By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Local liberty group members gathered at the state Capitol yesterday to hold a unity rally as conservatives in Colorado remain split over politics, especially over which conservative gubernatorial candidate to back.
Jason Worley, president of the Broomfield chapter of the conservative 9/12 Project, said it does not matter to him what conservative candidate liberty group members back in Colorado this coming November. His focus is on keeping his members focused on rallying for the U.S. Constitution.
The rally at the Capitol yesterday was called the “We Are The People” rally and included multiple speakers, including Fox News political commentator S.E. Cupp and Tea Party celebrity Andrew Breitbart, to name a couple speakers.
The 9/12 Project was started by Fox News personality Glenn Beck who created the movement to capture the emotions felt by Americans on Sept. 12, 2001, the day following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. Beck believes on Sept. 12, 2011, Americans were united as Americans — a spirit he has tried to capture over the years.
Worley says politicians have forgotten what it means to uphold the Constitution, and therefore he did not invite any politicians to speak at the event yesterday.
“Instead of protesting against something, we wanted to protest for something, especially the U.S. Constitution,” said Worley.
“Our idea today, and that’s one of the reasons we don’t have any candidate here, is that we do need to show unity,” he continued. “People can vote and support who they want, that’s the beauty of the Tea Party, it’s not monolithic whatsoever. Even in our own group there’s a fairly even split.”
Indeed the crowd yesterday was fairly evenly split between supporters of former Congressman and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo, who is running on the American Constitution Party ticket, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes. There did, however, appear to be a few more Tancredo supporters wearing campaign T-shirts near the west steps of the Capitol than there were Maes supporters.
Maes has recently lost the backing of many in his party over campaign controversies that have mired his campaign. The most recent raised questions over his credibility and character after reports suggested that Maes may have played with the truth over how he was dismissed from a job as a police officer in Kansas 25 years ago.
Tancredo, who is very popular in the conservative community, essentially split the Republican vote when he left the Republican Party in July to run in the gubernatorial race as an American Constitution Party candidate.
Establishment Republicans have expressed anger with both Tancredo and Maes for not dropping out of the race.
Many want Tancredo to exit the race so that Maes has a better shot against Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper, who holds a healthy lead over both candidates. Many Republicans also want Maes to exit the race so that they can run a more formidable Republican candidate against Hickenlooper.
Neither Maes nor Tancredo have expressed any interest in dropping out.
Arvada resident Dave Rupert appeared at the Capitol wearing a Tancredo T-shirt and holding a liberty movement flag that read, “Don’t tread on me.” He said he is voting for Tancredo because he believes Tancredo is the only candidate who is tough on immigration and doesn’t cave to inside establishment politics.
“He’s kind of a renegade to the national GOP because of his stance with illegal immigration, and it’s no different than my feeling that if you’re here legally, fine, we welcome you, but if you’re an illegal, our laws say you’re breaking the law, let’s enforce it,” said Rupert.
Tancredo is best known for his outspoken criticism of the nation’s enforcement of immigration laws. He ran for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination mostly on his immigration platform, but lost the bid.
Rupert said he was originally considering voting for Maes, but after Tancredo threw his hat into the ring, Rupert switched his loyalty to Tancredo. He said he took into account the impact Tancredo would have on the Republican Party, but Rupert said his loyalty to Tancredo as a candidate is stronger than to any party.
“(Tancredo) knows all or most of us are independent constitutionalist conservatives, and the Republican Party has left us, so we have to take a stand and realize, ‘Hey, we don’t believe in present GOP representation, so therefore we’re going to somebody who’s going to make an issue of this,’” said Rupert.
Kenny Polzin, a volunteer for the Maes campaign, stood at the rally yesterday wearing his Maes for governor T-shirt. He said he supports Maes because Maes went through the proper process to earn his party’s nomination.
“I don’t have a problem with Tancredo being the governor. If he had gone through the process, you and I might very well be talking about Tom Tancredo … because I would volunteer for him,” said Polzin. “But he didn’t do the process, he manipulated the process, and Dan’s done everything he was told to do.”
Polzin also does not put much stock in the accusations going around about Maes, arguing that his loyalty is stronger than the accusations. “If you’re a friend of mine, and somebody is attacking you with lies, I guarantee you I will not abandon you, just as I would never abandon a conservative who is being attacked, and Dan is being attacked with a lot of baloney stuff,” he said.