Scott McInnis: Is he more politically skillful than we thought?

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"Can't we all just get along?"
Political observers have spent a lot of time har-dee-har-ing at Scott McInnis over the years -- and indeed, he's made plenty of errors and gaffes during his time in the public eye.

Note his prediction that fellow Republican Bob Schaffer would lose the 2008 Senate race to Mark Udall -- and that he would have won -- in the days before the election took place; the use of a non-Colorado mountain as the centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign website; and a hilarious meltdown while being quizzed by KHOW's Dan Caplis, who seemingly has never met a member of the GOP he doesn't love.

But we may have underestimated Scotty M.

First, he managed to convince Josh Penry to drop a primary challenge -- and he seems on the verge of doing the same with Tom Tancredo, as the latter noted in this space yesterday.

The key to Tancredo staying out is a platform that he can agree upon -- and while he told us yesterday that it hasn't been finalized yet, McInnis boasts about it in an e-mail sent to supporters during the wee hours of this morning.

Don't know if this strategy originated with McInnis, his braintrust or Colorado Republican Party head Dick Wadhams, who's been part of the negotiating process -- and managed to avoid freaking out over the prospect of a Tancredo candidacy in an interview with Westword last week. But whoever thought of it, the result could be a virtually open playing field for McInnis in his quest to challenge Governor Bill Ritter. And that would be a helluva political achievement.

Read McInnis' latest message below:

It's About Colorado. It's About You.

Dear Friends,

Just a few weeks ago, Republicans won hard fought victories in New Jersey and Virginia. It wasn't easy to turn the tide red in these states, but Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell ran on solid conservative platforms vowing to attack government spending, sharply improve the business climate to spark job creation and spur economic growth.

It's the right agenda, and it's been one I have been talking about for many months on the campaign trail. And it's an agenda that will put Republicans back in charge in Colorado.

Sensing the opportunity that Republicans will have if we are united, Senator Josh Penry made the difficult decision to leave the race for Governor. I respect Senator Penry for putting the future of our state ahead of his own candidacy. Since then, I have met with Senator Penry and many Republican leaders across the spectrum. I have had very good discussions with my former colleague in Congress, Tom Tancredo, about how best to unite our party and focus on the central goal: victory in 2010.

I have been working with Republicans from across our state to create a solid list of common sense principles that will grow Colorado's economy and will ease the burden on those who are struggling thanks to Governor Ritter's failed policies that have contributed to 115,000 Coloradans losing their jobs in the last year. That's 315 men and women every day, seven days a week.

• A column in today's Denver Post by prominent talk radio host Mike Rosen provided some details on our conversations.

People across Colorado have told me time and again that they are tired of the Governor's tax increases disguised as fees and of the punitive policies he has placed on some of Colorado's most important industries.

That's why I want to be clear about where I stand.

We can't attract new industries to this state by raising taxes, and we won't create jobs if politicians in Denver continue their efforts to transform every private sector activity into a "taxable opportunity." Raising taxes during a recession is a recipe for disaster.

If we are going to convince employers that Colorado is truly "open for business", we must start by getting the state's fiscal house in order. As your governor, I will seek to restore the spending limit in the state budget that the Governor removed; and, until it is passed, I will use my veto pen to eliminate spending above that six percent limit. I will also be a tireless defender of your right to vote on any tax increase.

Equally important, I will not try to disguise a tax increase by calling it a "fee." Major fee increases - such as Bill Ritter's car tax -- should be approved by voters as well.

As governor, I will demand that the bureaucracy make the same kinds of sacrifices that families and businesses across this state are making each day, and that starts with overturning Bill Ritter's executive order unionizing state government.

The list of governing principles that unite our party is strong and will show Coloradans in clear terms the difference between the two parties - and between me and Bill Ritter. We will have more details on this important step forward for Colorado Republicans in the coming days.

Please know that I will work day and night -- one voter at a time, one neighborhood at a time -- to earn the votes of Coloradans. I will do it by continuing to stress the common-sense, conservative vision for shaking up the discredited, old fashioned status-quo that has become the hallmark of Bill Ritter's failed administration.

Sincerely,

Scott McInnis

P.S. Join our winning team today and help get our state back to economic prosperity and spending reform. Visit our website and sign-up to become a leader for common sense values and reform in your community. Invest in our campaign by making a contribution of $5, $25, $50, or the max of $1050.

It's About Colorado. It's About You.


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