Maes rejects offer to quit governor’s race

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes rejected an offer on Wednesday from former congressman Tom Tancredo for both men to get out of the Colorado governor’s race and let the Republican Party pick a new candidate.

State Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams said he delivered the offer to Maes after Tancredo, an American Constitution Party candidate, offered it as a compromise to give Republicans a chance to win back the governor’s office in November.

“Tom Tancredo contacted me late Monday to indicate he would withdraw from the race for governor if Dan Maes did so as well,” Wadhams said. “I asked Tom for the opportunity to present this offer to Dan Maes, which I did do this morning. I felt it was my responsibility as state chairman to inform Dan of this offer since it held open the possibility of eliminating the current three-way race that gives the Democratic candidate a huge advantage.”

Wadhams said he respects the decisions of both candidates and said he will continue to back Maes, who won the GOP primary on Tuesday.

Tancredo’s spokesman, Cliff Dodge, said Tancredo made the offer because he believes Maes has no chance of beating Democrat John Hickenlooper in November. He said the compromise included a stipulation that neither Republican be a candidate for a Republican vacancy committee.

“The answer was two letters: N-O,” Dodge said.

Maes spokesman Nate Strauch said if Tancredo wants to participate in the governor’s race, “he should go through the nominating process like everybody else.”

Maes beat challenger Scott McInnis in the GOP primary last Tuesday after both men rejected a demand from Tancredo that they get out of the race and let the party pick a new candidate if polls showed neither man could beat Hickenlooper after the primary.

Since then, Maes has been struggling to get support from national party leaders who doubt the party can win if Tancredo stays in the race.

Meanwhile, Tancredo issued a challenge to Maes to publish his tax returns and Tancredo said he would match him return for return.

Maes refused to release his returns last month and instead gave them to a tea party supporter, who summarized the returns as “completely average” while providing few details.

Tancredo gave his returns to a conservative talk show host at a radio station where he works and said his tax returns would be released when Maes responds.

Maes has said his tax returns are “nobody’s business.”