Former Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo — most recently known for throwing the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial race into disarray when he dumped the GOP and ran as maverick third-party candidate — is once again considering running for the state’s highest office.
Popular among conservatives because of his strict stances against illegal immigration and for gun rights but blamed by others as being among the factors causing the state GOP to implode, Tancredo’s testing of the waters has been met with mixed reactions.
“I don’t know who’s more concerned about this possibility, the Republicans or the Democrats,” Tancredo quipped on 630 KHOW radio Thursday morning.
In 2010, Tancredo was unhappy with the two Republican candidates competing in the primary, Dan Maes and Scott McInnis. McInnis had been caught up in a plagiarism scandal and Maes was fined $17,500 for campaign finance violations.
Tancredo publicly threatened to quit the party and run as an American Constitution Party candidate if both men didn’t bow out so that the GOP could find someone else to run against then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
The threat led to one of the more memorable moments on Colorado talk radio, when Tancredo clashed with then-GOP party chairman Dick Wadhams. Tancredo said Wadhams had told him that McInnis was “untrustworthy” and that Maes’s campaign was “a joke.”
Wadhams denied that characterization of the conversations, but the party’s public meltdown led to handy win for Hickenlooper. Tancredo came in an admirable second place with 36 percent of the vote. Maes, a long-shot Republican even without a vote-splitting candidate on the ballot, earned only 11 percent of the vote.
“It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a campaign,” Tancredo said on the radio Thursday.
Tancredo, who has since switched his affiliation back to Republican, told the Denver Post that he hasn’t yet decided on a 2014 run.