Conventional wisdom says Tom Tancredo has no chance to be elected governor of Colorado in a three-way race with Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican businessman Dan Maes. But conventional wisdom has always underestimated Tancredo.

Tancredo entered the race three weeks ago when the candidate he had supported, former Rep. Scott McInnis, imploded following revelations of plagiarism involving a $300,000 author’s fee from a foundation. In last week’s Republican primary election, McInnis lost to newcomer Dan Maes, who had strong tea-party support.

So, the logical question is, why doesn’t Tancredo support Dan Maes, the winner of the Republican primary? The reason is that Tancredo sees Maes as a fraud, a charlatan who mouths conservative, anti-establishment slogans but has no real convictions. Maes has also been caught in several ethical lapses involving campaign funds and mileage reimbursements, and there are serious allegations that he has misrepresented his business successes.

Tancredo believes that his candidacy gives Colorado voters a real choice, and that without his challenge, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will be the next governor of the state. Critics reply that he is simply “splitting the vote” and guaranteeing a Democratic victory.

Can Tancredo win? Should he have the support of conservatives and independents over the questionable credentials of Republican candidate Dan Maes?

My answer to these questions is, yes! Tancredo can win a three-way race, and conservatives need to rally to his campaign.

Tancredo is clearly not on an “ego trip.” A year ago he was supporting energetic state Sen. Josh Penry. When Penry quit the race, he endorsed and campaigned for Scott McInnis. Only when the McInnis campaign collapsed did he enter the race himself.

Tancredo’s platform for Colorado echoes Reagan Revolution principles – downsizing state government, protection for taxpayers, reform of education, and support for the state’s oil and gas industry against crippling federal and state regulations. And yes, he also pledges to follow Arizona in enacting tough immigration-control laws and ending all sanctuary-city policies.

Tancredo believes that once voters take a close look at Dan Maes, they will see a man lacking in qualifications and leadership experience and a man who panders to populist sentiments out of sheer ambition, not personal convictions. In short, the Tancredo message is that Maes cannot be trusted to govern as a conservative and has no chance to defeat Hickenlooper.

There is now some statistical support for Tancerdo’s views in the “under vote” for governor in the Aug. 10 primary. Over 19,000 Republicans who cast votes in the U.S. Senate primary did not vote for either candidate in the contest between Maes and McInnis. There was a definite lack of enthusiasm for either Republican candidate, and almost every day brings some new scandal to the Maes campaign. Tancredo gets a lot of sympathetic nods when he says that the Maes candidacy has the odor of a dead skunk.

Two factors are working in Tancredo’s favor as voters begin to evaluate the three candidates for governor. Tancredo’s signature issue, illegal immigration, is once again front and center in the mind of voters, and nearly everyone in Colorado knows that the Democratic mayor of Denver has been running a sanctuary city. Hickenlooper is certainly vulnerable on that issue, and the issue is gaining momentum.

A second factor working for Tancredo is the anti-corruption, anti-establishment mood of the voters. Tancredo has made many controversial statements over the years, but he has never been touched by scandal or corruption. Even his political foes admire him for his integrity. As he likes to say, there are no skeletons in his closet – they are all on public view.

It may well be that in 2010, Tancredo is in the right place at the right time. He would undoubtedly be a strong governor dedicated to conservative principles and willing to take on the sacred cows of corporate liberalism. As voters learn more about the Republican candidate’s flip-flops and John Hickenlooper’s leftist associations, they may well decide to rally behind him.

I’ve watched Tom Tancredo for many years. He’s a good man – a man of integrity and unflinching principle. I know Tom Tancredo – having had the opportunity to publish his remarkable book, “In Mortal Danger.” I even endorsed him in his presidential bid in 2008. Think of how much better off we would be right now as a nation if Americans had agreed with me.

Coloradans have a second chance. I urge them to vote for Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo is that rare public figure who tells it like it is and stands up to powerful groups. We know from his record that he will protect the rights of citizens and taxpayers – not the interests of powerful insiders in the Republican Party establishment and the open-borders lobby.

Tom Tancredo will make a great governor of Colorado because he understands that Colorado is at a crossroads and will fight for Colorado taxpayers. Colorado needs a complete overhaul of state government to close a $1.1 billion budget shortfall, and Tancredo knows how to lead that battle.

We desperately need state governors who love the Constitution, will fight to preserve our liberties and energetically oppose federal usurpation of states’ rights. That’s why I enthusiastically endorse Tom Tancredo for governor of Colorado and ask patriots across the country to join his team.

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