Democrats surveying Colorado's gubernatorial contest between Democrat John Hickenlooper, Republican Dan Maes, and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo are probably wishing such a Republican implosion could have happened in more races across the country. During the GOP primary, Tancredo, an anti-immigration zealot who has said that the United States should bomb Mecca if ever attacked again by Islamic extremists, demanded that Maes and his opponent Scott McInnis, whose campaign derailed after evidence of plagiarism came to light, leave the race because Tancredo was more likely to be elected than they were. Incredibly, Tancredo was right. Recent polls show him with a double digit lead over Maes, but both Maes and Tancredo trail Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver.
GOP leaders, particularly Colorado State Republican leader Dick Wadhams, urged Maes to leave the race after he defeated McInnis because they felt Maes neither had the character nor the fitness to hold office. They cited his belief that a bicycle program espoused by Hickenlooper was part of a grand conspiracy by the United Nations to infringe upon Colorado's sovereignty. Among a myriad of other inconsistencies, Maes also falsely claimed that he worked as an undercover police officer. Tea Party leaders and other state leaders rescinded their endorsements of him. But Maes stayed in the race, and Tancredo has started attacking him on the air, accusing him of swindling senior citizens.
No wonder Hickenlooper is adhering to James Carville's axiom of doing nothing when your opponent is self-destructing. And it seems to be working for him. In fact, Hickenlooper (whose brother is a famous Hollywood movie director) began his campaign by vowing not to run negative ads. A commercial in which he hops in the shower (literally) multiple times after viewing "attack" ads has been lauded as one of the best ads of the election cycle.