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In Colorado Governor’s Race, Tancredo’s Popularity a Threat to GOP Survival

Lauren Taylor • Sep 19, 2013

Last week a poll revealed high ratings for anti-immigrant extremist and Colorado gubernatorial hopeful, Tom Tancredo.

In the same poll that accurately predicted the recall of Democratic state senator Angela Giron, Public Policy Polling found Tancredo neck and neck with Democratic governor John Hickenlooper in Senate District 3. A state-wide poll released last month revealed similar results.

Before Tancredo can compete against Hickenlooper, however, the former US Congressman and outspoken nativist would have to beat Scott Gessler and Greg Brophy in the Republican primary. This Colorado primary race reflects the deep divisions – and high stakes – within the GOP.

Nationally, the House leadership has tried to guide the party away from the outspoken racism and xenophobia that has long alienated Latino voters. Following Representative Steve King’s repeated assertion that most undocumented youth are “drug mules,” Speaker of the House John Boehner condemned King’s remarks as “wrong and offensive,” and said King’s comments do “not reflect the values of the American people or the Republican Party.” In the midst of the firestorm, Tancredo aligned himself with King.

Tancredo represents precisely the kind of bigotry that some Republicans see as a liability to the party. Founder of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, Tancredo has a long history of bigoted remarks and associations with organized hate groups. He has repeatedly suggested that the US bomb Mecca; he has supported Youth for Western Civilization; and explicitly endorses strategies to prevent people of color from voting. In 2010, Tancredo made a third party bid for governor with the American Constitution Party, a party that recently came under fire when a prominent white  nationalist and Holocaust denier joined its executive committee.

Tancredo’s rising popularity is a threat not only to Colorado immigrants and legislative recent victories in Colorado, but also to the GOP’s survival. It’s time to clean house.

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