09/14/2010 05:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Tom Tancredo Will Stay On Ballot, Judge Decides

Denver District Judge William Hood ruled on Tuesday that American Constitution Party (ACP) candidate for Colorado governor Tom Tancredo has a right to stay on the ballot.

A lawsuit filed last week by two Republican voters argued that Tancredo, a former Republican congressman, was violating the state constitution by changing his party affiliation just days before becoming the ACP candidate for governor.

Tancredo argued on Monday that party bylaws trumped state law in this case.

On Tuesday, Judge Hood wrote that "the fact that Mr. Tancredo and Ms. Miller [Tancredo's running mate] were long-time registered Republicans until they switched parties, 'at the 11th hour' as Plaintiffs put it, and were then designated by ACP to fill these vacancies is irrelevant."

"The high-paid Republican lawyers managed to present a case that was weaker than their candidate," Tancredo said in a statement. "Their attempt to impede my candidacy has now failed in the courts as well as on the campaign trail. Now our focus must turn to the liberal mayor of the sanctuary city of Denver."

The ruling comes hours after the release of a new poll that showed Tancredo had moved ahead of Republican nominee Dan Maes for second place in the gubernatorial race.

Both candidates still lag far behind Democrat John Hickenlooper, who figures to be unbeatable so long as both Maes and Tancredo stay on the ballot.

Two weeks ago, Maes opted to stay in the race despite a torrent of pressure from senior members of his own party.