One of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination in the Colorado governor’s race announced Tuesday afternoon that he is dropping out.
Tom Tancredo has vied for the gubernatorial position in three straight election cycles. He ran as the American Constitution Party candidate in 2010 and lost the Republican nomination to Bob Beauprez in 2014.
Tancredo told 9NEWS Reporter Marshall Zelinger that he dropped out of the race in part because he failed to reach a goal to raise $150,000 by January 15. He says his campaign only made half of that.
"I've said a million times, on this race, on this campaign, I do not want to win a primary just to lose the general," he said, citing top Democratic challenger Jared Polis' substantial campaign funds. "If I can't figure out a way to make it work, we won't run."
He also blamed the media -- particularly 9NEWS, the Denver Post and the Colorado Springs Gazette -- as well as the fact he didn't want to win the primary but lose the general election.
"You guys hate me as much as the Democrats," Tancredo said. "You in particular, this station in particular... Let's face it, I know, believe me, this ain't my first rodeo. I know exactly where my opponents are. And you guys, especially at Channel 9, are at the top of the heap."
When pressed by Zelinger to provide examples, he said there were too many to name but failed to name one.
Shortly after the news broke he would leave the race, Tancredo tweeted "Hey Sniwflakes (sic). You can come out if your safe spaces!"
Just 16 hours before, his campaign tweeted “I will win the #Republican primary, that much is certain.”
In response to the news about Tancredo leaving the race, the Colorado Democratic Party issued a statement that said in part: "even former front-runner Tom Tancredo knows there is no path to victory for Trump-style politics in Colorado."
When asked who he'd vote for come election time, he said the Republican - but wasn't specific. "There are several, I don't know yet, buddy."
Tancredo has been a national conservative voice on immigration policy during his decades-long political career.
Last year, he was in the news because of his defense of the white nationalist group VDARE, which was planning a conference in Colorado Springs in April.
"'We are opposed to illegal immigration,' that's it, that's the only thing that attracted me to them in the first place, but I don't believe they are a hate group," Tancredo said. "But you know, even if they turned out to be and they wanted to have a conference in Denver or in Colorado Springs, why wouldn't we all -- you in the media -- yeah, they have a right to do that."
Last week, Tancredo said he thinks public officials should be held liable for the crimes committed by people here illegally in so-called sanctuary cities.
“If you are a public official of a sanctuary city and your actions provide the haven for people who are committing violent crimes, then yes, you should be held liable," Tancredo told 9NEWS.
Tancredo represented Colorado’s sixth congressional district from 1999 to 2009 and ran for president in 2008.
So far, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, activist Steve Barlock, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter, former Parker mayor Greg Lopez, former State Rep. Victor Mitchell, Doug Robinson, Jim Rundberg and Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton have declared their candidacy for the Republican nomination for Colorado governor.
The Democrats who have announced their candidacy are businessman Noel Ginsburg, former State Senator Mike Johnston, former Colorado State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) and former congressional aide Erik Underwood, who once ran for governor as a Republican.
Tancredo said Tuesday he isn't sure who he'll vote for.