McInnis wins GOP Gov preference poll

Maes snares 40 percent vote

By Leslie Jorgensen
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, former 3rd District Congressman, received 59 percent of the votes cast by Republican caucus goers on Tuesday, but he wasn’t able to shut out challenger Dan Maes, who snared 40 percent.

GOP candidate for governor Scott McInnis greets Carol LeClair at her caucus in Aurora. McInnis received 59 percent of the votes of Republican caucus-goers Tuesday night.
Photo by Brad Jones/The Colorado Statesman

The preference poll is not scientific, but state GOP Chair Dick Wadhams said the results are a “snapshot” of caucus goers’ sentiment. If so, it looks like McInnis won’t avoid a primary race against Maes.

“I have pretty high standards for myself,” said Maes. “I was shooting for more than 50 percent — but I’ve been told that 40 percent is good.”

“It’s a lot of hard work,” he said of campaigning around the state and putting more than 50,000 miles on his car.

Maes thanked caucus goers, who, he said, “are the next generation of grassroots against the traditional political machine.”

McInnis also lauded grassroots Republicans.

“The caucuses mark an important first formal step in our nominating process, and this very strong show of support among grassroots Republican activists provides us with a solid shot of momentum as we move forward,” said McInnis in a statement.

Governor candidate Scott McInnis drives home a point while Charla Knox listens at a caucus in Aurora.
Photo by Brad Jones/The Colorado Statesman

“Jump-starting Colorado’s economy and sparking job creation by rejecting tax hikes and restoring fiscal responsibility is what I will do as Governor, and that message is resonating around the state,” he said.

McInnis said it’s a “common-sense message” that he believes voters will embrace from now on the campaign trail to the general election in November.

“We’re very pleased with the caucus polls,” declared Sean Duffy, McInnis campaign communications director. “It’s a reflection of how hard Scott has worked.”

Duffy said it wouldn’t be shocking if Maes captures 30 percent of the delegate vote at the state GOP assembly — the threshold to be placed on the primary ballot. Yet, he said McInnis isn’t concerned about a Republican primary — the candidate is keeping his eye on defeating Democratic candidate Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in the general election.

“The Hickenlooper-Ritter agenda has failed Colorado,” said Duffy, who likes to paint Hickenlooper as a clone of Democratic Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter who decided not to seek re-election.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis courts the youth vote in Aurora with Andrew Limbaugh, age 8, and his sister Bailey.
Photo by Brad Jones/The Colorado Statesman

“Scott in the only one out there banging away against tax increases that hurt jobs in Colorado,” he said. “Hick has been silent on these tax increases — and now the health care bill that carries a huge invoice for Colorado.”

McInnis’ campaign platform is “jobs, jobs, jobs” and structured on the “Platform for Prosperity,” a document crafted by his campaign with Republican leaders including former 6th District Congressman Tom Tancredo and state Sen. Josh Penry. Last year, Penry abandoned his GOP gubernatorial campaign and endorsed McInnis.

Maes said his message has been received “as a breath of fresh air” by grassroots activists. He is campaigning as a businessman who wants to enforce illegal immigration laws, reduce unemployment, lower taxes, defend the Taxpayers Bill of Rights and reduce the size of state government.

His candidacy has been endorsed by the Northern Colorado Tea Party, the Southern Colorado Tea Party, the Evergreen-Conifer Tea Party, the Independence Caucus, ROAR America, the Teller Tea Party and Hear Us Now!

McInnis garnered a higher percentage of caucus votes than Maes in key counties populated with a large number of Republican registered voters, such as Arapahoe, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties. Maes edged past McInnis in Adams and Larimer counties.

Leslie@coloradostatesman.com