Why exactly is minor party-Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes and his dwindling cadre of political backers trying to foist on Colorado a story that he bravely resisted efforts to buy him out of the race? It sure looks like the victim card is being played, unfortunately without the truth to back it up. The bottom line is that any proposed deal came from Maes and his allies, and that at all points Tom Tancredo and his closest advisers have communicated clearly that no job will be given to 10-point Dan Maes to buy him out of the race.
What started out as an innuendo-laden note from Dan Maes insider Joe Harrington’s Facebook page (and echoed on Maes’ own page) was effectively disinfected by the sunlight of Rossputin’s clarifying blog post this morning:
Joe’s story, however, is at best misleading and I cannot stand by – even without being overtly named – and let claims go unchallenged.
The implication of Joe’s story is that I and others contacted him trying to solicit a deal for Dan Maes. This is turning the true story on its head…and I can and will prove it here.
You can read on from the source to see that the claims Rossputin was involved in an attempt to buy Maes out of the race are utterly without merit. Rossputin wasn’t the only one Harrington tried to pursue about getting a deal for Dan Maes.
More than a week ago political consultant and former Douglas County Republican Party chairman John Ransom shared with me an email he received indirectly from Harrington, an email that substantiates Rossputin’s claims. I didn’t publish it right away because the original recipient of Harrington’s email said it wasn’t presented as an official offer from the Maes camp. But when Harrington decided to dredge up the claims that the deal-making were being initiated by Tancredo’s team, I felt impelled to share what I have learned. So here below is a copy of the email (with the recipient’s name removed) in which Harrington proposes a poll be conducted among Republicans about what Maes should do:
From: Joe Harrington
Date: October 7, 2010 12:54:57 PM MDT
To: ____________ <______ @________>
Subject: Re: Your phone call
This captures the thought process and a conceptual proposal for a statement by Maes.
I like your proposal of a poll of Republicans (maybe precinct persons only?) as a better way to eliminate fraud in the results.
I also think that it would be better to change the wording for either their calls in, or the poll sent out, proposed in bold below to read instead (as shown in italics):
Therefore I will be asking you over the next 48 hours to provide the people calling you the following information : 1) do you support me staying in the race for Governor, and having Tancredo join my ticket as a partner during the campaign, and after the election be appointed as Lieutenant Governor to the Maes Administration, or 2) Would you rather that I continue campaigning, but as a partner of Mr. Tancredo against these Democrat policies, and after the election for my team to join a Tancredo Administration as his Lieutenant Governor.
Any calls for me to drop out completely do not comport with the commitment I made to become the Nominee of my Party, and without your clear preference in this poll for me to join a Tancredo ticket I cannot drop out given the clear will of the people at both the Assembly and at the Primary.
—– Forwarded Message —-
Conceptual statement, Draft 1
Deals have been made in this campaign over the past year to clear the decks and allow a candidate to be anointed to represent conservative voters in Colorado. The voters rejected one such anointed candidate in the State Assembly and gave me top line in the primary ballot. After the State assembly, revelations came out to make my primary opponent un-acceptable to even more voters, while the press and pundits continued to beat the drum that Maes can’t win. I have received the most votes of any candidate for Governor in any primary election, ever, in Colorado.
Even if you say that my win in the Primary was tainted by Scott McInnis’ failings, I won the Assembly fair and square months before his flaws became public.
Now we are experiencing the fracturing of the conservative vote in Colorado in a Conservative “Tidal Wave” year where we should be winning by 20 points. I recognize that I am not the most polished candidate, and that I have made mistakes. Despite these failings of mine, voters in the most significant polls that count (the State Assembly and the Primary) have placed a sacred trust in me. I have to represent their interests. To the best of my ability I must attempt to speak for them.
I have significant differences of opinion and policy with Mr. Tancredo. I believe that legal immigration should be encouraged, and that diversity of the American people is a part of our greatness. I recognize that the legalization of drugs can fairly be viewed as a “libertarian” position, but I disagree that drugs should be legalized now.
Nevertheless, my differences with Mr. Tancredo are far smaller than my differences with Mr. Hickenlooper. We cannot stand by and watch the economic liberty of Colorado voters fall prey to the liberal agenda of the Democrats. If we do not make something happen, we will split our votes and our coalition will win the most votes but lose the Office of Governor – and that is something I am not willing to stand by and watch happen without doing everything in my power to prevent.
I recently met with Mr Tancredo and offered my support of a combined ticket. Now I know that a combined ticket is impossible for me or Tom to make happen. It requires you – the voters of Colorado – to make it happen. The law is clear, and we are in separate parties. Therefore I am asking you to contact my office at _______________, or the state GOP offices at __________, and over the next 48 hours to provide the people answering the phone the following information : 1) do you support me staying in the race for Governor, 2) Would you rather that I continue campaigning, but as a partner of Mr. Tancredo against these Democrat policies, and after the election for my team to join a Tancredo Administration as his Lieutenant Governor, or 4) would you rather I drop my campaign completely.
For your vote to count at this phone poll at my offices and at the state GOP offices, you must first go to www.govotecolorado.com, where you can find your voter ID number(7 digits) and provide that number to the telephone operators.
I will assess the results and announce my decision before the first votes are received by voters on October 13th, 2010.
Thank you for your support, and for your willingness to participate in determining the direction of my campaign. I have worked to represent the interests of “we the people”, and I remain the Nominee of the Republican Party for Governor. I will continue to work in the interests of the voters regardless of the outcome of this poll.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless the great state of Colorado.
So it looks very much like the attempt of someone trying to initiate a deal on Dan Maes’ behalf, not Maes or one of his supporters being besieged by attempted deals in the other direction. Someone clearly in close communication with Maes who felt confident enough to tell Rossputin that he’ll “bring Maes along” to make a deal. Whether or not Maes knew what was going on in advance of all this deal-making, it is clear that he is winking at it now and sticking out his proverbial tongue at Tom Tancredo.
At first I thought the effort exemplified in the email I pasted above was conducted (with or without the candidate’s knowledge and initiative) to help find an honorable path for Dan Maes to get out of the governor’s race and back Tom Tancredo — which would fit with Maes’ campaign leaking the story of their private meeting the day before this email was sent. Whether or not that was the original intent, it now appears the inquiries have served primarily to try to entrap good people like Rossputin through greatly distorted and deceptive claims.
Ransom tells me that his advice to Harrington through the person who received the email was that Dan Maes would do himself the most good by dropping out and saving face. That his best deal to keep relevance for a future run at office would be to come up with a signature issue, start a 501c4 organization and show he could raise money and keep the books in a competent and effective way. Whether this was exactly how the message was conveyed to Harrington I don’t know. But, much like Rossputin’s description of his conversation with Harrington, it hardly constitutes the sort of Moneybags deal his initial note implied.
In two separate emails, I asked Harrington what sort of proof he had of his claims. He responded to one email but neglected to answer the question. Then in the Denver Post story we learn that he had no such conversation of a deal with Tancredo, even though his initial note suggested shady dealings directly from the candidate.
Another interesting note: Only a matter of hours after the above email was sent suggesting that Maes’ “differences with Mr. Tancredo are far smaller than my differences with Mr. Hickenlooper. We cannot stand by and watch the economic liberty of Colorado voters fall prey to the liberal agenda of the Democrats”, Dan Maes appeared on the radio and endorsed Democrat John Hickenlooper’s economic policies — further alienating himself from GOP support and any chance to reconcile with the leading conservative candidate in the race, Tom Tancredo.
The timing of it all sadly fits with the highly juvenile nature of Dan Maes’ response as reported in his friend Joe Harrington’s Facebook note. Dishonest doublespeak and a petty personal grudge. Whatever respect I had for Dan Maes has gone up in smoke. Whatever ends Maes or Harrington have had in mind, they do not justify the means used.
In spite of it all, the good news here is two-fold: First, that Tancredo and his compatriots have consistently exercised good judgment by refusing to offer or accept any sort of deal from the Maes camp. Second, that an increasingly aware Colorado voting public is dumping support for Dan Maes and making this a competitive contest between two viable choices: liberal John Hickenlooper and conservative Tom Tancredo.