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Tom Tancredo's Primary is Today — But That's Not All That GOP Has to Worry About

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Today is primary day in Colorado, which means that the moment of truth is at hand for Tom Tancredo and the GOP.

As we’ve written about before, Tom Tancredo and his anti-immigrant history is so toxic for Republicans that all kinds of weird stuff is happening in order to try and prevent Tancredo from winning the GOP gubernatorial nomination against Democrat John Hickenlooper.  Democrat-linked groups are spending money for Tancredo because they see him as the easiest candidate to defeat.  Republican-linked groups are airing ads against him and encouraging state GOP-ers to vote for his primary rival, Bob Beauprez.

Jack Healy chronicled the opposition to Tancredo this week at the New York Times:

Some Republicans have urged Mr. Tancredo to abandon the race. Others have stepped in to try to chip away at his support.

One group, Republicans Who Want to Win, flatly declared in an ad that Mr. Tancredo could not beat Mr. Hickenlooper. The Colorado-based group is supporting Bob Beauprez, a former congressman who lost his 2006 bid for governor by double digits. (The other two Republicans vying for the nomination are Scott Gessler, the secretary of state, and Mike Kopp, a veteran of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 and former state senator.)

Some Democrats, apparently eager to face Mr. Tancredo in November, have even tried to nudge the race in his direction. A group with ties to progressive and Democratic groups ran an ad that emphasized Mr. Tancredo’s opposition to Mr. Obama’s health care law and declared him “too conservative for Colorado” — a criticism in a general election, but a potential badge of honor in a primary. Fox31 Denver first reported the ad’s provenance.

Last week, a radio commercial from a Massachusetts-based group attacked Mr. Tancredo as a “big-spending Republican in Washington” who frequently switched positions. The group, Colorado Campaign for Jobs and Opportunity, has ties to a consulting firm run by several people who worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns….

“It is a real mess,” said Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado Republicans. “If he’s the nominee, he will become the defining face of theRepublican Party. The Democrats will make sure of it. He has said so many inflammatory things — the list is unbelievable.”

Republicans are right to fear Tancredo, who once called Miami a “third world country” and Obama the “greatest threat” facing America.  In a year when Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is in a tight race for Mark Udall (D-CO)’s Senate seat, and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) is battling to stay in Congress, what Republicans’t DON’T need is Tom Tancredo as the face of the state party.  Coffman’s opponent, Andrew Romanoff, has already repeatedly attempted to tie Coffman to Tancredo and his extremism.

But state Republicans have a lot more to answer for than just Tom Tancredo.  As recent ads at the Denver Post reminded residents, Gardner and Coffman have done nothing to promote immigration reform in Congress, even though their state electorate is 13% Latino.  Congressional Republicans have spent the last year hiding behind one excuse or another for not taking up reform.  They’ve given multiple votes to Steve King, who is in favor of deporting DREAMers.  Just today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is renewing that effort by circulating a letter asking for the end of DACA and the resuming of DREAMer deportations.

Tom Tancredo, if he wins his primary tonight, will be a huge albatross for the Colorado GOP.  But the Republican Congressional record on immigration is bad news for them, as well.