Steamboat Springs Speaking in Steamboat Springs in the week leading up to the statewide primary, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis emphasized his rural roots as he prepares to meet Democratic candidate and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.
“There is one rural candidate in the race,” McInnis told about a dozen residents and other political officials at a meet-and-greet event at Steamboat Smokehouse on Friday evening.
Before he can face Hickenlooper, however, he must get through the primary race against Dan Maes. He said that as he spends his last week before the votes are tallied traveling around the Western Slope, each vote is important. Bob McConnell, who is facing Scott Tipton in the GOP primary for the 3rd Congressional District, and state Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, attended Friday’s event.
McInnis started the most recent tour in Grand Lake, visiting Walden before getting to Steamboat. He planned to travel to Craig on Friday night and head for Meeker and Grand Junction today.
He added that nearly every state official is based on the Front Range, but that’s not enough for a governor.
“We need somebody who knows all four corners for governor,” he said.
McInnis said growing up in the rural areas gave him the experience to adapt to urban areas. He also served as the U.S. congressman for Colorado’s 3rd District, covering almost all of Western Colorado. “I always thought it was easier for somebody from rural Colorado to understand urban issues than somebody from an urban area to understand rural issues,” he said.
McInnis was caught submitting plagiarized documents as part of a $300,000 fellowship. On Friday, McInnis and the Hasan Family Foundation announced they reached a settlement, but neither side would release details.
McInnis said the turbulence is part of the campaign process.
“Look, this is a political campaign,” he said. “If you can’t take this heat, get out of the governor’s race.”
McInnis’ race also became more complicated when former Republican Tom Tancredo announced plans to run in the general election as a member of the American Constitution Party.
He said that so far, he has raised about $2.5 million in a race that is expected to cost a total of $8 million.
Routt County Republican Central Committee Chairman Jack Taylor introduced McInnis but said committee bylaws prevent him from endorsing any candidate before the primary. Denver media reports have cited Republican Party officials stating that if McInnis wins, party officials will ask him to step aside to make room for a candidate more likely to beat Hickenlooper. Taylor said those reports are unfounded, and officials have told him that whoever wins the primary will be the official party candidate in the election.
The deadline to request and submit a new ballot for the Democrat and Republican primaries is 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Routt County clerk and recorder reported that about 9,000 ballots were sent out to registered party voters, and unaffiliated voters also may declare a party by the Tuesday deadline.