Jumped ship too late?

Two metro area Republicans have filed suit against Secretary of State Bernie Buescher in Denver District Court to have gubernatorial hopeful Tom Tancredo removed from the ballot. Tancredo is running as a third-party candidate, affiliated with the American Constitution Party.The plaintiffs are Marian Olson of Golden, and Joe Harrington, of Highlands Ranch.

Their lawsuit contends that Tancredo switched parties too late. Tancredo abandoned the Republican Party in July. According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, specifically 1-4-402(d)(I): Any candidate nominated by a political party shall have been affiliated with the party for at least twelve consecutive months prior to the date the convention begins, as shown on the voter registration book of the county clerk and recorder.

The American Constitution Party's bylaws require a candidate to have been a member of the party for at least six months prior to nomination, but this can be waived. The party's role is further complicated by the bylaws, which also state that the party's state assembly must validate the candidate. This was not done in Tancredo's case, where only the party's vacancy committee was involved in the selection.

Tancredo's running mate, Pat Miller, did not switch to the American Constitution Party until August 24.

In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs also state that Tancredo's nomination is a failed attempt to force Dan Maes to withdraw from the race. Tancredo has been quite vocal in his dislike for candidates Scott McGinnis and Dan Maes. Of Maes, who won the Republican primary, Tancredo says "There are times when the party asks too much. When they asked me to support someone like Dan, I simply will not do it." and "The Republican party's chances of winning the governor's seat were destroyed August 10, with the election of Dan Maes."

Tancredo had issued an ultimatum to McInnis and Maes back in July, giving them until "high noon" on July 26 to withdraw from the race or face his entry into the campaign as the American Constitution Party candidate. Neither backed out, and Tancredo is now - for the moment - the American Constitution Party's candidate. The acrimony between Tancredo and Colorado Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams has grown to the point that Wadhams actually referred to Tancredo as a "maniacal egotist" on the Caplis and Silverman radio talk show, and in the Colorado Statesman. Tancredo replied by indicating he thought Wadhams had need of some medical marijuana. The sparks flew again on the Peter Boyles show, when both men called each other liars in a heated on-the-air exchange.

The case is to be heard in Denver District Court on Monday at 9:00 AM.