Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, an anti-immigration firebrand, has demanded that both Republican candidates for Colorado governor drop out of the race because of ethics issues and says he'll run as a third party candidate if they refuse.
GOP frontrunner Scott McInnis has been accused of plagiarism
, while his rival, Tea Party pal Don Maes, paid a $17,500 fine over campaign finance issues. Tancredo, a Republican, issued his ultimatum on Thursday, threatening to run, possibly under the flag of the American Constitution Party
, if the two GOP primary rivals didn't get out of the contest, the Denver Post
Known for his incendiary denunciations of illegal immigration, Tancredo served in Congress for five terms and left after the 2008 session. But he isn't timid. He briefly ran for president in 2008 -- hammering away at immigration -- and potentially could raise competitive money for a governor's campaign.
It's too late for him or anyone else to get on the ballot for the Aug. 10 primary, and the American Constitution Party already has a gubernatorial candidate, Benjamin Goss. But that didn't stop Tancredo. McInnis and Maes "need to step down so Republicans can put someone in who has a chance of winning. If they don't, I am going to run as hard as I can and I won't get out," he told the Post.
Colorado Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams was horrified. He said if Tancredo runs as a third-party candidate, he would be "responsible for the election of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper [a Democrat] as governor" and also jeopardize other contests. "The American Constitution Party's platform calls for the elimination of congressional salaries and pensions," Wadhams added. "I assume when Tom Tancredo becomes that minor party's nominee, he will forgo his own congressional pension and will reimburse American taxpayers for the 10 years of congressional salary he drew."