Tancredo seeks to drive wedge between Maes and the Tea Party

It’s no secret that many Republicans are refusing to support GOP candidate for governor Dan Maes, whom they believe is a naif and usurper who cannot win. Maes, however, has always relied on grassroots Tea Party support and has bet his campaign on that support widening and spilling over to the mainstream. That bet looks less sure than ever.

(VictoryNH, Flickr)

Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is running for governor on the American Constitution Party ticket, is predictably playing up what he hopes are the growing ranks of disaffected Tea Partiers. Tancredo sent out a press release Monday morning listing some Tea Party defectors from the Maes camp.

Tea Party Leadership Endorses Tancredo

More than 30 tea party leaders and grassroots activists from across Colorado today announced their endorsement of gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, adding their names to a rapidly growing list of conservatives supporting the former Republican Congressman.

“The prospect of having Mayor John Hickenlooper win the governorship of the State of Colorado is unacceptable to us,” said Bob Marshall, secretary of Hear Us Now! “Colorado citizens need assurance that we are doing the best we can to support a solid and winning conservative candidate to represent us in the Colorado State Capitol. Based on polling trends and the direction that the governor’s race has taken over the course of the last several weeks, we firmly believe that candidate Tom Tancredo represents Colorado’s best choice in this race. We strongly urge you to add your support to ours – for the sake of Colorado.”

The following grassroots activists have endorsed Tom Tancredo for governor of Colorado. Their endorsements reflect their personal views and do not represent in any way the memberships or organizations to which they belong.

–Brian Campbell, co-organizer, first Denver Tea Party rally 2/27/09, co-organizer of the 2009 Denver Tax Day Tea Party, co-founder, Hear Us Now!, and former Republican candidate for CD-7

–Jenny Hatch, opening speaker for the first Denver Tea Party rally 2/27/09 and organizer of the Constitution Tea Party

–Keith Peterson, chairman and co-founder, Hear Us Now! (organizers of the 2009 and 2010 Denver Tax Day Tea Parties)

–Charles Patricoff, vice-chairman, Hear Us Now!

–Robert Marshall, secretary, Hear Us Now!

–Craig Jones, treasurer, Hear Us Now!

–Nancy McKiernan, founder, Tea Party Brewing

–Patricia Bechtoldt, co-organizer, Genesee Conservatives

–Maria Fullinwider, co-organizer, Genesee Conservatives

–Margo Knutson, co-founder/developer, Coffee4Conservatives

–Mitch Knutson, co-founder, Coffee4Conservatives

–Crista Huff, political teacher/writer

–Kathy Baker, co-organizer, The Original Colorado Tea Party, former co-organizer, Evergreen/Conifer Tea Party

–Grace Charree, co-organizer, The Original Colorado Tea Party, and organizer of the Rocky Mountain Tea Party

–Annette Cole, co-organizer, Rocky Mountain Tea Party

–Charcie Russell

–Abigail Keating, organizer, Clear Creek Tea Party

–Virginia Young, founder, Broomfield 912, founder and co-organizer, In God We Trust 912

–Jen Raiffie, conservative activist and Adams County Republican precinct committee person

–Marla Gillespie, co-organizer, In God We Trust 912, member Denver/Front Range 912

–Francesca Subramanian, co-founder and board member of a local liberty group

–Guy Pacot, grassroots activist

–Katherine Vitale, conservative grassroots activist

–Nancy Wenlock, grassroots activist

–Mick and Vickie Murray, Tancredo area captains for North El Paso County and grassroots activists in the conservative movement

–Rob Timmons, grassroots activist

–Brian Pike, co-founder and former president of Revive Our American Republic (ROAR)

–Leslie White, grassroots activist

–John Ransom, former Douglas County GOP chair and grassroots activist

–Brian Wilson, grassroots activist

–Phil and Marge North, tea partiers from Evergreen

In any other race in any other year, this list would likely not warrant a press release. (“Brian Wilson, grassroots activist” ?) But this is the year of the Tea Party and Tancredo has been chasing any hint of an erosion in Tea Party support for his rival on the right.

Indeed, Tancredo has already wrapped up much support among the GOP, and the unabashed lack of loyalty here among GOP leaders for Maes, their party’s surprise grassroots nominee, fits a national narrative among conservatives that sees the Republican Party as corrupted by incumbency and out of touch with voters.

With Maes continuing to dip in the polls and failing to raise cash, however, even the perception of significant faltering support among the Tea Party could amount to a tipping point for the struggling campaign.

Maes has repeatedly said no Republican candidate can win this year in Colorado without Tea Party support. He has tied his hopes to the Tea Party all along.

“The tea parties were born in Colorado at the same time as my candidacy. They had a message and a base. I was a candidate with a message but no base. They were looking for someone who had the same message to carry their torch, and that was me. They have made it clear that they will not hold their nose for another moderate Republican.”

The Greeley Gazette reported last month that members of the Tea Party-offshoot Glenn Beck-inspired Greeley 9-12 group were beginning to express “buyer’s remorse” with Maes. Brian Britton, head of the group, said second guessing among the group ramped up in the wake of the announcement that Maes chose mainstream politician Tambor Williams for Lt. Governor. Britton said that Republican members of the group were considering switching their support to Tancredo and that he might do the same. “I’m not so sure Dan Maes is our man anymore.” Britton isn’t on the list Tancredo sent around today but he could be on the next one.

Tancredo’s poll numbers are climbing and his fundraising is solid. Drawing increased Tea Party support is as sure a way as any to drive a stake into the Maes candidacy so Tancredo can go it alone in a head to head match up against Democrat John Hickenlooper.

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