There's a great story going on in the Colorado governor's race with regards to third parties. When Tom Tancredo jumped into the race as the nominee of the American Constitution Party, he was polling around even with Dan Maes, the Republican nominee. That's certainly impressive, and attributable to Tancredo's own widespread name recognition throughout Colorado (and Maes' relative lack thereof). Given what usually happens with third party candidates, one would generally expect that Tancredo's support would wane and Maes' would increase as the campaign brought Republican voters back to their own party's nominee.
recent polling suggests that Tancredo's share of the polls is increasing at Maes' expense. Tancredo's also massively outpacing Maes in fundraising. During the first two weeks of September, Maes raised less than $15,000, most of which went to pay off a campaign finance violation penalty.
Why is this happening? This strikes me as an endorsement story. There's a good reason Tom Tancredo has never won an election outside of Colorado's 6th congressional district. He's extremely conservative and bombastic. That's normally toxic to mainstream party elites, who have generally avoided backing him in statewide (or presidential) runs.
But now GOP party elites are trying to get Dan Maes, whom they view as a colossal mistake, to drop out of the race, and they're doing so by backing Tancredo. The list of Tancredo endorsers includes relatively mainstream party folks like Bob Beauprez (the GOP's nominee for governor in '06), Josh Penry (who dropped out of the governor's race last year), and former state Rep. Rob Witwer. Their backing is an indicator to other Republicans that it's safe to like Tancredo this year.