By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
GREENWOOD VILLAGE — American Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo has picked former state Rep. Pat Miller, a solid pro-life candidate, as his lieutenant governor candidate.
“Pat is going to be my running mate!” exclaimed Tancredo on Monday night. “She’s a proven conservative and true pro-lifer.”
“Tom called me on Thursday night. I was organizing a bake sale and he said you need something bigger to do,” recalled Miller. “He asked me to be his running mate.”
“We’ll have the most conservative ticket for state governor in the country,” said Miller.
Miller has changed her voter affiliation from Republican to the American Constitution Party. Douglas “Dayhorse” Campbell, a member of the party’s executive committee, is no longer listed as the party’s candidate for lieutenant governor.
Miller, who now lives in Erie, was elected to the state House in 1989 from Arvada, and served one term. Her voting record was pro-life, pro-gun, anti-tax and very conservative. She lost a reelection bid to Democrat Jim Pierson in 1992. Two years later, she ran unsuccessfully for the 2nd Congressional District seat against Democrat David Skaggs.
In 1996, Miller challenged Skaggs again — but this time, his campaign painted her as a compatriot of militia movement. It hit a raw nerve after the April 19, 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh and others involved in a homegrown, militia-tied network.
Miller remembered that Skaggs or his proponents ran television ads featuring guys with Uzis and automatic rifles popping out of the woods and instilling fear of her in the public mind.
“It was awful and so far from the truth,” she said. “I remember a woman came up to me and said, ‘I would have voted for you, but that ad changed my mind.’”
One thing that Miller said she never minded was being called “pro-gun rights.”
“I’m a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment and all the Constitutional Amendments,” she declared.
To Miller’s own surprise, she now finds herself back in the political crossfire.
“I’ve been in uphill battles, but this is a mountain,” she declared. “A lot of people feel very distant — even discouraged — by this race. But I’m hoping we can offer hope for them.”
Miller had been a supporter of Scott McInnis, even through the primary election. Miller said she could not support Dan Maes because he is a neophyte and an unknown trying to start at the top of a political ticket — something of which she has always been leery.
“Dan Maes has no experience and this isn’t the time for us to elect someone to get that learning experience,” said Miller, reciting a list of problems facing the state.
On the other hand, Miller said that she has total faith in Tancredo — and underscored again that he would not have entered the race if Republicans had had a viable candidate.
Since her stint in politics, Miller authored three books including “Emily and The Gold Rush,” a historical-romantic novel, “Blessed Beyond Measure” and “Dream a Little Dream.”
On Monday night, Tancredo and his campaign senior consultant Bay Buchanan were heading out to meet with Miller to discuss their appearance — and announcement — on his pal Peter Boyles’ talk radio show on KHOW in Denver on Tuesday morning.
Tancredo and Buchanan are convinced that Miller will be a running mate who appeals to conservatives. And the latter includes members of the tea party and 9/12 movements who were disenchanted with Maes’ running mate choice of former state Rep. Tambor Williams of Greeley. Williams’ voting record, particularly on pro-life issues, has been deemed questionable by some in the Republican Party.
Miller said that Williams has been weak on the issue.
“I don’t think she’s been pro-life in any shape or form,” she declared.
As for the bill to ban partial birth abortion, Miller said that Williams could have amended the language rather than kill the bill.