Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo announced over the radio Thursday morning that he will be making a run for Republican governor in 2014.
During the announcement on KHOW's Peter Boyles show with 9News cameras standing nearby, Tancredo said that he was prompted in part to make a run for the office after Gov. John Hickenlooper's controversial decision the day before to grant a reprieve for convicted death row inmate Nathan Dunlap. Perhaps an even bigger motivating factor however was the governor's support for this year's gun control bills.
[Dunlap] was certainly the thing that sent me over the cliff, so to speak because -- but I'll tell you, truthfully when I really started to seriously consider doing this, was when I heard what the governor said to a group of people in Mesa County, Grand Junction. When he went up there awhile back to mollify them about the gun bills that he was signing.
When Hickenlooper was asked about the gun bills' effectiveness in Mesa County Tancredo alleged on the radio show that the governor agreed that the bills wouldn't make much of a difference and replied "I sign a lot of stupid bills."
"So he's saying that he didn't believe them, he didn't believe they were going to do anything to improve the situation here in Colorado but he signed them," Tancredo said. "Why? Well a lot of political pressure... at that point in time [Hickenlooper is committed to the president, he is committed to Mayor Bloomberg and that is really what started to make me focus on this even more than anything else."
The race will mark the second time Tancredo has put his hat in the ring for a gubernatorial race against Hickenlooper, though in that 2010 race he ran as a third party candidate. He ended up then with more than 35 percent of the vote, far outperforming the Republican candiate but also 14 percentage points behind Hickenlooper.
After his failed gubernatorial run as member of the American Constitution Party (ACP), Tancredo told conservative blogger Ari Armstrong that he "probably won't be a member [of the ACP] for very long."
Tancredo represented Colorado's 6th Congressional District from 1999 to 2009, and called attention to the U.S.'s immigration policies while making a brief run for president in the 2008 election, although he ultimately dropped out and endorsed Mitt Romney.
At the time Tancredo said that he'd met with Romney and was confident that he would "go the distance."
On immigration Tancredo has been well-known for demanding increased border security and his opposition to amnesty for anyone who's in the country illegally.
In March, the former congressman published a piece in The Christian Post entitled "Why I No Longer Stand With Rand Paul" in which he disavowed his former ally's campaign for U.S. Senate because of his stance on immigration.
"Both Obama and the Gang of 8 say that the illegal immigrants must pay a penalty for legal status, while Rand Paul told reporters after his speech he is not 'not as a big a stickler' on these items, because the illegals would not be able to afford the fines," Tancredo wrote in the piece.
More locally, Tancredo made headlines as an advocate for marijuana legalization and as an endorser of Colorado's now infamous Amendment 64 (although he also reneged on a promise to get high with "Grassroots" filmmaker Adam Hartle).
An April poll by Public Policy Polling however may foreshadow an uphill race for Tancredo.
The poll shows Hickenlooper with a 53 percent approval rating, though his disapproval rating has also spiked in recent months to 44 percent. Still, the PPP poll claims to have tested Hickenlooper's numbers against "every major GOP figure in the state," including Tom Tancredo, and concluded that "Not a single one of the Republicans we tested has a positive statewide favorability rating."
A report by KDVR speculates that as many as five Republican candidates could be lining up to take on Hickenlooper in 2014.