Rep. Tom Tancredo Presidential Run Will Heat Up Colorado Politics
by Jim Kouri, CPP
Castle Rock, Colorado -- While the news media are in celebratory mode over New York's Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announcing her intention to seek the Democrat Party nomination for President of the United States in 2008, conservatives will perhaps also celebrate some good news in the coming days: Colorado's own superstar, Rep. Tom Tancredo, seeking the GOP nomination for POTUS.
While Tancredo is expected to announce his plans -- which includes retirement after five terms in Congress -- to pursue what's considered a quixotic presidential bid in the coming days, political observers are already speculating as to who will take Tancredo's congressional seat.
Tancredo, highly regarded among conservatives for his uncompromising stances on immigration reform, will be tough to replace but some conservatives are already lining up to take a shot at the prize of representing this overwhelmingly Republican district. Much like the congressional district to the south (C0-5), the 6th District race will almost certainly be decided in the August primary election with only a slim chance of a Democrat ever representing this district.
Two Colorado state senators top the list of possible successors to Tancredo. State Senator Tom Wiens (S-4) <http://www.tomwiens.com> and newly elected State Senator Ted Harvey (S-30) <http://www.tedharvey.com have both signaled to supporters that they are ready to run if and when Tancredo announces retirement.
Wiens has the political experience, connections and personal wealth to develop a formidable campaign. Additionally, Wiens has developed a Tancredo-like reputation in the state legislature as a conservative reformer on issues such as immigration and border security, tax policy, as well as on social issues such as protecting life and the 2nd Amendment. Recently, Wiens played a prominent role in passing Colorado’s hard fought state marriage amendment in the November 2006 election. Wiens is a wise conservative choice to fill the big shoes of Tancredo.
Senator Ted Harvey is also a strong conservative with a record on social issues that endears him to the social conservatives within the district. Harvey has been a member of the Colorado Republican Study Committee during his time in the state legislature both serving in the House and now the State Senate.
He would also be a great replacement for Tancredo though he might have already made his biggest mistake in hiring the controversial Hotaling brothers, Jonathan and Mark, to run his congressional race when and if Congressman Tancredo retires.
Jonathan Hotaling managed Congressman Doug Lamborn’s (CO-5) successful campaign, leading him through last year's bitter six-way primary with questionable tactics while his brother used the Colorado Christian Coalition to send attack mailers against Lamborn’s competitors. Both were subjects of a much publicized FEC investigation into illegal coordination between the two brothers to benefit the Lamborn campaign.
The Hotaling brothers’ management of Harvey’s campaign will surely cost Harvey support among those who were paying attention to last year's Republican primary showdown in Colorado Springs. Coincidentally, both Wiens and Harvey supported Lamborn in that election.
Long thought to be the likely replacement to Tancredo, former State Senate President and radio personality John Andrews has apparently signaled to supporters that he is not interested in pursuing this Congressional seat. Andrews would have easily maintained the front-runner status in this contest.
Others rumored as possible candidates in this race include Secretary of State and former State Treasurer Mike Coffman, who is unlikely to run as he keeps his eyes on the Governor’s mansion as a candidate in either four or eight years; and State Representative David Balmer, who is also rumored to be interested in running for Tancredo's vacated seat.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.