The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews turned his attention to the struggling campaign of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman for governor, explaining the difficult road ahead for her after her abandonment of a petition process to reach the ballot she couldn’t afford for a caucus process she is ill-equipped to win:
If Cynthia Coffman is to become Colorado’s next governor, the current attorney general first must convince a small circle of Republican activists that she’s conservative enough to qualify for the GOP primary — let alone win it.
It won’t be an easy sell. To pull it off, Coffman is aligning herself with President Donald Trump and immigration hardliner Tom Tancredo to bolster her conservative bona fides even as she faces questions about her views on abortion and gay rights.
The strategy gets its first test March 6, when party diehards huddle at neighborhood caucus meetings across the state. She’ll need their support at the Republican Party assembly in April, where she must get at least 30 percent of the 4,206 delegates to qualify for the June primary.
Cynthia Coffman faces a range of circumstances that complicate her path to the ballot via an appeal to the Republican party faithful at the caucuses and assembly. Although Coffman has taken many high-profile actions as attorney general meant to shore up her conservative credentials ahead of the primary, her feints to the left on issues like LGBT rights and abortion are more than enough to estrange her from the GOP base.
But perhaps worse than having a view on these issues that doesn’t ingratiate the party faithful is her vacillation more recently in pursuit of the GOP nomination. Coffman’s recent inability (or just plain refusal) to reconcile her supposedly “pro choice” leanings with her proud support for “defunding Planned Parenthood” during the Owens administration leaves her in a position where she fails to appeal to either side–which in turn leads to her being distrusted by both sides.
The other issue that Matthews didn’t mention is Coffman’s role in the intraparty intrigue surrounding allegations of infidelity on the part of former Colorado GOP chairman Steve House. It would be a mistake to think that there is no latent desire for revenge over that episode, or at least a willingness to make an issue out of it if politically helpful. The combination of all of these factors makes the assembly route to the ballot by far the less desirable choice for Cynthia Coffman, made all the worse by the common knowledge that her lack of financial support is the only reason she is doing it.
At some point, Plan B–the real Plan B–starts to look pretty good.