case.”

“When people don’t have much of a record, they tend to inflate it,” he said. “Usually there is a grain of truth to what they are saying. They take a minor event and turn it into a major event. Then, their candidacy takes off or they win a major nomination and people start going through their record and asking questions. Did he really do this?

“That’s what happened here. You take an inexperienced person, someone never elected to office before, and you put them in this position and this is almost what you would expect. Someone who is more experienced is going to know that everything they say and do is going to be checked for accuracy,” Loevy said.

“Shy people do not make good politicians. Every politician knows you have to serve your constituents and then tell them about it, and they know the most important part of that is telling them about it. Well, if you don’t have much to tell, you tend to inflate what you do have.”

Loevy has been teaching political science since at CC since 1968 and is the author of numerous books on politics and government.

Maes’ website (pdf) continues to portray him as perhaps more accomplished than he is. In July, the Colorado Independent pointed out to Maes that his official campaign resume shows him as currently employed as a “partner and vice president” at Advantage Credit in Fargo, ND. When we called Advantage Credit, several people at the firm said they had never heard of Maes. He told us then that he had left the company in early 2009 to run for governor but had never updated his resume.

If he doesn’t update his resume when he is looking for a new job (governor!!), and he doesn’t update it when the inaccuracy is pointed out, when will he?

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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