Colorado Republican Party Could Lose More in the Governor’s Race than the Election

In an election year that seems to favor Republicans nationally, there’s a whole different story unfolding here in the Centennial State in the gubernatorial campaign. The Republican candidate Dan Maes has lost support even among the party faithful due largely to being caught in a lie about his law enforcement background in Kansas back in the ‘80s. Most of the grass roots support among conservatives has gone to former Republican congressman turned American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo.

I’m by no means a fan or supporter of Tom Tancredo but I do find this turn of events to be quite amusing. Conservatives have been pleading with Meas (the Republican) to withdraw from the race as he stands to spoil Tancredo’s (the third party candidate) chances of beating the Democrat, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (and recent polling suggests that if Tancredo takes more votes from Maes, Tancredo stands a decent chance of actually winning).

But it gets even better. The Denver Daily News reports:

A poor showing for Maes Nov. 2 could have serious implications for the Republican Party in Colorado. If the candidate fails to garner at least 10 percent of the vote, Republicans could be relegated to minor party status for the next two election cycles, meaning they would appear lower on the ballot and could only receive half as much in donations as Democrats.

The Republican Party to become a “minor party” for the next two election cycles? How great would that be: one of the two major parties having to see what life is like for third parties and their candidates? With the polling as it stands now, it appears that no candidate will win more than 50% of the vote. If Hickenlooper wins, maybe it will be conservatives who will champion the ideas that third party candidates have been championing for some time like range voting or instant runoff voting.

The article continues:

“In a telephone interview, Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams said he does not believe the Colorado Legislature would allow Republicans to become a minor party.

Whether Maes makes the 10 percent mark, Wadhams said he expects Colorado leaders to change to rule.

“That’s something I’m not too worried about right now,” he said.

Isn’t that just like our two party system? When they don’t get their way they work to change the rules?

Hopefully whatever happens, third parties will be better able to compete in future elections in Colorado as a result of this wildly entertaining campaign.

  • sundancedave

    Dan Maes is a crook and never should have been the Republican nominee apparently he is too egotistical and selfish to drop out. It will be Maes fault and only this crooks fault when the Colorado Repulican Party gets downgraded to a third party. I really hope Tancredo wins as he has a good chance to, but even he dosen’t it is better to have a Democrat governor than a crooked Republican

  • Greg

    Drop Maes and vote TANCREDO! We cannot stand to have another democrat in charge of the great state of Colorado!

    Someone offer Maes incentive to drop out! Like, free ego repair.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy

    It is very telling that the GOP Chairman suddenly thinks this “minor party” nonsense is a problem now.

    Forgive me if I think this positions is more selfish than principled. Still, if that what it takes to get the law changed.

    But I won’t be impressed unless they opt for a fair, open field.

  • Clay Shentrup

    Well, Range Voting (more often called “Score Voting” lately), is an actual solution to the spoiler problem. Instant Runoff Voting is NOT, despite common myth to the contrary. A simple example is the last IRV election for mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

    There was a bloc of voters who preferred Republican over Democrat over Progressive, who could have caused the Democrat to win instead of the Progressive if they had insincerely ranked the Democrat in first place. This was similar in principle to how you could get Bush because you voted for Nader.

    The simplest form of Score Voting is called Approval Voting. The ballot looks completely normal, but you can vote for as many candidates as you want, instead of being limited to just one. Approval Voting is mathematically the same as scoring the candidates on a 0 to 1 “scale”, which is why it’s still a form of Score Voting. It has the nice benefit of being vastly simpler than IRV, plus it can NEVER EVER punish you for supporting your favorite candidate, unlike IRV can (and DID in Burlington).

    Nader’s former running mate, Matt Gonzalez, allowed me to post this essay on the subject.

    Colorado Republicans really ought to consider getting Approval Voting enacted. In the short term, it will save them from spoilers. And while it may allow for the emergence of third party rivals, that will probably take many years, so today’s party power brokers will get more good than bad out of the deal.

  • Stephen Littau

    Personally, I’m not so concerned whether Hickenlooper or Tancredo wins; what I’m hoping for on election day is that Maes gets less than 10% of the vote. My mantra for this race is “vote for anyone but Maes.”

    I did my part by voting for Jaimes Brown, the Libertarian candidate.