As embarrassments continue to pile up for Colorado gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes, Republicans have been increasing the pressure on him to drop out of the race, according to the Colorado Statesman.Maes, who won the nomination in the wake of a plagiarism scandal that helped wreck the campaign of frontrunner Scott McInnis, has never held public office. He’s backed by Tea Party groups in the state, but has had a strained relationship with the mainstream Republican party. Yesterday, former Sen. Hank Brown withdrew his endorsement, one of the few high-profile Republican endorsements Maes had. The Statesman reports that names of possible replacements are once again being floated, including 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, who recently lost the Senate primary to Ken Buck.
The Maes campaign tells TPM the Republican nominee isn’t going anywhere. “Dan has no plans whatsoever to exit the race,” spokesperson Nate Strauch said in an email. Meanwhile, Maes told the Statesman yesterday that he is no longer talking to the press. (Though his phone number and email address are still listed on his campaign website.)
Maes’ apparent determination has not stopped party members from putting the screws on him. The Statesman reports that Maes spent Wednesday in DC, meeting with the Republican Governors Association. According to the Statesman, party sources say it is unlikely the RGA will support Maes — which is consistent with what the Denver Post reported last month.
Further, the few remaining Republican officials who have endorsed Maes since he won the primary are rumored to be considering following Brown’s lead and withdrawing their support.
Additionally, the Statesman quotes anonymous sources who attended a meeting on August 26 between a number of “powerful” Republicans and Maes.
“We talked about avoiding attacks that have now continued to create terrible and disastrous turmoil on his family,” one of the attendees at the closed meeting told The Statesman.
“None of us wanted to hurt him, but neither do we want him to hurt the party,” said another one of the meeting’s participants, who added that he was personally insulted and offended by Maes’ unrelenting braggadocio that night.
The host of the meeting reportedly said that third-party candidate Tom Tancredo — largely seen as a spoiler who’s inadvertently helping Democrat John Hickenlooper by splitting the conservative vote — “should be congratulated and thanked” for entering the race since Maes has “serious character flaws.”
The state’s ballot is set to be certified tomorrow, but officials tell the Statesman that there is time to make a change on the ballot. Though he maintains the party supports Maes, state GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams says that a vacancy committee would need only five-days notice to convene and change the ballot, even after certification.
Previously, Wadhams had approached Maes with an offer from Tancredo, who said he’d drop out of the race if Maes would, thereby allowing the party to pick a fresh nominee. Maes rejected the offer.
The TPM Poll Average for the race shows Hickenlooper (41.9%) leading both Maes (30.8%) and Tancredo (12.2%).