Dan Maes, The Gazette respectfully asks you to drop out of the race for governor. There will be nothing but honor in stepping aside. In fact, it’s the best move you can possibly make in regard to any political future you may have in Colorado. Drop out this morning and the Colorado Republican Party’s vacancy committee will be able to appoint a replacement — someone with a record of public service who might make this a race.
Your chance of winning the gubernatorial race against Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a seasoned and well-liked politician, with a strong track record, is zero. At this juncture, staying in the race will send a strong message to Coloradans that your candidacy is more about vanity than a concern for your state. Your campaign is wracked with minor scandals that add up to a major credibility problem. Given your lack of a political track record, impeccable credibility was your only hope. The latest scandal, casting doubt about your claims of law enforcement experience in Kansas, was the final straw. Even two of your more prominent endorsers, former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown and former state Senate president John Andrews, no longer trust you. If you stay in the race, these issues will fester and haunt you and get marketed for the next two months by special interests throughout the country who will want to make certain you lose.
If you drop out, you become the candidate who had the class and humility to put the interests of his fellow citizens and his political party ahead of himself. If you quit now, you hold your head high as one of the relatively few Americans ever nominated by a major political party to run for governor. If you quit now, you may have a future. Staying in, against insurmountable odds, will make you the man who had no grace and handed victory to the Democrats on a silver platter.
“I think that’s correct. If he would withdraw now, he would live to fight another day,” said Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams, in a conversation Thursday with The Gazette’s editorial board. “If he withdraws now, he will be given a lot of credit and there will be good feelings about him. If he doesn’t, he will suffer a bad defeat in November and it will be over.”
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If Maes quits by noon today, Wadhams said the GOP will have time to give its vacancy committee the five days notice required by law for a meeting to validate a replacement candidate. Wadhams said likely candidates are former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton and former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez. Either could bring a serious challenge to Hickenlooper. Wadhams told The Gazette that former state Senate Majority Leader Mark Hillman and former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown will not accept nomination. State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry may be considered, but his willingness to run remains uncertain.
Dan Maes, show Colorado that you have the integrity to do the right thing. Do so by graciously bowing out of this race in time for the GOP to have at least a Hail Mary chance at winning the governor’s race in November.