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Newly Announced Gov. Candidate Tancredo: 'I Am Not A White Supremacist'

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - Former five-term Congressman Tom Tancredo is making a third run for governor of Colorado.

Tom Tancredo
Tom Tancredo (credit: CBS)

"Somebody has to shake up this race," Tancredo said. "Who better?"

He comes into the Republican primary as the front-runner and the only candidate with a solid political base.

"That scares the bejesus out of the establishment in this state. Both the Republicans and the Democrats," said Tancredo.

He, according to a recent poll, has a wide lead over the other Republican candidates and is tied with Democratic front-runner Jared Polis.

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(credit: CBS)

A long-time provocative political figure, Tancredo is among the most vocal opponents of illegal immigration in the country, but he insists he's not a racist.

"That's not my issue - white supremacy. I am not a white supremacist. I'm astounded always about how I am thought of, treated, and parodied by my opponents and sometimes the media," said Tancredo. "I hold no animus against any human being on this planet for the color of their skin. I never have. Nothing I have ever said, written or done would suggest that."

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(credit: CBS)

Tancredo is a Trump supporter, and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon met with Tancredo about a run for governor earlier this month.

So far, Tancredo says Bannon and his deep-pocketed friends have not promised any money, but he hopes they do.

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(credit: CBS)

Democratic analyst Penfield Tate says Tancredo is "the equivalent of having Donald Trump run for governor in Colorado."

He says other Republican candidates will be forced to the far right, "Because that's where Tom will take it. That's where Tom is comfortable. To the extent Tom has a base, that's where it is."

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(credit: CBS)

Republican analyst Dick Wadhams says if Tancredo can grow his base he has, "a 50-50 chance of being the Republican nominee."

Wadhams says the real question is who emerges as the anti-Tancredo.

"Will any of the other Republican candidates try to challenge Tancredo and provide a real contrast to Tancredo or are they going to cower in his presence in this race?" said Wadhams. "And I say that because somebody is going to have to step forward and say 'This is not what the Republican party is all about.'"

Tancredo says he knows he's in the crosshairs of Republicans and Democrats.

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CB4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd talks with Tom Tancredo. (credit: CBS)

"This race will definitely turn into the ugliest race I have ever been in," said Tancredo. But, he puts his chances of becoming the Republican nominee at better than 50-50.

"It is possible I may not win. It's possible. I understand," he said, "But, I will tell you I think the things I say need to be said."

In addition to tougher immigration laws, Tancredo supports a bond to fix Colorado's roads, a sliding scale for people in the Medicaid expansion, a task force to track hate groups in Colorado, and a requirement that higher education funding be tied to political diversity among the faculty.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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