With 100% of precincts reporting, Maes leads McInnis 50.6%-49.3%, according to The Denver Post. Maes leads by about 5,000 votes out of nearly 400,000 counted. The Associated Press called the race for Maes.
According to The Denver Post, Maes told supporters last night that "I am confident I am your Republican candidate for governor." McInnis, on the other hand, seemed to stop short of conceding, telling his own supporters to "go home, get some sleep and we'll know results in the morning."
It hasn't been a smooth ride for Maes. Back in June, the Tea Party-friendly businessman was trailing McInnis big in the polls. A few weeks ago, he was forced to pay thousands in campaign finance fines, and his self-crafted narrative of executive experience was called into question after the release of tax returns showed him struggling to earn a living while running a credit reporting business.
Over the last week, Maes has been ridiculed for suggesting that the city of Denver's bicycle program was some sort of UN plot -- a stance he later scrambled to explain.
But those problems turned out to be smaller than his opponent's. The Denver Post pretty much undid McInnis' campaign a few weeks ago, when it reported incidents of plagiarism in a series of articles on water policy McInnis was paid $300,000 to write in 2005 and 2006.
Still, Maes' victory comes with an asterisk. In the wake of his and McInnis' struggles, the intractable Tom Tancredo demanded that they both pledge to drop out of the race after the primary, allowing the party to pick a fresh nominee. When they refused, Tancredo entered the race himself. And recent polling suggests that Tancredo's presence essentially dooms the Republicans' chances against Democrat John Hickenlooper.