Speculation that Republican Party leaders in Colorado would draft RE/MAX International co-founder and chairman Dave Liniger to run for governor is likely to die down now that a party outsider, tea party favorite Dan Maes, has won the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary election.
Republican Party leaders were reportedly hoping that the candidate they’d initially backed for governor — former U.S. Congressman Scott McInnis — would defeat Maes in the primary, and then step aside in favor of Liniger.
Backers of the plan thought Liniger would have a better chance of prevailing in the November general election than McInnis, whose bid for governor was hampered by a plagiarism scandal.
The November general election is shaping up to be a three-way race pitting Maes against Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Republican and former U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo, who has announced plans to run as an American Constitution Party candidate.
Tancredo announced his intention to run for governor two weeks ago, saying that neither McInnis or Maes — a party outsider who has never held elected office — would be able to defeat Hickenlooper. But if Tancredo splits the Republican vote, Hickenlooper is expected to cruise to victory in the general election.
Republican Party leaders hoped that if McInnis won the primary, he would agree to step aside in favor of Liniger or another substitute candidate. Party leaders hoped that if they were able to substitute a more viable candidate, Tancredo might be persuaded to drop out of the race.
Liniger hasn’t held office before, but his business credibility and ability to self-finance a campaign were seen as assets. Dave and Gail Liniger co-founded RE/MAX in Denver in 1973, growing the company into a global franchise network with more than 90,000 affiliated independent agents.
Republicans began courting Liniger when Tancredo announced his intention to enter the race, and Liniger was considering whether he would step in, The Denver Post reported, citing "multiple sources" involved in the discussions.
But Maes is not expected to step aside for Liniger or any other candidate.
After squeaking by McInnis in the primary by 1 percentage point, Maes called on Tancredo to drop out of the governor’s race.