Coffman camp shrugs off reports national Dems again targeting his seat
Author: Ernest Luning - February 2, 2017 - Updated: February 2, 2017
A top campaign strategist for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman had a simple message for the Democratic National Campaign Committee on Thursday after news the group once again has the five-term Aurora Republican in its crosshairs: Bring it.
“The DCCC is apparently a glutton for punishment,” Coffman campaign strategist Tyler Sandberg told The Colorado Statesman. “While I’m sure the ad sales staff at the local TV stations appreciate the DCCC’s willingness to throw good money after bad, it won’t make a lick of difference.”
The Washington Post reported the DCCC is planning to hire operatives in 20 districts held by Republicans, including Coffman’s suburban 6th Congressional District, in an unusually early move aimed at winning enough seats in the 2018 midterm elections to take control of the House of Representatives. (Democrats have to net 24 seats to win the speaker’s gavel.)
Officials with the organization — the campaign arm of congressional Democrats — say the mass protests that have erupted in recent weeks since President Donald Trump’s inauguration are encouraging Democrats that Republicans could be vulnerable targets next year, even popular and entrenched incumbents.
Although he represents a congressional district that appears on paper like it ought to be up-for-grabs, Coffman has fended off increasingly expensive challenges in the three elections since redistricting turned the 6th from a reliably Republican district into a swing seat. Wrapping around the eastern side of the metro area, Coffman’s district includes eastern Adams County, Aurora, eastern Arapahoe County and a dense sliver of Douglas County.
It’s nearly evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, but Coffman has only faced a squeaker once, in 2012 when former state Rep. Joe Miklosi, a Denver Democrat, moved across the border in to Aurora to mount a run. Spending twice what his challenger did, Coffman survived by 2 points. He’s dispatched higher-profile and better-financed Democrats by wider margins since. In 2014, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, outraised Coffman but lost by 8.9 points in what turned out to be a Republican wave year. Former state Sen. Morgan Carroll, hoping to ride the better Democratic performance in a presidential election year, still lagged Coffman by 7.3 points.
Backing Carroll, the DCCC and its ally the House Majority PAC poured money into last year’s contest — just over $5 million, outpacing the roughly $3 million Carroll herself spent — while their counterparts backing Coffman, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund, spent nearly $6.5 million, compared with the $3.5 million Coffman spent.
Sandberg didn’t sound daunted by the prospect of another high-dollar campaign for Coffman, an Army and Marine Corps veteran who has been winning elections since the late 1980s — he served in the Legislature, as state treasurer and secretary of state before winning his congressional seat in 2008.
“Mike Coffman is an independent leader who puts principle over party, and voters have continually rewarded him with landslide victories,” Sandberg said. “Throughout his career he’s taken on big spenders in both parties, targeting military spending and entitlement reform alike. He’s the hardest working man in show business, and there is no amount of dollars that D.C. Democrats can spend pushing lies and vicious smears about Mike to combat that.”