Former Rep. Tom Tancredo this week dismissed rumors that his third run to be Colorado's governor is "sponsored by" or is part of the nationwide "ticket" being assembled by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
“First of all, he did not recruit me, as identified in many [reports],” Tancredo told the Washington Examiner.
“We met in Colorado Springs. He asked me about quote ‘the lay of the land’ out here, politically. We were not meeting, however, for the purpose of him saying to me, ‘Tom, I’m asking you to run.’ He didn’t. He did not ask me to run for governor. His greatest concern is the Senate and Congress.”
Reports in the last week have suggested Bannon’s clout may be waning, especially with some high-level donors who are needed to field a nationwide slate of candidates outside the Republican establishment.
The viability of Bannon’s strategy may depend on the outcome of the Alabama Senate race, now just 15 days away from its conclusion. Most political observers believe a loss by Roy Moore, who Bannon continues to back despite allegations of sexual assault against Moore, would strike a major blow to any chance Bannon might have in placing even a small coterie of anti-establishment Republicans in the senate.
Tancredo, a former five-term congressman, has already run for governor twice, but not always as the GOP’s chosen candidate. In that sense, he fits the anti-establishment requirement for Bannon. In 2014, Tancredo entered the race as a candidate of the American Constitution Party after the credibility of the GOP nominee had been torn down.
“Now, believe me, if he were to help us out financially, I’d be a happy camper, happy to take it.” Tancredo said of Bannon. “But I do not have any expectations of it, he never promised me he would give me any resources.”
Fundraising could turnout to be the key issue for whoever might win the GOP nomination, because the presumptive nominee for the Democrats is Rep. Jared Polis, who brings along his own small personal fortune to the race. The thought of Polis self-financing his candidacy was enough to force Polis’ colleague, Rep. Ed Permutter, out of the Democratic primary.
Tancredo said he decided to run a third time after seeing recent poll results from a pro-Trump firm, which he says showed him tied with Polis.
“Now, we were both in the 20s [percent range], with 40-some percent undecided. But the fact was, I wasn't in the race!” Tancredo told Westword magazine. “I hadn't even announced, and I was tied with Jared Polis. That seemed to me to be a pretty good indicator that I do have a chance and perhaps I've got the best chance against a guy like Polis.”
The Republican field is still very crowded, including other well-known statewide officeholders like Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.
Colorado’s current governor, John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is term limited.