By Matt Minch, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Once more, statements made by Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes earlier this campaign season have been used against him.
Maes’ conservative opponent, American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, reminded voters on Tuesday that earlier this month, Maes issued a mandate on a radio show that any candidate who polled less than 20 percent should exclude themselves from the debates.
The most recent poll of the race, done by Pulse Opinion Research and ordered by Fox News, placed support for Maes at just 15 percent, showed 34 percent support for Tancredo and 44 percent support for Democrat John Hickenlooper.
“I think there needs to be a benchmark for candidates,” Maes said as a guest on the Sept. 9 airing of the Caplin and Silverman radio show. “Somewhere you have to set the bar for who comes and who doesn’t.”
In his experience as a candidate, Maes said the benchmark he had been asked to meet in order to secure television airtime or event invitations was 20 percent. On the show, Maes called the standard “arbitrary,” but did suggest that it be used to judge whether Tancredo be invited to future debates.
“If you’re polling 20 percent come on board, and if you’re not, then you don’t come,” he said.
Cautioned by the host that his own poll numbers could drop below 20 percent in a three-way race, Maes said that he would hold himself to the standard “if hypothetically there was this magic rule.” He did not say that any rule was actually in effect, but that he would abide by one if it was implemented.
“Here’s what’s different about me and career politicians,” Maes said. “When I set a rule, I live by it and I don’t change the goal post, you know, when it doesn’t suit me well.”
A statement from the Tancredo campaign accompanying the audio clip reads: “Tancredo is looking forward to a two-man race with liberal Mayor John Hickenlooper.”
The statement implies that Maes’ statements were the equivalent of a promise to drop from the race if his numbers ever fell below the 20 percent mark, a claim the Maes campaign disputes.
Maes’ Communications Director Nate Strauch said that Maes has the same philosophy he has always had on debate invitations Ń they should be left up to the organizers. The number used by Maes in the interview was “hypothetical,” he said, and he doesn’t expect Maes will be left out of any debates because of his statements.
“Clearly every sponsor is going to want to have the Republican party nominee,” he said.