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After jumping into the governor’s race with no political experience and no establishment credentials or support, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes defeated Scott McInnis on Tuesday in the …
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After jumping into the governor’s race with no political experience and no establishment credentials or support, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes defeated Scott McInnis on Tuesday in the Republican primary.
Maes won by 50.6 percent to 49.3 percent, with a record number of Coloradans casting primary votes.
After peaking in the final weeks, the Maes campaign was tantalizingly close to victory, but the race was still too close to call. Maes now faces Democrat John Hickenlooper and Constitution Party latecomer Tom Tancredo in November.
At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the margin was in Maes’ favor, 52 percent to 48 percent. By 9 p.m. it had become a virtual dead heat. Several media outlets declared him the winner just after midnight.
Tuesday evening started out with about 300 Maes supporters and a wide assortment of media gathering on the rooftop of Lodo’s Bar and Grill in downtown Denver near Coors Field to monitor the vote count.
At 7 p.m., Maes told the Canyon Courier he was in an optimistic mood.
“We’ve been confident for a couple of weeks,” he said. “It’s the grassroots, the Tea Party, the conservative Republicans — their voices are being heard,” he said, explaining how his campaign went from obscurity a year ago to a serious contender, despite taking a beating in the media over campaign finance violations.
Meanwhile, Jane Norton conceded the race for a Republican Senate candidacy to her opponent, Ken Buck, and Andrew Romanoff lost the Democratic contest to incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.
Maes was maintaining a philosophical attitude and told a TV reporter: “I’m a tool of the people. It’s about what the people want. I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it.”
Compared to the veteran politician McInnis, Maes’ outsider status proved to be a plus. Supporter Donna BP of Longmont (her real name) said she had been helping the campaign since Christmas.
“He’s not repeating the Washington line. I picked up the phone, and I had a conversation. He’s not a member of the old-boy network and not a career politician,” she said.
Janis and Ken Baney of Westminster, who identified themselves as 20-year family friends of Maes, said his appeal was his integrity, believability and willingness to take responsibility when things go wrong.
“He’s not a regular politician. He’s a guy who talks to the common man,” Ken Baney said.
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