Republicans Plan To Force McInnis Out After Primary

Republicans Do Not Believe Damaged Candidate Can Win General Election

Republicans are scrambling to replace Scott McInnis after -- as Republicans expect -- McInnis wins the August primary for the Republican nomination for governor, several campaign and Republican sources say.

McInnis is embroiled in a controversy over accepting $300,000 to produce a series of water articles --parts of which were plagiarized from a 1984 piece by state Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs.

Sources say the day after the primary, top Republicans will be putting pressure on McInnis to step aside so that they can put in a candidate who has a good chance to beat Democrat John Hickenlooper.

"Everyone expects the great fathers (of the Republican Party) to come in the day after the primary ... and say ‘Congratulations, now when are you going to get out?'" a campaign source told CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia.

Top Republican sources confirm that's what will happen.

"The Republican Governors Association will also let him know it won’t support him," a source said. “It won’t be easy to get him out. It may take (Association Chairman) Haley Barbour to make the call."

Republicans fear McInnis has been so damaged by controversy that he cannot win the general election.

Earlier this month, CALL7 Investigators exposed the plagiarism in the papers, titled “Musing on Water,” that McInnis submitted to the Hasan Family Foundation as part of his $300,000, two-year fellowship.

McInnis blamed his researcher, Rolly Fischer, but in an exclusive interview with Ferrugia, Fischer said McInnis is lying and Fischer never thought McInnis was being paid to publish Fischer’s writings.

“Did he do the work?” Ferrugia asked Fischer.

“No, I did it,” Fischer said, adding McInnis paid him a few hundred dollars each for 20 articles that Fischer thought McInnis would use for a possible run for U.S. Senate.

McInnis, when asked about Fischer’s statements, refused to provide specifics.

“Rolly said that you’re lying,” Ferrugia said. “Do you agree with it?”

“It doesn’t matter,” McInnis said. “I take responsibility.”

After the Fischer interview came out and the Denver Post and Grand Junction Sentinel called for McInnis to step down, McInnis was disheartened, campaign sources said.

He told his staff: "I’m going all out and see where I end up," a campaign source said.

This week, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., said he would get in the race as an independent to draw voters away from McInnis and the other Republican, Dan Maes, if both men stay in the race.

"I'm just asking them to please do the right thing for the party, for the Republican Party, and for all of those who hope for a different governor than Hickenlooper in November," Tancredo said.

But Republicans say if McInnis refuses to step down after the primary – which Republicans want him to win so Maes is not the candidate – his campaign funds will be cut off.

“They simply will not throw good money after a bad candidate,” one source said.

“If the dollar spigot dries up, it is academic,” another source said. “You’re done.”

Some senior McInnis staffers have already left, but the ones still in the campaign see only a faint hope of McInnis being the candidate in the general election.

“It is a very remote possibility he can survive to the general election,” a campaign source said. The day after the primary, Republicans “will need to present him with a stark scenario.”

Republican Governors Association Chairman Barbour could not be reached for comment Friday.

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