For those who thought that former Congressman Tom Tancredo might leave the political stage after his brief run for President, or perhaps more recent events, you have clearly underestimated the Tom-inator.
Tancredo is back, and he wants to be Colorado's next Governor:
Contrary to published reports, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo has not yet filed papers with the Secretary of State's office to form an exploratory committee to run for governor -- but Tancredo tells FOX 31 he is planning to file in the next several days.
"I haven't filed anything yet," Tancredo said. "There are a whole bunch of things we have to put together to get to the point of filing. We're not there yet, but we are looking. Once we get those ducks in a row, those organizational things, I anticipate we'll file in a relatively short time."
The best part of the story (besides having Tom Tancredo back and front-and-center as a public face of the Republican Party) is that this whole episode has some clear "Scozzafava v. Hoffman" Teabagger overtones to it.
Until early this week, the Republican primary to challenge Democratic Governor Bill Ritter was a two-man contest. The establishment pick was longtime Western Slope Congressman Scott McInnis, who left Washington in 2004 and was rumored to run statewide in both 2006 and 2008. The insurgent pick was thirty-something state legislator Josh Penry, also from the western half of the state, and a former McInnis staffer who was the darling of the state's right-wing.
This week, Penry pulled the plug on his bid. Almost immediately after he did so, the rumors began that the Colorado GOP power elite shoved Penry aside in favor of their preferred candidate: Scott McInnis.
The message that the Republican powers-that-be intended to clear the field for Scott McInnis was delivered to Penry by kingpin funder Phil Anschutz personally, on behalf of other principal GOP donors like Alex Cranberg and American Furniture Warehouse CEO Jake Jabs.
Almost prophetically, the team at Colorado Pols swiftly saw a potential downside to this heavy-handedness:
The risk in this story for McInnis is simpler--he's not the choice of the conservative base, the base's candidate is the one who got punked. By McInnis' well-heeled supporters. Anything that feeds the narrative of rich insiders making the base's primary choice for them is extremely dangerous to McInnis politically, and risks a backlash that money cannot control (see: Dede Scozzafava).
As a result, McInnis no longer faces the relatively inexperienced Penry, who was almost certain to suffer from fundraising woes in-state, since most of the power players in the Colorado GOP seemed prepared to put their chips in with McInnis.
Now, instead of Penry, McInnis faces a national political figure, who spent eight million dollars on his presidential bid (most of that from his own pocket), and has a network of donors that would seem much more impervious to the threats of Anschutz and company.
Of course, the biggest beneficiary of all may well be Bill Ritter, who gets to watch a sequel of the New York 23rd saga replayed in his own backyard.
Of course, McInnis (and, for that matter, Ritter) now have a little bit of a playbook for taking Tancredo off his game. As we saw last week, it doesn't take much: