Colorado

Jul 15, 2010 7:23 PM by Zach Thaxton

McInnis: "I'm in it to win it," despite plagiarism flap

Amid new revelations surrounding the plagiarism scandal involving Scott McInnis, the Republican candidate for governor stated on Facebook and Twitter Thursday that he's "in it to win it" and he "will not leave this race."

McInnis is accused of plagiarizing writings from a now-Colorado Supreme Court Justice in essays McInnis wrote about water.  He blamed research assistant Rolly Fischer for the passages that were plagiarized.  Fischer told Denver's KMGH-TV Wednesday night that he had no idea the passages he provided to McInnis would be used in published works and that he thought it was private correspondence for the purpose of building McInnis' private research inventory.  Fischer also told KMGH that the McInnis campaign drafted a letter on Fischer's behalf in which it is stated that Fischer is "solely to blame" for the plagiarism.  Fischer told KMGH he refused to sign the letter.

Thursday morning, former Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo told Denver's KUSA-TV that he had heard McInnis would bow out of the race.  That, in addition to calls from Democrats, The Denver Post, and even some fellow Republicans for McInnis to withdraw from the race, prompted the Facebook and Twitter post from the McInnis campaign.  Tancredo told News First 5, "I got a number of e-mail messages from people that you would logically assume would know, and they said there was going to be an 8 a.m. press conference."  Tancredo believes the controversy has torpedoed McInnis' campaign, and perhaps any hopes that a Republican can defeat Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper in the November general election.  "It's disastrous," Tancredo told News First 5.  "I believe that it's going to be difficult, if not impossible to win a general election under these circumstances."

Bob Loevy, a Colorado College professor of Political Science, agrees that this scandal poses difficult challenges for McInnis.  He says public interest in Primary Elections is generally quite low.  For the only major publicity to be negative and focused on one particular candidate could be devastating to McInnis' campaign and Republican hopes overall.  "The real issue for McInnis is that a lot of people are hearing his name for the first time and they're hearing it in connection with the plagiarism charge," Loevy said.  "That's the real damage that it's doing to Scott McInnis."

McInnis canceled a scheduled appearance Thursday at a water rally in Erie, Colo.  His opponent, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes, did appear.

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