Evergreen’s one-time congressman, Tom Tancredo, brought his gubernatorial campaign to Marshdale on Jan. 27, and the Republican hammered away at Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper.
Tancredo — whose lengthy political career has included a run for president and a previous bid for governor as nominee of the American Constitution Party — got a warm reception at the 285 Corridor Tea Party meeting on a snowy late-January evening.
“If you don’t think I can win,” Tancredo said, “if you don’t think I can beat Hickenlooper, don’t vote for me. You vote for anyone that you think can, because our task is to defeat him.”
Tancredo challenged Hickenlooper’s credibility and track record. He attacked the governor for blocking the execution of Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap and for a variety of legislation passed last year by the Democrats who control Colorado’s General Assembly, where Tancredo began his career as a public office holder in 1976.
The governor has pulled the wool over the voters’ eyes, Tancredo said, posing as a moderate but advancing liberal policies.
“I think we have some idea now of what he really is,” he said. “He’s not some middle-of-the-road guy. He’s a dedicated leftist and a committed progressive. His team in the legislature and the people in charge of the legislature are as left as you can possibly get, as evidenced by all the things you’ve seen: all the bills that have come up, the sexual education bills in elementary schools, the gun bills, all the bills about voter registration.”
The three gun-control bills passed by the state legislature last year, all signed by Hickenlooper, led to recalls of two Democratic legislators and the resignation of a third who faced a recall effort.
An outspoken partisan
Tancredo said bipartisanship is overrated.
“What does it mean for us?” he asked. “What it means almost always, in my experience, in almost all my time in elected office, is that we lose. We lose in this little tug-o’-war we do with the other side. It always moves a little bit more to the left in that compromise that is made.”
Tancredo, known in the past for his harsh words against illegal immigration, will make a bid for the party nomination at the April 12 Republican state assembly in Boulder, but he is vying with several other GOP candidates, including former state senator Mike Kopp, who once represented Conifer in the General Assembly.
“Now let me be as candid as I always am,” Tancredo said. “I’m not the guy the Republican Party is excited to see carry the flag. … I’m hoping I can get as many people as possible that are supportive of my candidacy to their caucus, and eventually, through the process and to the (election).”
Tancredo announced in December that he would not debate his fellow Republican hopefuls, saying that GOP candidates instead should sign a civility pact so as not to provide fodder for their Democratic opponents.
“But it’s a dicey game to play, when you know you’re not the party’s candidate, to go through the party’s system,” he said. “I can tell you, I don’t trust it. I don’t trust the people involved; I’ve seen exactly what has been done in the past. The party to me is just a mechanism … and I don’t want to spend a dime going against another Republican when I know I’ll need every penny to beat Hickenlooper in a general election.”
Tancredo served for 10 years as the representative for the 6th Congressional District, which included Evergreen and Conifer before redistricting early in this decade. He campaigned for the presidency in 2008 and was the 2010 nominee of the Constitution Party in the governor's race.
For more about Tancredo’s campaign, visit governortancredo.com.
Contact Stephanie DeCamp at Stephanie@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1043. Check CanyonCourier.com for updates and breaking news.