Today Congressman Doug Lamborn (R- Colorado's Fifth District) switched his endorsement in the Colorado governor's race over to American Constitution Party candidate and former congressman, Tom Tancredo. Representative Lamborn had originally endorsed Republican Dan Maes who became the surprise party nominee at the state assembly in May. Maes has been steadily hemorrhaging support as more comes to light about the veracity of his past and financial problems. Numerous elected officials have pulled their endorsements and changed to Tancredo.
Lamborn's team tells Fox News the endorsement change was not taken lightly and he's one of the last ones to go. His statement says, "After giving this decision much thought and prayer, I have concluded Tom is the only electable conservative candidate for governor. That means he's the only candidate who can turn our state around and put us back on the path to prosperity. I make this endorsement for the good of the state, putting my party loyalties aside. I ask for, and plead for, my fellow Republicans to do the same, and to vote for Tom Tancredo."
A look at his bio provides some additional clues as to why Lamborn's crossing of party lines is gravy for Tancredo. Lamborn belongs to the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of House conservatives dedicated to a limited and Constitutional role for the federal government, a strong national defense, the protection of individual and property rights, and the preservation of traditional family values. Lamborn's district includes Colorado Springs, situated in the central part of the state, which has been fertile ground for fired-up Tea Partiers and 9-12 groups. Lamborn sits on the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees and key military assets such as U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command are in his district.
Lamborn, running for a third term in U.S. Congress, was labeled as a "top-ticket Republican candidate" by the blog Colorado Pols when endorsements of Maes were inventoried back in August. Now that Lamborn has moved to Tancredo, the representative is actively making the case in public for his former congressional colleague, saying "I served with Tom in Congress for two years, where we agreed on about 99 percent of our votes. He is a true conservative. These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures. I don't expect ever again to ask anyone to support a candidate outside my party, but this is a unique situation."
Lack of support in the state Capitol is plaguing Maes, too. Lamborn's statement mentions State Senator Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs has thrown his support to Tom Tancredo. Two days ago, the Denver Post's The Spot blog reported Senator David Schulthe is the "sole state elected official" still backing Maes. The Post included a quote that Schulthe gets calls on an "hourly" basis to drop Maes.
It's not just endorsements that are piling up for Tancredo and evaporating for Maes. Maes's poll numbers are dangerously low to the point the Republicans could be deemed a minor party as the law reads now (see Alicia Acuna's post from earlier this week). According to a Fox News Poll of 1,000 Colorado Likely Voters on October 16, Maes polled at 10 percent. Tom Tancredo is within 5 points of Democrat John Hickenlooper. Tancredo drew 40 percent of the vote compared with Democrat nominee, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's 45 percent. Many see that as striking distance and people are daily calling on Dan Maes to drop out, to better Tancredo's chances of beating Hickenlooper.
When we asked Maes last week about his low poll numbers and the threat of Republicans becoming a minor party in this battleground state, he pointed out the party has 900,000 members here and claimed "...most of them are going to vote Republican because they believe in the system, they believe I went through the system, they want to honor me and that system. I don't think we're in any fear of dropping below 10 percent. We also asked him if he thinks the race is wacky, an adjective many people use to describe it in conversation. "It's unique for sure. I mean, here's Dan Maes who came out of nowhere and with the voice of the people won the Republican nomination, so that's different. The fact that someone you know basically cheated their way onto the ballot, with two to three months to spare, makes it unique". By "cheated", he's referring to Tancredo changing his affiliation from Republican to the American Constitution Party in order to run. And despite his crumbling campaign, Maes still refers to Tancredo as "the minor party candidate", adding he (Tancredo) "...has little to no business experience whatsoever. He's a career politician and I don't believe he's ever run a business." Ironic, considering Maes has taken a lot of knocks for his own inexperience.