THURSDAY UPDATE #6: The Wall Street Journal puts Dan Maes’ name in lights again, accorded the no-small honor of Quote of the Day:
Enjoy the ride, Mr. Maes. Whatever happens tomorrow, he’s writing his poetry and the newspapers are printing it.
THURSDAY UPDATE #5: FOX 31′s Eli Stokols Tweets from today’s debate:
THURSDAY UPDATE #4: This is all becoming really very silly. Former Senate President, and Republican right-wing standard bearer, John Andrews issued this statement this morning:
This morning I called Dan Maes to withdraw my endorsement and urge him to end his candidacy, for the public good. As a conscientious Republican who earlier voted for Dan, I cannot support a manifestly unfit nominee. He has flunked his job interview with the people of Colorado in the weeks since Scott McInnis faded. The party should cut Maes loose if he does not resign the nomination. I intend to write in a vote for Jane Norton for Governor. [Pols emphasis]
Jane Norton? This makes perfect sense. Try to kick out someone who won the Republican primary in order to replace him with someone who lost a primary election of her own. We’ve absolutely reached the point where this is causing more harm than good for Republicans, whether or not they can convince Maes to withdraw.
THURSDAY UPDATE #3: There is a Gubernatorial debate scheduled to be taped today at Noon as a joint production between Colorado Public Television (CPT12) and CBS 4. The debate is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, which could be a bit odd if Maes did withdraw from the race.
THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Moments ago, Dan Maes posted this defiant-sounding update to his Facebook page. Does this read like a man about to pull out of this race?
THURSDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Statesman’s Jody Strogoff confirms much of this story in a detailed must-read report this morning: renewed pressure to withdraw, a few days of expressed leeway by the Secretary of State’s office should a vacancy committee be necessary, and a twist you may not have expected: Bob Beauprez waiting in the wings?
According to sources in the Colorado Republican Party and elsewhere interviewed Wednesday by The Colorado Statesman, major escalating problems and daunting revelations about Maes’ gubernatorial candidacy – with still more possible bombshells to drop – could unravel any hopes Maes has to stay on as the GOP standard bearer by Friday, prompting the state party to convene a special vacancy committee to select a new nominee after the required five-day advance notice. If that happened, the meeting could be held Tuesday, Sept. 7, and a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said that even though the general election ballot is set to be certified this Friday, Sept. 3, there is probably enough wiggle room for county clerks to update ballots next week if necessary…
Although Wadhams would not discuss possible scenarios for replacing his party’s nominee, he confirmed Wednesday night that the required five-day advance notice under state election law would allow a vacancy committee to meet as early as next Tuesday, if it became necessary. Colorado secretary of state spokesman Richard Coolidge confirmed that county clerks have some leeway to order ballots printed, and agreed that changes could still be made…
“I’m flattered,” Beauprez said when asked whether he might step in. “What I have told them is that, if a vacancy were ever to occur, I’d entertain the phone call to think about it seriously. I like to think I have plenty of gas in the tank and plenty to give. But it’s a bit idle (to talk about) now. First things first,” Beauprez cautioned.
That being said, Beauprez acknowledged that he would be “a better candidate than I was in 2006,” and emphasized that he has learned from that experience.
“I believe that was a job that had my experience and credentials and passion written all over it,” he said about the governor’s race four years ago. “That hasn’t changed. I still have another rodeo in me. If that vacancy were to occur, I would take the candidacy discussion very seriously,” he said.
Original post follows–major developments likely today.
A series of events in the last 24 hours leaves us more or less convinced that GOP leadership has commenced one final concerted attempt to force gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes out of the race. This morning, the Denver newspaper published long-rumored information about Maes’ brief record as a police officer in Kansas, showing where Maes has possibly embellished his record and subsequently removed said embellishments from his campaign website.
It’s not a new story–inferences about Maes’ time as a cop in Liberal, Kansas 25 years ago, a job from which he was fired, have been widely circulated. We’re not downplaying the story, because it’s obviously the last thing Maes needs, but the story certainly doesn’t seem any worse than, for example, Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois–who despite revelations of much bigger exaggerations about his military service record remains the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate in that state.
But it seems to be the pretext that Colorado GOP kingpins were looking for.
We’ve reported in this space about at least two not-so-secret attempts by GOP chairman Dick Wadhams and other powerbrokers to force Maes out since his narrow primary win over Scott McInnis at the beginning of the month. Today, allegedly on the strength of this report about Maes’ history as a police officer, Karen Crummy reports at the Denver newspaper’s blog that former Sen. Hank Brown is withdrawing his endorsement of Maes, and Bob Beauprez is calling on Maes to pull out, while Allison Sherry writes that leading “9/12″ groups in the state are demanding a meeting with Maes before the end of the week. Maes himself was summoned to DC on a red-eye flight this morning according to FOX 31′s Eli Stokols–either for recommitment from the Republican Governor’s Association like his spokesman hopes, but more likely something else.
First of all, we don’t buy that the “9/12″ groups–who, mind you, are not the ‘Tea Party’ and subject to their own influences–are spontaneously rising up against Maes, any more than we think Hank Brown didn’t know all about Maes when he endorsed him. After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there’s very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches.
Look, folks, we’ve been clear about our estimation of Maes’ chance at winning the governor’s race, and we understand on a bare strategic level why Wadhams and the other Republican kingmakers want him out. But what you are seeing play out here, far too publicly, is seriously jeopardizing prospects for GOP success in Colorado–up and down the ticket. What they’re basically asking is for the voters to get behind a fourth gubernatorial candidate: after forcing Josh Penry out of the race, watching McInnis self-immolate, and now with the Republican brass trying one last time to veto the choice made by almost 200,000 Republican rank-and-file voters.
And for all the angst about Maes among GOP leadership, why don’t the voters share it?
Tom Tancredo is substantially underperforming expectations in polls. Obviously, with a Congressional resume, long history, and very high name recognition, Tancredo has assets in his favor that should make him competitive with Maes–especially as Maes stumbles–but his numbers have steadily declined from their peak. As Tancredo’s numbers have unexpectedly weakened, and as Maes has weathered repeated attempts to force him out, many Republicans we’ve talked to have been more interested in stabilizing the situation so they can proceed where they have an advantage–not another day of uncertainty in the governor’s race. They said so a couple of weeks ago when Wadhams acted as Tancredo’s emissary in that attempt to force Maes out of the race.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the negative reports on Maes in the last few days that either was not known or warrants on merit another attempt to force Maes out. And yet here we are.
With all the stops pulled out in a last-ditch effort to have their way, hoping Friday’s important-yet-obscure deadline can be beat without inspiring rebellion, there’s just not a lot of pretense left to hide behind. And you can’t tell us, no matter how optimistic Republicans are for success across the nation, that this weakness and disorganization at the top of Colorado’s Republican ticket doesn’t imperil much more than this race.
As for Maes? What possible incentive could you offer him to not ride this coaster all the way? Maes is the only man on either side with absolutely, positively nothing to lose here.