DENVER — Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is shrugging off the suggestion that a national GOP group won't help finance his campaign anymore and said Wednesday he will continue to fight for votes.
Maes' campaign was reacting to Republican Governors Association Chairman Haley Barbour's remarks strongly hinting that the group was giving up on the Colorado governor's race. Barbour, Mississippi's governor, told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast that the association had "put some money in Colorado," but said that it was in the "past tense."
Maes' spokesman Nate Strauch said Maes did not expect any help from the RGA and will continue trying to get votes by traveling the state and talking to people.
"Our position from the beginning was that any help the RGA can provide is gravy," he said. Strauch said that Maes was aware of Barbour's comments but wasn't deterred by them.
"The RGA hasn't promised Mr. Maes any help from the beginning," he said.
A spokesman for the RGA did not immediately return a call Wednesday.
Maes recently lost support from the state GOP establishment after a series of blunders, including statements about his undercover law enforcement career in Kansas in the 1980s – claims which were not substantiated by his former bosses. He's been ridiculed for his suggestion that a Denver bike-sharing program is part of a U.N. conspiracy to control American cities and he's raised eyebrows for promising to fire 2,000 state workers immediately after he takes office.
Maes significantly trails Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper in fundraising, with the latest campaign finance reports showing that Hickenlooper raised $404,000 in August compared to the $50,201 Maes got.
Former Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo switched parties to enter the race as the candidate for the American Constitution party and he also led Maes in fundraising in August with $200,485. Political observers have said Tancredo's entry into the race has hurt Maes' chances but Tancredo's campaign disagrees.
"He's not considered a viable candidate," Tancredo's campaign Manager Bay Buchanan said about Maes. "He can't raise money and he can't keep endorsements," she said, adding that Maes' candidacy is falling "like a rock."
"It's totally Maes' fault. It's his own doing," she said.
Buchanan said Tancredo agrees with Barbour's assessment and that the reason Tancredo is in the race is to give conservatives disenchanted with Maes an option. Prominent Republicans, including former Sen. Hank Brown and Senate candidate Ken Buck rescinded their endorsement of Maes, and several tea party leaders also abandoned him. The Denver Post reported Wednesday that current and former Colorado Republicans, including former Congressman Bob Beauprez, have decided to support Tancredo.
Hickenlooper spokesman George Merritt said the campaign had no comment on what Barbour said.
Dick Wadhams, the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, said he was not surprised by Barbour's comments.
"It's no secret that a three-way race for governor virtually insures the election of John Hickenlooper for governor. There's nothing new about that," he said. "I also know that organizations like the RGA don't tend to spend money in races they don't think are winnable. That's the situation."