In Colorado, a bizarre three-way race for governor has given liberal Denver mayor John Hickenlooper an unlikely lead over Republican Dan Maes and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo, even in an unfriendly political environment.
But on a radio show clip about the gay community, dug up by Complete Colorado, Hickenlooper let slip a sentiment that isn’t likely to help him in the more conservative, rural parts of the state he must win over. When asked by the radio host Eden Lane why the Matthew Shepard Foundation had chosen to locate in Denver, Hickenlooper responded:
Hickenlooper: I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming. Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico.
Lane: We’re neighbors.
Hickenlooper: Right. And in a sense we’re all a community. And, at the same time, Denver has, I think, one of the more robust, politically active gay and lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered communities, really in the United States.
The whole transcript is here. The Republican candidate Maes, an unvetted Tea-Party figure whose candidacy has imploded since he got the nomination, has fallen to about 10 percent in polls, leading Tancredo and other prominent Republicans to urge him to drop out of the race to prevent a Hickenlooper victory. Thus far Maes has refused to do so, handing Hickenlooper an easier road to victory, but Hickenlooper may have changed the course of the race himself with his own “bitter clinger” moment about rural Westerners.