While a head-to-head polling matchup of McInnis against Maes by Survey USA was not reported for July 2010, the McInnis plagiarism story and the entry of Tom Tancredo into the race led to a changed landscape in advance of the August 10 Republican primary. "When asked who would be the 'strongest Republican gubernatorial candidate,' ... Tancredo easily led the pack of six choices with 29 percent. McInnis followed with 19 percent, and ... Maes, had 13 percent. Another 17 percent ... were not sure", in the Survey USA poll commissioned by the Denver Post and 9News. While Tancredo's run was on the Constitution Party ticket, he spoke as a Republican in responding to the poll results. "Tancredo, originally a McInnis supporter, has said that both Maes and McInnis should 'both eventually drop out' of the race even if it's after one wins the primary. 'Neither can win the general election,' he said. Tancredo said he was 'surprised and flattered' by the poll results. 'I want us as a party to get this governor's seat,' he said. 'If I can do it, believe me, I will.'" Tancredo was delivered a "message, signed by tea party, 9-12 Project and constitutionalist groups, [which] read in part: 'Withdraw your ultimatum, stay in the Republican Party, let the process play out for the governor's race within the rules already set forth, and continue to help us improve this party, its candidates, and the process — in other words to trust and respect the newly awakened, energized and informed voters of Colorado.'" As of late July, both McInnis and Maes had rejected Tancredo's ultimatum that they withdraw before or after the primary. And "political observers — and even state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams — were already predicting [Tancredo]'s entry into the race sounded the death knell for the party's gubernatorial bid and may cause problems for state legislative races. 'It's difficult if not impossible to beat ... Hickenlooper with Tancredo in the race,' said Wadhams, noting that Tancredo will siphon just enough votes away from the GOP nominee to give Hickenlooper a win." Post-primary polling (see below), however, showed growing support for Tancredo with Maes in danger of receiving a vote share in the single digits.
American Constitution Party gets major party status
A result of Tancredo's ACP candidacy and Maes' political implosion was the party's legal elevation from minor to major party status.
Under state law, the American Constitution Party's vote share in the 2010 gubernatorial election elevated the party from minor to major party status. Any party that earns 10% or more of the votes cast for governor is a "major party." Major party status gives the party a place at or near the top of the ballot in the 2014 gubernatorial election. However, because of the additional organizational, financial, and compliance requirements triggered by major party status, ACP leaders have been ambivalent about the change.
The Colorado Republican Party maintained its major party status, as Maes won 11% of the vote, just 20,000 votes over the threshold. The Constitution Party did not field a candidate in the 2014 election, and thus lost its major party status.