Colorado Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes’ campaign is getting pretty lonely.In the wake of a scandal about Maes’ embellished tale of working undercover as a police officer in Kansas, former Sen. Hank Brown withdrew his endorsement. But the bigger blow to Maes — never a party favorite — is that tea party members have started abandoning the candidate they once backed, and are joining the increasingly loud chorus of voices calling on him to drop out. Just days ago, tea partiers were attacking Tom Tancredo for a third-party bid that seemed to derail Maes’ chances against Democrat John Hickenlooper. But things have changed, and state GOP party chair Dick Wadhams bluntly summed it up for The Denver Post:
“He has nobody left,” Wadhams said.
In the aftermath of the undercover cop controversy, Northern Colorado Tea Party director Lesley Hollywood posted on Facebook: “Alright Dan Maes — it’s time for you to go. Get out now, while the gettin’ is still good”; Tea Party organizer Janet Rowland sent an email to supporters calling Maes a “fraud”; Evergreen/Conifer Tea Party co-coordinator Connie Bierkan told the Post the movement “has created a monster”; Western Slope Conservative Alliance president Jennifer Bailey called him “disappointing”; and R Block Party co-founder Nikki Mata said “it’s become increasingly difficult” to support Maes, adding that his problems would hurt the rest of the ticket.
Yesterday, Maes met with 9.12 Project Colorado Coalition members. The group’s chair, Lu Busse, told Westword: “A group of us need to speak to Dan Maes and hear his side first. It is possible that the current issues are more media hype and spin rather than actual facts as several stories about him have been, so we owe it to Mr. Maes to hear his answers to our members’ questions before possibly adding to the spin and speculation.” The Post reports that members left that meeting “without a statement of support.”
Maes has been insisting that he’s staying in the race (Thursday, Maes tweeted his resolve: “Do not waier! Never quit!” he wrote), but names have been floated as possible replacements, and though the ballot is set to be certified today, officials say there is wiggle room if a change is made. Yesterday, Maes appeared at a taping of the first gubernatorial debate, set to air tonight. “I get you. I understand your needs,” Maes told voters in his closing arguments, according to the Post.
The TPM Poll Average for the Colorado gubernatorial race shows Maes (30.8%) trailing Democrat John Hickenlooper (41.9%), but leading Tancredo (12.2%).