With Tuesday’s primary upon us, the Colorado Republican party is in disarray, and it’s a sad thing to see.
While that sentiment is surely hard for some to swallow, no democracy-loving American should rejoice in what’s happening to the Republicans in Colorado right now. After all, when one of our two major parties is crumbling, isn’t it the very health of democracy that suffers?
These days whenever anyone mentions the gubernatorial race or the Republicans, it’s done with a shake of the head or a roll of the eye.
Things haven’t been very good for Colorado Republicans since 2006. That’s when they lost the governorship and control of both houses of the General Assembly.
Since then, they’ve been limping along. This year was supposed to be their chance.
All they needed was an anti-tax golden boy who could rally the scattered troops, beat up on the Democrats and snatch away the gubernatorial election.
They had their man in Scott McInnis, or so they thought.
A former U.S. congressman, McInnis was the home-grown, clean-cut, no-nonsense kind of guy the kingmakers needed. And he didn’t have much competition for the job, aside from that pesky Dan Maes, who didn’t pose much of a threat.
The Republicans’ hopes appeared to be dashed when accusations of plagiarism against McInnis broke.
If that weren’t bad enough, the campaign tried to cover it up and McInnis publicly threw his longtime friend and colleague Rolly Fishcher under the bus, asking him to take the fall for plagiarism — something Fischer refused to do.
Things were getting ugly — so, how did the McInnis campaign respond? It hopped on a bus and made a bunch of impromptu Front Range campaign stops, acting as if nothing had happened. “We’ve moved on,” is what McInnis kept saying.
Aware of this losing strategy, former Rep. Tom Tancredo jumped in with a demand that McInnis and Maes vacate the race, so he could save the day.
But neither budged, and Tancredo entered the race last week on a third-party ticket, a move that will surely divide Republican votes.
The party had little hope but to desperately trudge along.
We’ll find out soon enough how voters feel about all this. But what has happened to the Republican party is already quite clear; it has crippled itself and lost a major opportunity.
There is one last opening for the GOP this year.
If McInnis wins the primary, he should drop out and allow his party to field a candidate who stands a chance.