June 5, 2014 Updated: June 5, 2014 at 11:45 am
DENVER — Colorado Republicans on Thursday decried ads from a political group tied to Democrats that effectively boost former Rep. Tom Tancredo in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
The ads from the group Protect Colorado Values, whose executive director has worked at a Democratic political firm, criticize Tancredo and former Rep. Bob Beauprez, but do so in a way that can be seen as making Tancredo more appealing to Republican voters. Many in the GOP establishment see Beauprez as the candidate with the best chance of besting Tancredo in the June 24 primary.
Democrats are hopeful that Tancredo becomes the Republicans' nominee because his controversial hard-line positions on immigration make it difficult for him to win statewide and could injure other Republicans on the ticket.
The Protect Colorado Values ad purports to criticize Tancredo for his opposition to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. But it spends its 30 seconds reiterating Tancredo's attacks on the program as "crony capitalism," charges that are likely to play well among Republican primary voters.
In contrast, the group's ad against Beauprez accuses him of supporting earmarks, or pork-barrel spending, while in Washington and having favored the insurance mandate that is the backbone of Obama's health care plan. Those positions are unpopular among the GOP.
The Colorado Republican Party issued a statement saying the move was improper cross-party meddling. "While the Colorado Republican Party will not endorse or oppose a candidate in a contested primary, the fact that Colorado Democrats and East Coast liberals have decided to influence our primary is unacceptable," state party Chairman Ryan Call said.
Also running in the primary are Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp.