By Jody Hope Strogoff
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
Dan Maes, a Republican candidate for governor, seemed realistic about his underdog status as he addressed supporters at his new headquarters at the northwest corner of Hampden and Broadway in old Englewood. “We’re not about being big, and we’re not about millions of dollars, we’re about you in this room, the people of Colorado. And we have a great team we’ve put together and I’m going to introduce you to them tonight,” Maes said at the Feb. 23 event.
And with that, the small businessman from Evergreen launched into introductions and talked about his bid for the state’s top elective position. There was also a surprise endorsement — the campaign’s first.
Maes said he has surpassed 50,000 miles on his two cars so far in his statewide campaign. “I don’t have a pickup truck, I’m sorry, but I do have a 2003 Chevy Impala and many people are glad to see that American car pull up when they’re thinking about who they want to vote for,” he told a few dozen supporters and family members at his headquarters opening.
“And I say to Washington, ‘I want one thing from you: protect my family, protect my home, protect my county, protect my state from enemies, domestic and foreign. And that’s what I want you to do and otherwise keep your nose out of our state’s business,’” Maes said.
“Some of you folks are probably still trying to figure out, ‘does he really mean that?’ I mean, talk is cheap. ‘Does he really mean it?’ You know, I’ve stood up against some pretty powerful people in the last couple of months in this campaign. Some people tried to run us out, I said, ‘No thank you. I’m sticking around.’ The people of Colorado deserve a true conservative, not someone who just talks it but someone who walks it. And I’m going to keep doing it for you as we move forward.”
Charles Patrikof, vice chair of Hear Us Now! meandered to the front of the small room, settling next to Maes. “Hear Us Now! is delighted to announce our unanimous decision to endorse the people’s candidate, Mr. Dan Maes, to become the next governor of the great state of Colorado,” he said.
In making its endorsement, the organization considered Maes’ commitment to upholding the United States constitution and the constitution of the State of Colorado.
“In addition, Hear Us Now! appreciates Mr. Maes’ expressed commitment to protect the sanctity of life in all phases, cut taxes and spending, reduce and remove restrictive regulations on businesses and to stand for our founding principles to preserve our God given rights, the only legitimate purpose for the existence of government,” Patrikof said.
“The members of Hear Us Now! have watched and examined him to discover his character,” Patrikof continued. “Of all the candidates for governor, (Maes) has been consistent in his support of tea party and 9/12 rallies.”
Maes then turned to introducing his campaign staff, acknowledging at the onset that it’s taken awhile.
“But we realize that at this phase of the game, that we indeed do need to have a structure to our campaign,” Maes explained. “The traditional Republican Party, who by the way, I went to first… I honored their system, I still honor their system and I believe we should honor that system, but use it as a vehicle to where we need to go… We’re going to have a staff because it’s the right thing to do and it’s going to give us credibility with the media, it’s going to give us credibility with the party and we need to do it.”
Maes began by introducing Patty Ross as his campaign manager.
“Dan is our man and we have a plan,” she said. “Give us about 60 to 90 days it’s going to take us to build the foundation.
“This is like building a business,” Ross said, “because (Dan) is an unknown.”
But within a week, Ross had been chopped from her campaign manager spot and relegated to volunteer coordinator. Apparently, Maes later told The Statesman, Ross had plans which would not allow her to be available for two weeks leading up to the state assembly.
The candidate is keeping other key management spots in the family.
Karen, the candidate’s wife, is serving as treasurer. His daughter Jordan, a recent graduate of UNC, is the executive aide/scheduler.
Jim Cook, a recent acquaintance, is the field co-coordinator for the campaign.
“I was at the (Jefferson County Roundup) a couple of weeks ago and a gentleman walks up and introduces Jim to me and says, ‘Jim wants to cut his teeth in a campaign and I think you’re the guy to cut teeth with right now because you’re doing a campaign like we’ve never seen before.’”
“Jim and I sat and talked and we got to know each other and Jim also has very little campaign experience but he’s a worker. And I’m going to thank him right now because he brought all this furniture down with a friend last Saturday in the snow and he moved everything in there. And then a day or two later he started organizing and everything you see here, he managed the project of opening the office, securing the lease, getting everything set up, coordinating the volunteers for tonight.”
Then Karen Maes turned on the charm and invited everyone to partake of the pie set out on tables in the campaign office.