Weblog of Leland Rucker
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Set Piece in a Crazy Colorado Governor Race

Colorado gubernatorial candidate John Hickenlooper arrives at KBDI studios for a debate Thursday. (click to enlarge)

For anybody who watches politics, the 2010 Colorado gubernatorial race has everything. Just when you think it can’t get any juicer, it does, like a gift that just keeps on giving.

This is due in no small part to the Republicans, who (barely) voted for unknown Dan Maes in the primary after the original frontrunner, former Congressman Scott McGinnis, was found to have been paid $300,000 by a foundation for some articles on water rights, which McGinnis stole from a researcher and presented as his own work. (Every journalist in America was envious.)

Since then, as Party leaders found out more about Maes – he called Denver’s bike-sharing program part of a U.N. conspiracy to take over our cities, just for starters — they began to jump ship in droves. Just this week, after more stories that indicated Maes was at best embellishing his past accomplishments, prominent Repubs like former Sen. Hank Brown and John Andrews, among others, took back their original endorsements.

Tom Tancredo, the infamous anti-immigration former Congressman, called for McGinnis and Maes to step down before the primary so the party would have a chance to win. If they didn’t, he threatened to run himself. Both declined to quit, so he’s running as a third-party candidate for the American Constitution Party, whatever that is.

This leaves most observers of the political scene here to believe that, beyond a YouTube video of misconduct by Hickenlooper, whose first TV campaign commercial show him fully clothed in the shower stating that he won’t run any negative ads, is a shoo-in to move from City Hall to the Governor’s office early next year.

Hickenlooper fans arrived early to greet motorists and light-rail riders.

By 11 a.m. Thursday, a spirited advance phalanx of supporters of Hickenlooper, was lined up below our offices along Welton and 29th streets, cheering and chanting their candidate’s name to passing motorists and light-rail trains.

He was the first to arrive for a candidate’s forum at KBDI, the public television station which occupies the first-floor offices of our building.

At quarter to twelve, I came out of the back door and almost ran into Hickenlooper on the sidewalk, where he was approaching the cheering throngs gathered at the front door. There were TV cameras and Tancredo For Governor placards juggling amidst the sea of Hickenlooper signs. Hick was trying to not notice the man behind him with a megaphone,  screaming at the mayor to acknowledge him because he was a candidate for governor and asking why he wasn’t being allowed to join the debate. This turned out to be Jason Clark, one of two unaffiliated candidates running.

I took a couple of photos as Hickenlooper took in the adulation of his army of supporters. As I turned the corner to catch the light rail, Hickenlooper was heading in for the debate, leaving Clark on the street with his megaphone.


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