Tom Tancredo used to be something of a tea party hero. But not anymore, at least in Colorado. The ex-Congressman's foray into the state's gubernatorial race has essentially scuttled Republicans' chances in the contest -- and provoked outrage from local tea party members who feel betrayed after once counting Tancredo among their leaders.
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Earlier this year, Tancredo was a featured player on the tea party circuit, giving an opening-night speech at Tea Party Nation's big February convention in Nashville. And in Colorado, Tancredo was a big force in the movement, helping to convince tea partiers to work within the Republican party structure instead of forming a new party.
Last December, Tancredo wrote an open letter to Colorado's 9-12 activists and tea party members, urging them to "think strategically" and arguing that forming a third party in the state was "suicidal and would only result in splitting the conservative vote and guaranteeing the re-election of liberals and socialists."