WILL PLAGIARISM LEAD TO MCINNIS’ OUSTER?…. If Republican Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis (R) expected his plagiarism controversy would be a one-day story, he’s no doubt deeply disappointed. The scandal may even end his campaign.

In the latest revelation, the engineer McInnis blamed for the plagiarism is pushing back, making a compelling case that the Republican is lying. The charge adds new pressures to a campaign that appears to be in deep trouble.

Republicans in Colorado say he’s a dead man walking, and they are exploring the ins and outs of what they can do to get another nominee. […]

Sources in Colorado Republican circles say it’s likely a matter of when, not if, McInnis will exit the race.

“Almost without exception, they think he is done,” said one senior Colorado Republican granted anonymity to speak candidly.

“He may be the last one to know it, but he’s dead in the water,” said another. “It’s likely he will resist heavily, but at some point he’s got to realize this is a fact of life.”

If the controversy does force McInnis from the race, the Denver Post reports that the state Republican Party faces a complicated procedural future. The conservative former congressman has been the presumptive gubernatorial nominee for quite a while, but the primary is not until Aug. 10. Most of the state will hold a vote-by-mail primary, and the ballots are due to go out by Monday.

The state GOP doesn’t have confidence that businessman Dan Maes, McInnis’ Republican opponent, can win the statewide contest, but state law seems to suggest that the party can’t appoint a nominee unless both Maes and McInnis drop out. Colorado Department of State spokesperson Rich Coolidge is apparently researching this point further.

In the meantime, Republicans have already begun conversations with potential replacements.

For its part, the Denver Post, Colorado’s largest newspaper, has called on McInnis to quit the race: “After revelations of plagiarism and other cases of questionable judgment, it’s clear the GOP candidate is not fit to be governor.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.