Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, once considered to be on the ropes because of his inability to rein in a Democratic state legislature that passed a slate of controversial laws in 2013, has found himself on more solid political ground.
In a recent handicapping of 15 key gubernatorial races, the Washington Post’s The Fix blog concludes that Hickenlooper “does not appear to be in serious danger any more,” thanks mostly to what it called a “weak GOP field” of competitors.
Topping that list is former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is seven points behind Hickenlooper in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
The rest of the field — including Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former Congressman Bob Beauprez and former state Sen. Mike Kopp — trail the incumbent by nine or 10 percentage points.
Tancredo seems on pace to win the June 24 primary election, a scenario that some believe will all but ensure a second term for Hickenlooper. The Colorado Springs Gazette went so far as to ask Gessler and Kopp to bow out of the race so they wouldn’t split the moderate vote, the theory being that Beauprez could beat Tancredo in a two-person primary.
“For Republicans, [a Tancredo versus Hickenlooper scenario is] a nightmare beyond forfeiture of the governor’s race,” the paper wrote. “While voting against Tancredo, [voters will] vote against other Republicans. Forget winning the Senate race.”
The Gazette listed several Tancredo shortcomings that it believes doom his chances in the general election, particularly his “over-zealous obsession” with immigration. (RELATED: Newspaper: Tancredo Vs. Hickenlooper A ‘Nightmare’ For GOP)
So convinced are some Republicans that Tancredo can’t beat Hickenlooper that they’ve also privately asked him to step aside, according to several reports.
But Tancredo shows no sign of slowing down, touting just last week that he’d been endorsed by the El Paso County Tea Party. In a press release, his campaign also highlighted the results of a Public Policy Polling survey showing him with a 10-point lead over his opponents among female voters, a 20-point lead in favorability among Hispanics and a 14-point lead in favorability among Colorado’s key unaffiliated voters.
“I am the candidate who can win and that’s what I intend to do!” Tancredo is quoted as saying in the release. “To defeat John Hickenlooper, we’re going to need a broad base of support in November. I’ve seen the public & private polling data and know that my campaign has that broad base.”
The Fix, at least, isn’t as convinced, although the blog did say at the Colorado race was “still worth watching,” even though the weak GOP field “continues to make this an uphill climb for Republicans.”
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