With only days left to the General Election, here are some answers to questions commonly questions by viewers of “Colorado Election 2010 (TM)” (www.Colorado2010.com).
PART 1: Is Dan Maes A Factor?
Q: Will Dan Maes drop out of the Governor’s race?
A: Maes won’t drop out. While he is no fan of John Hickenlooper, he loathes Tom Tancredo— who he correctly sees as someone who first made a commitment to guarantee Maes would not win the race (and Tancredo succeeded) and then as someone who intensified his attacks on Maes in an effort to get him out of the race (because Tancredo soon far surpassed Maes in the polls and became the only viable competition for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper).
Furthermore, Maes never had a long-term relationship with or deep ties to the Republican Party and, therefore, simply does not have the same concerns about the importance of not ceding the office to the Democrats due to upcoming Reapportionment and Redistricting. And because “positive incentives” are a no-no these days (and are more difficult to hide than ever — cf. the “job offers” to Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and Andrew Romanoff here in Colorado ), everyone is too scared to suggest Maes might get a well-paying job in the event he left the race. The bottomline is there simply isn’t anyone who can influence Maes to quit and, because he won the Primary Election, he feels strongly he should continue as the standard bearer of the Republican Party.
Q. What about the fact the Republican Party will become a “minor” party if Maes, as its gubernatorial candidate, gets below 10% of the vote?
A: It is highly unlikely Maes will get below 10% but, even if he does, the 2011 General Assembly probably will change the law in recognition that the Colorado Republican Party has more registered voters than any other party. This is a great way for Democrats to scare Republicans into voting for Maes rather than Tancredo but the reality is this likely is a fabricated issue.
Q: Can Maes win the race for Governor?
A: No, he cannot, primarily because his fundraising is so anemic he simply does not have the resources to reach voters. While most people, after meeting Maes in person, come away with a positive impression and even find it hard to believe how different he is from his image in the Press, the reality is he unwittingly created severe problems for himself and he does not have the resources to overcome them. Without the depth of support or the resources to overcome the hole he is in (mostly self-dug), Maes is stuck for the remainder of the campaign.
PART 2: What Can Tom Tancredo Do?
Q. Will Tancredo win the election?
A. Not likely for several reasons. First, very few people — including wealthy Republicans — thought he was more than a spoiler when he entered the race and initial polling put him in the 10% to 15% range. As a result, Republican money headed towards the already business-friendly Democratic nominee, John Hickenlooper. The upshot is the resources no longer are there for Tancredo to launch the kind of massive advertising campaign needed to catch Hickenlooper.
Second while Hickenlooper may not seem to be gaining support, he has steadily held a plurality position and that is all he needs to win. Third, Hickenlooper has an extensive statewide organization in place — something neither Maes or Tancredo can match — and made advertising buys of $ 2½ million which, because much of it was done months ago — would cost as much as $5 million to duplicate today given the strategic placement and discounted rates astutely secured by the Hickenlooper campaign.
Q. What would it take to change this race?
A. Even Maes dropping out wouldn’t matter much because his name will still be on the ballot and he likely would get 10% of the vote even if he left the State today. It might help Tancredo by 1 or 2 points, at best. That will make winning next to impossible for Tancredo as a third party candidate. While Maes and Tancredo’s votes when combined together might exceed Hickenlooper’s, that is not how the next Governor is elected. What Tancredo needs to win — and will not get — is an outside group spending $5 million incessantly attacking Hickenlooper. With a focus broader than illegal immigration (because Tancredo already is getting those votes and is beating a dead horse by continuing that emphasis) — targeting issues related to police brutality, higher taxes, failed schools, et cetera — such an effort could reduce Hickenlooper’s support by the 5 or 6 points needed for Tancredo to creep ahead of him. Tancredo and his allies could have had a chance if the resources were there to reach voters but they have failed to materialize.
Q. Why will Hickenlooper win?
A. The bottomline is Hickenlooper is a moderate Democrat who has great support within the business community. While it is true he has raised taxes, he did so by going to voters and asking their permission. And while the Denver Police Department has fallen down far too many times, given the size of the force, he still can successfully make the “It’s just a few bad apples” argument. The public schools issues are a weakness but he can argue it actually is not the Mayor’s responsibility (it isn’t) although he did make an effort to improve a terrible situation. Most importantly, Hickenlooper is likely to win given the choices voters have — (1) a Republican nominee crippled by self-inflicted wounds and a Press which pursued him ruthlessly and (2) a candidate officially representing a party whose platform the vast majority of Colorado voters would reject if they knew what it said and who simply entered the race too late to succeed in organizing a truly statewide campaign and getting it adequately funded.
To watch interviews with all the candidates, go to http://www.Colorado2010.com.
Aaron Harber hosts “The Aaron Harber Show” seen on Channel 3 KCDO-TV (K3 Colorado) on Sundays at 8:00 pm and at www.HarberTV.com. He also hosts “Colorado Election 2010 TM” seen Sundays at 8:30 pm on Channel 3 and on Mondays at 8:00 pm on COMCAST Entertainment Television and is viewable 24/7 at www.Colorado2010.com. Send e-mail to Aaron@HarberTV.com. (C) Copyright 2010 by USA Talk Network, Inc. and Aaron Harber All rights reserved.