Tancredo Passes $1 Million In Possible Presidential Run

Tancredo passes $1 million in possible presidential run

Tom Tancredo says he'll make a decision within two weeks.

By M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Rocky Mountain News
March 23, 2007

WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Tancredo has raised more than $1 million for his exploratory presidential bid, saying that makes it more likely he will follow through with a full-fledged candidacy.

Tancredo, R-Littleton, said he's aware of the daunting odds he faces going up against bigger-name Republican contenders who have millions more dollars in the bank.

Still, he said he takes heart in the large number of average folks – backers of his hard-line stand against illegal immigration – who have made small contributions averaging $59 on the Team Tancredo Web site.

“It's amazing to me,” Tancredo said. “I know we're going to be a long way from the war chests that are out there. On the other hand, I feel like I've got more people that are committed to me and the ideas I represent than a lot of these other guys.”

Tancredo put himself in the second-tier of Republican contenders, behind front-runners like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

He had set a goal of raising $1 million for his exploratory committee, Tancredo for a Secure America, by the end of the first quarter of this year. Crossing that goal “kicks my enthusiasm level up about a million times,” Tancredo said in phone interview.

“It just simply means it's certainly more likely that we will announce I will be a candidate for president,” he said.

He'll make a final decision within two weeks.

In the past, Tancredo has talked about possibly running for the U.S. Senate some day. Earlier this year, after Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Loveland, announced his planned retirement, Tancredo deferred questions about whether he might run for Senate in 2008, saying he hoped former Congressman Scott McInnis would run.

On Wednesday, McInnis ended his exploratory Senate run, leaving former Congressman Bob Schaffer, state Attorney General John Suthers, radio commentator Dan Caplis and retired Air Force Gen. Bentley Rayburn among those actively considering the contest.

Tancredo said he's preoccupied with the longshot White House bid, and McInnis' departure from the race does not affect his plans.

He praised Schaffer's conservative credentials, saying he has the “right stuff” to be a good candidate – and that he would support him. But he also said Republicans face a tough task trying to beat the likely Democratic contender, Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs.

“It is going to be one of the toughest races we've had in a long time in Colorado, and one where money will play a huge role,” Tancredo said.

“When I look at what is stacked against us, you've got one of the most, probably, well-liked members on the political scene in the form of Mark Udall. He is affable, he has a ton of money in the bank now, he will have all the money he could probably want to have.”

Tancredo speculated that Udall would benefit from the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008 and Democrats' strategy of trying to take over the Rocky Mountain West. Plus, Tancredo added, “You have the press who absolutely love Mr. Udall.

“He's going to start out with so many advantages that you have to wonder who could possibly give him a run for his money and, more than that, win it, especially if they don't have the dollars.”

So who does Tancredo imagine as the best Republican U.S. Senate contender?

“You find me the perfect match of solid conservative credentials, huge name recognition and a boatload of money and I'd say, 'There's our guy or gal,' ” Tancredo said. “Barring that, maybe Bob (Schaffer) doesn't have the money, but he has got the right stuff.”

sprengelmeyerm@shns.com or 202-408-2729