Dan Maes meeting with Denver Post over complaints about unfair governor-race coverage

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Dan Maes.
Another day, another Denver Post story that treats Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes like an empty-walleted joke.

It's no surprise, then, that Maes, who earlier threatened to limit the Post's access if the paper didn't start treating him fairly, has scheduled a meeting with representatives of the broadsheet to air his complaints.

Maes spokesman Nate Strauch doesn't directly connect the sit-down with the latest article, in which former supporter Freda Poundstone says she gave Maes $300 to cover his mortgage, and he interpreted the cash as a campaign contribution. But that doesn't mean Strauch liked this salvo any more than the Post editorial arguing that Maes's tax returns prove he's a lousy businessman, not to mention Post publisher Dean Singleton's assertion that Maes isn't competent to be a dog catcher.

"The article is the latest in a long line making mountains out of molehills when it comes to Dan's campaign," Strauch says. "And it raises questions, in conjunction with Dean Singleton's comments about Dan, as to whether the Post is willing to give him a fair shake."

The paper has also documented the apparent lack of enthusiasm from Maes's candidacy among members of Colorado Republican Party bosses such as Dick Wadhams, who doesn't believe Maes can beat John Hickenlooper in a three candidate race. The implication? The GOP intends to starve Maes of both affection and campaign contributions in the hope that he'll decide to drop out in favor of a contestant the Republican powers deem more worthy. But Strauch insists the situation is far more positive than that.

"Based on the calls Dan has received in the 72 hours or so since the primary, that isn't the case behind closed doors," he says. He points to John Andrews and Mark Hillman, whose endorsements of Maes are touted in a release on view below, as "the first in what I think will be a long line of Republican luminaries who are going to offer their support. Maybe the support is slower to come than some may have expected, but it's absolutely there."

Even Wadhams is coming around, he insists. "Based on our meeting with Dick yesterday, we have every confidence that the Republican establishment will fall behind Dan. I'm not going to name names, but the support we're hearing about behind the scenes is absolutely something we're going to build on."

In the meantime, Strauch has positive poll numbers to bolster Maes's claims of electoral viability, courtesy of Rasmussen Reports. A survey taken immediately after the primary win shows Hickenlooper with 43 percent support, trailed by Maes with 31 percent and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo at 18 percent.

That may not seem especially impressive, but as Strauch notes, "it's a twelve-point swing between Dan's numbers and Tom's numbers from the last poll, which was only nine days ago: Tom is down six points and Dan is up six points, with Hickenlooper's number staying the same. And the real significant numbers are among conservatives. In the last poll, conservative support for Dan was 40 percent, and now it's 57 point. That's a seventeen-point swing in just nine days."

Such digits may well contribute to an upgrade in a potential Maes running mate. He's got to choose someone to run as lieutenant governor by Tuesday, and Strauch says an announcement could be made earlier, "depending on how Dan's conversations go with the short list over the weekend."

Wonder if these chats will be friendlier than the one scheduled with people at the Post? Page down to read the release about Andrews and Hillman, plus another one touting the Rasmussen poll.

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