2010 Colorado gubernatorial election
The 2010 Colorado gubernatorial election was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 to elect the Governor of Colorado, who would serve a four-year term that began in January 2011. Democrat John Hickenlooper, the mayor of Denver, won the race with over 50% of the vote, defeating Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo and Republican nominee Dan Maes. One-term incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter announced that he would not run for re-election in 2010. Maes, backed by the Tea Party movement, won the Republican nomination in the primary with 50.6% of the vote and a 1.3% margin over rival Scott McInnis. In claiming victory, Maes called on Tancredo to "stop your campaign tonight." John Hickenlooper was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
Hickenlooper: 30–40% 40-50% 50–60% 60–70% 70–80%
Tancredo 30-40% 40-50% 50-60% 60-70%
- John Suthers, Colorado Attorney General
- Josh Penry, State Senator
- Tom Tancredo, former U.S. Representative
Pre-primary polling and developmentsEdit
While a head-to-head polling matchup of McInnis against Maes by Survey USA was not reported for July 2010, the McInnis plagiarism story and the entry of Tom Tancredo into the race led to a changed landscape in advance of the August 10 Republican primary. "When asked who would be the 'strongest Republican gubernatorial candidate,' ... Tancredo easily led the pack of six choices with 29 percent. McInnis followed with 19 percent, and ... Maes, had 13 percent. Another 17 percent ... were not sure", in the Survey USA poll commissioned by the Denver Post and 9News. While Tancredo's run was on the Constitution Party ticket, he spoke as a Republican in responding to the poll results. "Tancredo, originally a McInnis supporter, has said that both Maes and McInnis should 'both eventually drop out' of the race even if it's after one wins the primary. 'Neither can win the general election,' he said. Tancredo said he was 'surprised and flattered' by the poll results. 'I want us as a party to get this governor's seat,' he said. 'If I can do it, believe me, I will.'" Tancredo was delivered a "message, signed by tea party, 9-12 Project and constitutionalist groups, [which] read in part: 'Withdraw your ultimatum, stay in the Republican Party, let the process play out for the governor's race within the rules already set forth, and continue to help us improve this party, its candidates, and the process — in other words to trust and respect the newly awakened, energized and informed voters of Colorado.'" As of late July, both McInnis and Maes had rejected Tancredo's ultimatum that they withdraw before or after the primary. And "political observers — and even state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams — were already predicting [Tancredo]'s entry into the race sounded the death knell for the party's gubernatorial bid and may cause problems for state legislative races. 'It's difficult if not impossible to beat ... Hickenlooper with Tancredo in the race,' said Wadhams, noting that Tancredo will siphon just enough votes away from the GOP nominee to give Hickenlooper a win." Post-primary polling (see below), however, showed growing support for Tancredo with Maes in danger of receiving a vote share in the single digits.
McInnis vs. MaesEdit
|Poll source||Dates administered||Dan Maes (R)||Scott McInnis (R)|
|Public Policy Polling||August 7–8, 2010||40%||41%|
|Survey USA||August 1, 2010||43%||39%|
|Survey USA||June 15–17, 2010||29%||57%|
American Constitution PartyEdit
- Tom Tancredo (ACP), former Republican U.S. Representative
- Running mate: Pat Miller, former State Representative
- Jaimes Brown (L)
- Running mate: Ken Wyble
- Jason R. Clark (UAF)
- Paul Fiorino (I)
- Running mate: Heather McKibbin
- John Hickenlooper (D), Mayor of Denver
- Dan Maes (R), businessman
- Running mate: Tambor Williams, former State Representative
Polling and predictionsEdit
|Poll source||Dates administered||John Hickenlooper (D)||Dan Maes (R)||Tom Tancredo (ACP)|
|Public Policy Polling||October 30–31, 2010||47%||8%||43%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 29, 2010||49%||5%||42%|
|Public Policy Polling||October 21–23, 2010||47%||5%||44%|
|Magellan Strategies||October 22, 2010||44%||9%||43%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 15, 2010||42%||12%||38%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 3, 2010||43%||16%||35%|
|Public Policy Polling||September 30-October 2, 2010||47%||13%||33%|
|Survey USA||September 28–30, 2010||46%||15%||34%|
|Fox News||September 25, 2010||44%||15%||34%|
|CNN/Time||September 17–21, 2010||47%||21%||29%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 14, 2010||46%||21%||25%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 29, 2010||36%||24%||14%|
|Ipsos/Reuters||August 20–22, 2010||41%||33%||16%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 11, 2010||43%||31%||18%|
|Public Policy Polling||August 7–8, 2010||48%||23%||22%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 2, 2010||42%||27%||24%|
|Survey USA||July 27–29, 2010||46%||24%||24%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 15, 2010||46%||43%||––|
|Survey USA||June 15–17, 2010||44%||45%||––|
|Rasmussen Reports||June 14, 2010||41%||41%||––|
|Cook Political Report||Lean D||November 1, 2010|
|Rothenberg||D favored||October 31, 2010|
|RealClearPolitics||Leans D||October 31, 2010|
|Sabato's Crystal Ball||Leans D||October 28, 2010|
|CQ Politics||Leans D||November 1, 2010|
|Rasmussen Reports||Leans D||November 1, 2010|
General election resultsEdit
|Democratic||John Hickenlooper/Joseph García||915,436||51.1%|
|Constitution||Tom Tancredo/Pat Miller||652,376||36.4%|
|Republican||Dan Maes/Tambor Williams||199,792||11.1%|
|Libertarian||Jaimes Brown/Ken Wyble||13,365||0.7%|
|Independent||Jason R. Clark||8,601||0.5%|
|Independent||Paul Fiorino/Heather McKibbin||3,492||0.2%|
American Constitution Party gets major party statusEdit
A result of Tancredo's ACP candidacy and Maes' political implosion was the party's legal elevation from minor to major party status.
Under state law, Tancredo's showing in the gubernatorial election elevated the American Constitution Party from minor to major party status. Any party that earns 10% or more of the votes cast for governor is a "major party." Major party status gives the party a place at or near the top of the ballot in the 2014 gubernatorial election. However, because of the additional organizational, financial, and compliance requirements triggered by major party status, ACP leaders have been ambivalent about the change.
As the campaign wore on, the question was not whether Hickenlooper would win, but whether Maes would get at least 10% of the vote. Had he dropped below 10%, the Republican Party would have been legally defined as a minor party under Colorado law. Maes' campaign received no financial support from the Colorado GOP, RNC, nor the Republican Governor's Association. Ultimately, he finished with 11 percent of the vote, just 20,000 votes over the threshold, allowing the Colorado GOP to retain major party status.
The Constitution Party did not field a candidate in the 2014 election, and thus lost its major party status.
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- "2010 Abstract of Votes Cast" (PDF). Colorado Secretary of State. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
- Steven K. Paulson, "ACP Not Relishing Role As Colorado Major Party", Associated Press; May 8, 2011.
- Patricia Calhoun, "American Constitution Party faces major headaches as a major Colorado party", Westword Magazine; 3/6/2012.
- John Moore, "Hickenlooper wins easily," Denver Post, 3 November 2010, accessed 3 November 2010.
- Colorado Secretary of State – Elections Division
- Colorado Governor Candidates at Project Vote Smart
- Campaign contributions for 2010 Colorado Governor from Follow the Money
- Colorado Governor 2010 from OurCampaigns.com
- 2010 Colorado Gubernatorial General Election: Dan Maes (R) vs John Hickenlooper (D) vs Tom Tancredo (i) graph of multiple polls from Pollster.com
- Election 2010: Colorado Governor from Rasmussen Reports
- 2010 Colorado Governor – McInnis vs. Hickenlooper from Real Clear Politics
- Race Profile in The New York Times
- Collected news and commentary at Election 2010 at The Denver Post
- Official campaign websites (Archived)