Former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo has followed through on, announcing today that he will indeed run for governor of Colorado as a third party candidate.
Last Friday, Tancredo told the state's two Republican candidates, Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, that if they did not drop out of the race to make room for a stronger candidate he would seek the nomination. And after both candidates rejected the ultimatum, Tancredo told the Denver Post today that he will be seeking the nomination as a member of the American Constitution Party.
Tancredo said that while he still needs to formally file papers with the Colorado Secretary of State and register as an official member of the party, he is "ready to go."
As expected, Tancredo's decision, which appears to dampen GOP prospects in the highly-contested race to replace retiring Governor Bill Ritter, has garnered strong rebuke from Republicans.
McInnis, who has faced accusations of plagiarism, issued a statement today that said, "Those looking for a deadline should focus on the only real deadline: August 10 at 7 p.m. This is when the polls close, the people have voted and their votes are counted. That's the way the system works in a free society."
He added: "Colorado Republicans will speak with their votes on that day, and I will abide by their decision."
Tancredo cannot enter the GOP primary race at this point.
Colorado Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams blasted Tancredo in an interview with the Washington Post, calling Tancredo's ultimatum a "charade" and a "fraud."
"Tom Tancredo's arrogant decision to go ahead and get in the election today ensures that enough votes will be siphoned off the Republican candidate that [Democratic candidate John] Hickenlooper will win," he said.
Added Wadhams: "If he was sincere about wanting to help find a stronger Republican candidate than the two who are in, he would've waited until after the primary."
A recent Rasmussen poll shows Hickenlooper holding a single-digit lead over both McInnis and Maes in a head-to-head matchup.