Republicans and tea party officials are bypassing GOP nominee Dan Maes in the Colorado governor's race and are instead flocking to Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo.
Tancredo, a former Republican congressman who ran for president in 2008, in the past week has lined up key support from Republicans in Congress as well as from top tea party officials--one of whom is openly calling for Maes to withdraw from the race.
"It is time for Republican Dan Maes to end his campaign, endorse Mr. Tancredo, and do what is right and best for the people of Colorado," Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said Monday in her endorsement of Tancredo.
Tancredo launched a Constitution Party bid this summer after expressing his dissatisfaction with the Republican candidates who were vying for his home state's open-seat governor's race.
Maes received support from the tea party as well as the GOP at the start of his campaign, but since then he's been beset by scandals, including his recent confession that he lied about working undercover for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Still, Maes has refused to drop out even as his polling numbers trend downward, prompting Colorado Republicans such as U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn to switch their endorsements.
"I don't expect ever again to ask anyone to support a candidate outside my party, but this is a unique situation. That is why I am asking the people of Colorado to help me elect Tom Tancredo as Colorado's next governor," Lamborn said in his endorsement, released last week.
Republicans and tea party officials think a Maes withdrawal will help Tancredo beat Democrat John Hickenlooper next week. Democrats say they've locked up the race.
A Denver Post/9News poll released Sunday shows Hickenlooper, mayor of Denver, receiving more support than Tancredo and Maes combined: 49 percent for Hickenlooper, 39 percent for Tancredo and 9 percent for Maes.
(Photo of Tancredo gesturing at a debate this month as Hickenlooper, facing camera, and Maes look on: AP/Ed Andrieski)