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The Colorado governor's race: the gift that just keeps on giving.

Tancredo’s third-party candidacy is garnering him anything but love from the conservative base. Immediately after announcing his entry, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and 21 state Tea Party leaders pummeled Tancredo for siphoning votes away from a potential GOP victory. Constitutional conservatives of the Vail Valley 9.12 Project in Colorado later joined in decrying Tancredo for pursuing the type of candidacy that “guarantees the re-election of liberals” and demanded that he “drop out of the race and come back to the conservative party.”

Fed up with his obstinacy, two Colorado Republican voters upped the ante yesterday by filing suit in Denver District court to prevent Tancredo from being placed on the November ballot. The lawsuit, filed by Colorado Republican Party treasurer Richard Westfall on their behalf, states that both Tancredo and his running-mate Pat Miller switched their party affiliation from the GOP to the American Constitution Party too late, violating state and party bylaws and rules....

Colorado law says that a nominee cannot be “registered as a member of a major political party for at least twelve months prior to the date of the nomination” unless the ACP bylaws indicate otherwise. Tancredo switched in July and Miller switched in August and nothing in the ACP bylaws supersede Colorado law, according to the lawsuit.

Tancredo’s campaign manager Bay Buchanan pointed out that the Secretary of State Bernie Buescher (D) already certified the general election ballot last Friday. In a statement to the Denver Daily News, Buchanan said, “Our attorneys have reviewed the recent complaint by a disgruntled Maes voter related to this certification and are confident that the courts will find no grounds on which to overturn the decision by the one individual with authority to make such decisions.”

The Colorado GOP is screwed for the moment. The RGA has signaled that they'll do nothing for Dan Maes. The ballot has gone to print in many counties already, with both Maes and Tancredo on them. State Republicans might still be hoping for a Hail Mary in which they can get Maes (and now Tancredo, too) bounced out of the race and defeated Senate candidate Lt. Gov Jane Norton into the race, which would give them the ghost of a chance, but at this point she'd probably have to run as a write-in candidate. Fun times.

Lest we all enjoy this too much, though, there's a potential wrinkle for Dems--base turnout. If Hickenlooper is running away with it, the base may be somewhat less inclined to feel the need to get out and vote. They're certainly not going to be inspired to make the effort for Sen. Michael Bennet if he keeps doing things like opposing Obama's infrastructure initiative. He shouldn't be taking Hickenlooper's coattails for granted.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Sep 09, 2010 at 08:34 AM PDT.

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