Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Tom Tancredo the Next Governor of Colorado?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Tom Tancredo the Next Governor of Colorado?

Article excerpt

Tom Tancredo, former congressman and anti-immigrant firebrand, is surging in his third-party bid to be Colorado's next governor. Democrat John Hickenlooper's campaign has been 'nondescript.'

Just a few weeks ago, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) was coasting to the governor's office in Colorado.

His Republican opponent, a tea party-backed businessman named Dan Maes, was imploding, and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo was in distant third place. Now look at the latest polls. Mr. Tancredo, a former Republican congressman famous for his strong anti-immigrant views, looks to be within striking distance of victory.

The average of recent polls, as tracked by RealClearPolitics.com and Pollster.com, shows Tancredo trailing by just six percentage points. Last week, the Republican firm Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies showed him down just one point. On Monday, the Democratic- leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) had him down just three points. Over the weekend, the Denver Post released a survey showing him down by 10.

Whether this apparent surge is real or not remains an open question. The marquee race in Colorado, for Senate, has turned into a barn-burner, with appointed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) pulling back from a deficit into a statistical tie with Republican Ken Buck. That would seem to weigh in the favor of Mayor Hickenlooper, as it shows Democratic voters "coming home" to their party's nominees. That's the explanation for the Denver Post poll, which shows Hickenlooper at 49 percent.

But if the Tancredo surge is real, then Denver-based nonpartisan pollster Floyd Ciruli is prepared to blame Hickenlooper as much as credit Tancredo.

"The mayor had been running a campaign that was relatively nondescript, stay out of trouble, with feel-good ads and a pledge not to go negative," says Mr. Ciruli. "But this may be the year of the angry male, and with Tancredo, you couldn't get much angrier. …

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