GOP candidate says he won't quit Colorado governor's race

Tom Tancredo says he and Dan Maes should both bow out to allow the Republicans to look for a better option

Published August 18, 2010 10:15PM (EDT)

The Republican gubernatorial candidate in Colorado rejected an offer on Wednesday from former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo for both men to get out of the race and let the party pick a new candidate.

State Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams said he delivered the offer to Republican nominee Dan Maes after Tancredo offered it as a compromise to give Republicans a chance to win back the governor's office in November. Tancredo bolted from the party last month to run as an American Constitution Party candidate.

"Tom Tancredo contacted me late Monday to indicate he would withdraw from the race for governor if Dan Maes did so as well," Wadhams said. "I asked Tom for the opportunity to present this offer to Dan Maes, which I did do this morning. I felt it was my responsibility as state chairman to inform Dan of this offer since it held open the possibility of eliminating the current three-way race that gives the Democratic candidate a huge advantage."

Maes beat challenger Scott McInnis in the GOP primary last Tuesday after both men rejected a demand from Tancredo that they get out of the race and let the party pick a new candidate if polls showed neither man could beat Hickenlooper after the primary.

Since then, Maes has been struggling to get support from national party leaders who doubt the party can win if Tancredo stays in the race.

Tancredo's spokesman, Cliff Dodge, said Tancredo made the offer because he believes Maes has no chance of beating Democrat John Hickenlooper in November. He said the compromise included a stipulation that neither Republican be a candidate for a Republican vacancy committee.

"The answer was two letters: N-O," Dodge said.

Maes spokesman Nate Strauch said if Tancredo wants to participate in the governor's race, "he should go through the nominating process like everybody else."

Wadhams said he respects the decisions of both candidates and said he will continue to back Maes.

By Steven K. Paulson

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2010 Elections Republican Party Tom Tancredo