Updated: September 23, 2010 at 12:00 am
DENVER — Just when you thought the Colorado gubernatorial race couldn't get any crazier, another candidate dispute has disrupted the November ballot.
Victoria Adams has dropped out as the running mate for unaffiliated candidate Jason Clark, claiming Clark hates women and mistreated his campaign staff.
Clark says he dropped her from his campaign on Tuesday and will find a new running mate. He denies mistreating women and says the stress of the campaign was too much for Adams, who joined the race after responding to a Craigslist ad seeking candidates.
Secretary of State spokesman Rich Coolidge says this has never happened before and the office is seeking legal advice to see if Clark's votes will be counted. He said it's a state requirement that a gubernatorial candidate have a running mate, but unaffiliated candidates have no bylaws and no vacancy committees to pick replacements.
"There is no precedent for what's happening in the governor's race. This has never been contemplated before," Coolidge said.
Adams said Clark held a staff meeting over staff complaints on Tuesday and allegedly told them "I do not work well with women" and "I do not like working with women."
Clark said Adams wasn't ready for the high-profile life of a campaign and her behavior was not acceptable.
"No one can say I'm a racist or a bigot or don't treat women well. If you have a cancer, you cut it out," he said.
Adams said she is throwing her support to American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo. He recently won a lawsuit claiming he illegally jumped on the ballot by switching from the GOP to the American Constitution Party in July without being a party member since Jan. 1 and will remain on the ballot.
GOP candidate Dan Maes has also attracted a lot of attention, much of it negative, after he paid a $17,500 fine for campaign finance violations. He vowed to fire 2,000 state workers "just like that" if elected, even though it may be illegal. He drew international ridicule when he suggested a Denver bike-sharing program is part of a United Nations conspiracy to control American cities.
Maes also claimed he was fired by the police department in Liberal, Kan., because police and politicians were corrupt. He said he worked undercover for state investigators, but the Kansas Bureau of Investigation denied Maes ever worked for them, and Liberal's police department won't talk about Maes.
They are running against Democrat John Hickenlooper, who has been defending himself the past few weeks after he admitted repaying $52,486 to the Internal Revenue Service in 2008 to settle issues surrounding tax credits he received on conservation easements.