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POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Is Tancredo right choice for state's GOP in 2018?

By: Raymond Garcia and Hugo Chavez-Rey
November 14, 2017 Updated: November 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm
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Raymond Garcia

There's one thing nobody can deny about Tom Tancredo. He's going to be a fighter for the little guy in Colorado. In a race filled with family names, lawyers and millionaires, Tom is the only regular guy in the race.

He's not afraid to stick his neck out for the little guy, and when politicians in both parties overreach, he's the first to stand up against them. On more than one occasion, he has stood up to both the Republican and Democratic parties, even registering as an independent when he felt it was necessary to make a point.

The truth is, nobody will fight for Coloradans of all political affiliations and represent them like Tom Tancredo will.

He's a champion for the people, be they farmers, factory workers, doctors, homemakers and even those in the new marijuana industry.

Where Tom is portrayed by his detractors as anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant, that has no basis in fact and insults a good man. As an Hispanic/Native American, frankly, I find that characterization just offensive.

I know Tom. I know him as a smart, warm and witty man committed to the values of our country and protecting our citizens. He's a grandfather who cares deeply about the lives of Colorado families, including families whose loved ones have been killed and maimed by criminals who shouldn't even be in our neighborhoods.

For years, Tom has been the lone voice speaking out against unaccountable officials who sacrifice our safety for cheap political points.

When people call Tom a racist, I remember the words of Paul Sandoval, a man who respected and admired Tom and who was an icon of Denver Hispanic culture. As teenagers, he and Tom worked at Elitch's, and their lives ran on parallel tracks for years. It is safe to say Paul truly knew Tom Tancredo. When asked about Tom, Paul said, "You can say a lot of things about Tom. 'Racist' is not one of them. He just believes different (than I). And that's OK."

The longer I've known Tom, the more impressed I have been with him. I was blown away by his successful effort to bring peace to the Sudan, actually risking his life to save thousands of African lives. I was surprised to learn of his travels to the Soviet Union to save Soviet Jews, once again risking himself, with no recognition, to save others.

Tom is not "anti" any group. He is "pro" people from all walks of life, of any color, all around the world. More importantly, he is pro-Colorado.

As governor, Tom would be an innovative and knowledgeable leader. A native who understands Colorado, Tom has friends of all persuasions. He would focus not on dividing us, but on bringing Colorado together.

It is clear we have huge issues in our state, such as roads so clogged we can't move, growth overwhelming our infrastructure, schools and curriculums out of step with student needs, and lawlessness endangering all of us.

Tom understands those issues better than any other candidate and will be an outstanding candidate for governor.

Hugo Chavez-Rey

Tom Tancredo, the former congressman, has officially entered the race for governor of Colorado.

He is running as a Republican, the party he has disavowed on more than one occasion in recent years, and for various reasons according to his accounts. The biggest question facing his candidacy is whether he truly fits what the Colorado electorate is going to want in this election.

There are of course other reasons, besides the question of fit, to believe that he is not the right choice for Colorado Republicans. His on-again, off-again relationship with the Republican Party makes him untrustworthy to many activists in the party. How can they trust that he will stay the course for the duration if he were to receive the nomination? He has run for governor twice in the past, once as a third-party candidate and once as a Republican.

Both times he failed, and in the case of the third-party run in 2010 he managed to derail an already weak Republican candidate. Basically, when he's winning, he's a Republican. When he's losing, he has no use for the party. Would you accept a spouse with such commitment issues?

Tancredo is a lightning rod on some key issues. He is pro-pot, which would make him more of a Libertarian than a Republican.

If you are a Democrat, you are ecstatic to see him in the race because he represents a wedge that Democrats are all too happy to use in their favor. At the top of the list is his hard-line position on immigration. That one issue alone could prevent the Republican Party from drawing the necessary crossover conservative Democrat votes needed to win the race for governor.

The bottom line is that without the ability to garner a significant share of the Hispanic vote, along with some conservative Democrats and the right number of unaffiliateds, no Republican candidate has a realistic shot at becoming the next governor of Colorado, and Tancredo doesn't have that ability.

Some more vocal opponents of Tom Tancredo have suggested that he is a narcissist and an opportunist looking to keep his name in the spotlight and that he could not care less about the Republican Party.

One has to wonder what he will do if he is unsuccessful in his bid for the party nomination. Will he again turn around and run as a third-party candidate, derailing yet another Republican?

Tancredo is definitely not the right candidate for the Republican Party in this very important gubernatorial election in 2018.

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Raymond Garcia is a Marine veteran and Republican activist. He lives in Fountain. Hugo Chavez-Rey is the chairman of the Colorado Hispanic Republicans. He lives in Denver.

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