2013’s Top Ten #2: Mike Coffman, America’s Most Vulnerable Congressman

Yes, our 2013 Top 10 List has extended well into 2014, but we've always believed that the year is never really over as long as the Broncos are still playing — Colorado Pols

Colorado is home to 7 of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of those seven, four seats (CD-1, CD-2, CD-4, CD-5) are about as likely to change hands as Peyton Manning is to order from Pizza Hut. It's rare enough for Colorado to have a nail biter of a Congressional battle in a General Election, but to have a seat listed among the Top 10 toss-up races in the entire country is a particular treat for political junkies in the 38th state. That's what makes the contest in CD-6 such an important story — with the candidacy of Democrat Andrew Romanoff in high gear, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman just may be America's Most Vulnerable Congressman.

endangeredcoffmanThe post-redistricting boundaries of CD-6 made a formerly solid Republican seat a toss-up in terms of voter registration breakdowns, and Coffman probably only won re-election in 2012 because Democrats fielded a relatively weak candidate in Joe Miklosi. But things are different in 2014: former state House Speaker Romanoff was perhaps the strongest candidate Democrats could have found to end Coffman's tenure in CD-6. Romanoff's name ID is comparable to Coffman's, and throughout 2013 both candidates were neck-and-neck in reporting quarterly fundraising figures. Coffman cannot possibly hope to win in 2014 if he makes the same silly mistakes that he made in 2012…yet he was even more of a bumbling mess throughout the last 12 months.

Both Coffman and Romanoff will have plenty of financial resources at their disposal heading into November, but the negative ads that will run against Coffman will be much more impactful because of the Congressman's own missteps. In 2013 Coffman started down one of the most dangerous paths in American politics: the march of the flip-flopper. Coffman has seemed utterly confused about how to position himself on a variety of key issues and positions, whether it is trying to delete his own membership in the Tea Party or making public appearances that are completely at-odds with his own policy statements. Coffman inexplicably managed to become a national face of the universally derided federal shutdown, which perhaps shouldn't have been all that surprising given his impressive ability to take two separate positions on a key issue within 24 hours.

We've half-jokingly referred to Coffman's internal battle as New Coffman® vs. Old Coffman, but truthfully, it's become nearly impossible to understand what Coffman is trying to do on a regular basis. Aurora Magazine ran a feature in November about CD-6 that included plenty of Coffman-esque nonsense:

Coffman says in nearly the same breath that the city he’s represented since 1988 has changed, but also hasn’t.

“What I’ve noticed over the years are growing differences between the northern and southern parts of Aurora. This has led to a growing economic divide that has translated into two very different sets of issues between the north and the south,” Coffman wrote in his e-mail. “While the northern part expects a greater role for government in their lives, and supports higher taxes on higher income earners to pay for it, the southern part still wants a lower tax burden and a smaller government.”

He said later, “Certainly north Aurora is different. But I don’t think south Aurora was all that different back (in 1988). Or any different than it is today—I still live there.”

Uh…what? Read that last quote again and try to guess what Coffman thought he meant. And good luck.

It's certainly possible that Coffman could turn things around and figure out just what direction he really wants to go, but he's off to an auspicious start: as 2014 begins, he finds himself smack dab in the middle of another losing issue in the form of extending unemployment benefits. Old Coffman would never vote to extend unemployment benefits, but New Coffman® should be on the supportive side.

What will he do? We doubt Coffman knows himself…which is exactly why both New Coffman® and Old Coffman are America's Most Vulnerable Congressman.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DawnPatrol says:

    It's difficult to overstate the dimwittedness and vapidity of Mike Coffman, and frightening to realize that anyone so core-less and amoral could have gotten this far politically.

    Look closely at his eyes sometime; there's a vacuousness and vacancy that is truly unnerving — almost pinwheel-esque.

    He knows neither who he is, nor for what he stands — unless it's politically expedient, of course. Tiime to dispatch Coffman electorally from Colorado's political stage. Grostequely overdue, in fact.

    • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

      The baffling thing about Coffman is that he doesn't even do what is politically expedient anymore. There's no rhyme or reason to anything he does.

      • DawnPatrol says:

        Kind of makes me wonder (and I don't mean this insultingly or derogatorily) if Coffman might have begun "losing his grip" so to speak, although such a notion presupposes all those advising him to have lost theirs as well, or at the very least being afraid to speak truth to him…

        Or perhaps they're collectively simply as incoherent, craven, rudderless and incompetent as they appear to be.

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        That is indeed what is so puzzling. There just doesn't seem to be any "there" there. It's hard to figure why he even wants to be a congressman. It's a shame Dems didn't realize that they could have won with a strong candidate, and that strong candidates didn't realize it was no longer a probable sacrificial lamb situation, back in 2012. Instead we accidentally almost did it with a no name candidate and no money until it was too late to build that candidate up in time.

        f Romanoff had run then I bet he could have won and we would now have a Dem incumbent well situated to retain the seat. That would have left us with more money to put into another race than we'll have this time because this race will take a ton.  Fingers crossed, we'll be saying goodbye to this nonentity soon. Knock wood. 

  2. exlurker19 says:

    And it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. 

    He's wrong about the southern end of his constituency.  I, also, happen to live there.  When we moved home to Colorado 20 years ago, every house in our neighborhood flew a flag on flag day.  One of my neighbors walked over to ask me where our (conspicuously absent) flag was.  I told her that I thought we probably burned it in the 60s.  (That sailed right over her head, luckily.)

    The last few years on flag days, we see maybe 3 flags flying.  My neighborhood may be true red, but they're embarrassed to admit it now.  The southern end is not happy with the Repubs, although that's how they'll vote. 

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      I became a born-again patriot when Obama was elected. That completed the process that began when I married a Vietnam vet, and continued after our marriage ended. I fly flags, strut my red, white, and blue, tear up on the national anthem, you name it. I still say the Pledge of Allegiance every day I work in a school, and I mean every word.  2008 was the first time I felt like my kind of people were welcome in the highest echelons of power, like we belonged.

      So I guess I'm saying that it's no longer possible to tell the political persuasion by the flags flying.

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        I used to fly my flag on national holidays until Pres. Bush the Younger wrapped himself in it and put a match to the constitution. I was actually concerned during his tenure that displaying our flag might lead people to believe we agreed with his disastrous policies, so we refrained. It was a good feeling to put it back in its bracket on Inauguration day 2009.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Don't know why you equate patriotism (as in love of country as opposed to jingoism) with being a rightie. We fly the flag on Flag Day, Veterans Day (my husband is a combat vet, a gun control supporter and also was a Kerry supporter), Independence Day, etc. We used to fly a tattered flag my husband brought home from the swift boat he was on in Vietnam but stopped when it occurred to us people might think it was disrespectful to fly such a tattered flag instead of disposing of it in the required respectful way. At least those old enough to remember when there were strict rules about such things including not using the flag for clothing.  Still have it, though.  My Dem next door neighbors and the Dems down the street also display flags on appropriate holidays as do the Republicans on our other side and across the street.

      I don't accept that Republicans own the flag.  If you thought all the houses in my neighborhood displaying the flag were rightie households you'd be very much mistaken. My Dem father and uncles were all WWII vets. All gun owners too, as are we. All loved their country. It's a mistake to buy into what righties say a Dem is supposed to be.  Not everyone who likes to display our flag is a rightie moron and I encourage libs to stake their equal claim.

      • exlurker19 says:

        In MY neighborhood, everybody is a rightie.  When we used to vote in person, the election judges in my neighborhood would do a double-take when they saw my husband and I are registered Democrats.  They'd even eye the Independents askance.

        As for Viet Nam, I was one of the messy, smelly hippies out protesting that war.  All we said was that Viet Nam was a stupid war and America didn't belong there.  I think history has come down on the side of agreeing with the hippies.  But, man, we got in trouble for saying that  war was a total mistake.  Luckily, I was in DC where we could harrass the brass, sometimes effectively.  Kinda fun.


      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        Jingoism vs Patriotism? During the Bush years trying to parse the distinction.seemed too much like arguing with a fool. As Lincoln warned (paraphrasing) I was concerned folks might not know the difference.

  3. skeptical citizen says:

    I've sent Mr. Coffman several "shame on you" e-mails over the past two years in response to his decidedly far-right votes. It is time to replace Old/New Mike with Andrew Romanoff. To Mr. Coffman's credit, however, I believe he would best serve the country as Secretary of Veteran's Affairs.

  4. JBJK16 says:

    I don't vote in Congressman Coffman's district, but save yoru time and money.  He's a lock.  When voters figure out who the D nominee is (was), and get the chance to compare him to Coffman – Coffman will win in a walk.


    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      That's a hoot. 

      To begin with.. there is no nominee. There is a Democratic candidate, but he won't be a "nominee" until the Democratic Party state convention.

      You obviously know nothing of Andrew Romanoff.

      • JBJK16 says:

        That is my point.

        Is he the moderate, go along to get along wanna be career politician? I thought so, but then he and his campaign tried to paint him as the next Bernie Sanders if only the President would get out of his way.  2010 was a long time ago, and my memory has never been as good as I'd like to think it was, but it wasn't that long ago and I remember who he tried to be.

        What is he going to be this time? ACLU lawyer for the SPLC? English teacher violating the sanctions and braving the death squads in Nicaragua? Say what you want about Coffman, he volunteered to swear an oath and put on a uniform and he has more experience in office.  

        As long as he can avoid cameras and smartphones, he wins.

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          I don't know. With the new district, Coffman only won last time over a no name candidate who received very little real money until well into the game by a hair. I wouldn't be doing that happy dance just yet. 

        • exlurker19 says:

          I agree that the more you know Coffman, the less you like him.  But if you think Romanoff isn't going to point a large, bright shiny spotlight on Coffman's many flaws, you haven't seen the size of his warchest.

          • JBJK16 says:

            You know what they about size. Winning requires a message to campaign on.  The D doesn't have one.

            • BlueCatBlueCat says:

              And Coffman does? You forget, he barely won last time. And I wouldn't be too sure about Romanoff being unable to present a strong message.

              Last election Coffman was so willing to say whatever he thought the audience of the moment wanted to hear he'd make a stupid Tea Party approved statement in the morning, apologize for it by noon then apologize for the apology the next day. Rinse, repeat. 

              Talk about no message. If Coffman has one it's "I have absolutely no integrity, am not the sharpest knife in the drawer and hold no opinions not subject to instant reversal and reversal of reversal. Vote for me even though even I don't know what I want want to accomplish." 

        • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

           TV cameras and smartphones are part and parcel of running for a Congressional seat these days.. Avoiding media coverage that isn't hand-selected by the candidate is the fastest way I can think of to become a non-entity in any race.

        • DavieDavie says:

          That's funny — you make a bold, baseless assertion that Coffman is a lock, then you present the best reason why he's likely to lose.  Trying to have it both ways again (re: Bill of Rights are absolute, except when they aren't)?


          As long as he can avoid cameras and smartphones, he wins. – See more at: http://coloradopols.com/diary/53030/2013s-top-ten-2-mike-coffman-americas-most-vulnerable-congressman#comment-535091

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