Sunday, November 21, 2010

Schism in the Republican Party causing mistrust, anger

Dan Maes was "intentionally and maliciously attacked" by the Republican Party, his own party. And, he feels, that's why he lost his run for Governor of Colorado.

"I think our campaign went absolutely wonderful, right up to the primary... we had enormous grass roots support, we had great Tea Party support, and our victory was historic. And then everything changed with the entry of the third party candidate, and went downhill quickly after that." The third party candidate in question is Tom Tancredo, former Representative from Colorado and the American Constitution Party candidate in the recent Colorado gubernatorial election. "I can say that I certainly have, you know, a lot of negative emotions when I think about his candidacy," admitted Mr. Maes in an interview Wednesday.

Mr. Maes has these negative emotions because even though he won the Republican nomination, once Tancredo, with his ten years of Washington experience, entered the ring, the Colorado GOP shifted their support to him. "There was a very strategic and intentional attack on my campaign by what we'll term elitists. I was warned early on that we had to stand on our own. However, after the primary, we absolutely were abandoned by the state GOP and the Republican Governor's Association."

What happened to Mr. Maes is part of a national Republican trend of throwing their support at the candidate they believe will have the best chance of winning, even if that candidate isn't the Republican nominee. Christine O'Donnell and Charlie Crist are perhaps the highest profile GOP nominees left floundering, and unsurprisingly, they both lost their races. But there were many other candidates nationally that were told they had the support of the Republican Party only to be dropped when a better-looking independent candidate came along.

In the case of Lisa Murkowski, the write-in candidate for Senate in Alaska who was recently declared victorious, the Republican Party decided to take the credit after the fact. Despite not having given her any support during her run, the party is now making her a GOP success story, the face of their efforts to get more independent, grass roots support. "Well, assuming that it's [Murkowski's win] true, what happened in Alaska is exactly what happened in Colorado." Maes said, "Murkowski and Tancredo were fools of the GOP, as was the similar race in New York last year. There's a difference in being abandoned like Christine O'Donnell was and being abandoned and having to deal with a third party candidate. That's completely different. Charlie Crist in Florida was the exact same thing."

While Republicans clearly did well this election, taking the majority of seats in the House, their indecisiveness also cost them seats to Democrats in states that would normally go red. The Governor's house and a Senate seat went to Democrats in Colorado, and there were similar results in Arkansas, West Virginia, and Texas. Only time will tell if this is an effective strategy for the Republicans, but in the mean time it is certainly ruffling a few feathers in the party.

"They were fooled in to believing the third party candidate was the better choice for some reason still not really identified yet. I was very disappointed in them being so malleable."

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