Here come Tancredo and the 26 percenters

The sound you hear is a muffled cheer from inside the confines of the governor’s office. Tom Tancredo is in, and John Hickenlooper, who hasn’t exactly been buoyed by the headlines recently, has to be thrilled.

Not only has Tancredo officially petitioned his way onto the ballot, there is a reasonable chance that four Republicans will appear on the primary ballot, which would give Tancredo a great chance to win the race to face Hickenlooper in November.  (Yes, that was another cheer you heard. Someone just told Hickenlooper he may not have to jump out of another airplane.)

The only thing better for Tancredo would be for five candidates to make the ballot. If you can remember all the way back to 1998 you might recall that  Tancredo won a five-way primary in the 6th Congressional District, with — get this — 26 percent of the vote. He served five terms, even though his big issue was, yes, term limits. That’s our Tom.

Here’s the 2014 scenario:

Tancredo, who was worried that he might not have collected enough valid signatures, now doesn’t have to compete in this weekend’s assembly. Neither will Bob Beauprez, who is also petitioning on and is assumed to be a lock to get his signatures. That leaves the the rest of the field working the assembly, where candidates need 30 percent of the delegates to make the ballot.

The conventional wisdom is that Scott Gessler will make it easily. That means the race for the fourth slot is likely between Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp, although Steve House could conceivably sneak in. Of course, Gessler could get enough votes to keep everyone under 30 (Roni Sylvester is also running). If Gessler gets under 40 percent, though, two other candidates – do the math — could make it.

I’d bet on four candidates in total, meaning that if Tancredo can hang on to his loyal Tancredistas, he could win the primary with — more math alert — another 26 percenter. Why does this thrill Hickenlooper? In 2010, Tancredo got 36 percent of the vote in the Dan Maes three-way with Hick, and my guess is Tancredo hasn’t gotten any more popular since.

It’s no easy matter handicapping the primary, which is set for June 24. Gessler would get the hyperpartisan, stop-poor-people-from-voting vote, Beauprez the he’s-got-to-do-better-than-last-time vote, Brophy/Kopp/House either the gun vote or the let’s-try-the-guy-with-no-name-recognition vote, and Tancredo the Tancredo vote.

And Hickenlooper would be glad that Cory Gardner is running for the Senate.



  1. So Colorado Pols is now reporting a rumor that Tancredo might be a candidate for the Jeffco School Board. While I very much hope this is a rumor since I actually have kids in the district, I’m hoping you might take up the matter. With all the school board drama here lately, a great Littwin column would at least take the edge off and make me chuckle. Pretty please?

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