I just spoke with Tom Tancredo as part of a longer piece I’m working on, and he told me he hopes to decide by February whether or not to make a bid for the White House.
Tancredo said, “I’m quite serious about considering it,” and acknowledged that he would have to make a decision on the matter soon. “Admittedly, you can’t wait very much longer if you really want to get involved, and you really want to make a credible run at this thing.”
The obvious impetus for a Tancredo run would be if he felt his hawkish message on the immigration issue wasn’t being represented, and so far, none of the top candidates who have entered the race are acceptable to conservatives who support tougher measures on illegal immigration.
“I think a candidate who enters the race who does so on more than just the immigration issue, but who certainly reflects what I believe to be the Republican grassroots position on the issue, would be formidable,” Tancredo told me.
Though immigration is what he’s most associated with, Tancredo is conscious of the prospect of being perceived as a single issue candidate: “I don’t know that you could make, nor would I even if I entered the race…make [immigration] the only issue, because nobody can make a serious run for the presidency on a single issue like this.”
If Tancredo does decide to run, I think he hurts Sam Brownback the most. With McCain, Giuliani and Romney dominating the field thus far, Brownback’s only chance to gain traction is to build rock-solid support among grassroots conservatives, and his current liability among these folks is that he’s perceived as weak on immigration. Tancredo’s entrance into the race would further expose this weakness.