Dan Maes's troubles not hurting other GOP candidates, says Republican boss Dick Wadhams
Yesterday, GOP guv candidate Dan Maes released documents connected to his firing as a Liberal, Kansas cop in 1985 -- a bizarre assemblage of material unlikely to supercharge his faltering campaign. But Colorado Republican Party chieftain Dick Wadhams isn't worried about other GOP candidates going down with Maes's ship, and he urges Maes not to surrender no matter what.
The Maes releases detail his mid-'80s discovery that family members of his fiancee, Dee Andrade, were involved in a gambling operation -- and how he eventually told Dee and (sort of) a relative of hers about an ongoing investigation into these activities. In a letter appealing the decision to sack him for his loose lips, he insisted that his only misconduct was sharing "the pressures and anxieties of a complex investigation with the most important person in my life."
When asked about these documents, Wadhams offers a mild, and halting, endorsement for Maes, who he still officially backs. "Dan has done his best to try to talk about this issue, and I commend him for releasing the police reports," he says. "He's tried to answer these questions, and we'll just have to see if it's enough for the voters. It's clearly been a problem for him."
Dan Maes as a police officer in Liberal, Kansas.
That's not the only one. A new Fox News poll shows Maes's support is down to 15 percent, with Tom Tancredo racking up 34 percent and frontrunner John Hickenlooper hanging in with 44 percent. If Maes finishes below 10 percent, the Republican Party would lose its major-party status on the next ballot -- meaning GOP candidates would be listed alongside hopefuls from minor parties.
Wadhams doesn't believe this will happen. "That would be an extraordinary circumstance," he says -- and even if it did, "it wouldn't change how the Republican Party functions, because we have a clear set of bylaws that set forth our nomination process. And in any given campaign short of the governor's race, choices usually come down to Republican and Democratic candidates. If someone wants to vote for a Republican candidate, they're going to do so regardless of where they find it on the ballot. So I'm not worried about that.
"I think Ken Buck is going to be elected U.S. senator, I think there's a strong possibility of us picking up three Congressional seats, and I think [Attorney General] John Suthers, [treasurer candidate] Walker Stapleton and [Secretary of State hopeful] Scott Gessler are strong contenders. It would be ironic if we won most if not all of those races and were officially considered to be a minority party."