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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) finally held a town hall meeting on Wednesday. The event, held at the Anschutz Campus of the University of Colorado in Aurora, drew scores of national media outlets and generated a narrative that was not at all kind to Coffman and his fellow Republican Members of Congress. Here’s Rachael Bade reporting for Politico:
During a roughly two-hour town hall here on the outskirts of Denver Wednesday night, nearly every other constituent brought up health care.
But not a single one did it to thank Rep. Mike Coffman for backing the beleaguered House GOP Obamacare replacement. Instead, dozens of local inhabitants in this swingiest of swing districts — both Democrats and Republicans — pummeled the Colorado Republican for supporting legislation they believe would harm their community…
…“I voted for you because I thought you’d be a leader,” said one angry constituent. “I don’t see you leading.” [Pols emphasis]
The chaotic scene that unfolded Wednesday foreshadows the problem dozens of centrist Republicans will face during the 2018 mid-term elections in swing districts across the country. While Coffman was one of the few moderates to brave a town-hall setting during the two-week Easter recess, his colleagues will hardly be able to dodge constituent blowback at the polls.
Coffman was a full-throated supporter of the Trumpcare efforts that failed spectacularly in Congress last month, even going so far as to praise the bill “in its current form” literally hours before a Congressional Budget Office appraisal estimated that more than 24 million Americans would lose health coverage if the bill were passed. Coffman walked straight into this political buzzsaw of his own volition, and he’s paying the price for it now.
► Coffman also created national news on Wednesday by saying that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer “needs to go.” As CNN reports:
The pointed question to Coffman came from a woman who said her great-grandparents died in Auschwitz…
…”I need to hear from my congressman that these things are unacceptable,” the woman said.
“Spicer made a terrible mistake yesterday. If you’re not familiar with what he did is that he…” Coffman began to say, but the audience made clear that it didn’t want to hear excuses.
Throwing up his hands, Coffman said: “He needs to go.”
► State Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) became the first candidate to make a big splash in announcing his campaign for CD-7 on Wednesday. As Ernest Luning writes for the Colorado Statesman, Kerr had some big names on hand for his kickoff announcement — including outgoing Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s wife, Nancy:
For Kerr, who went to Dunstan and then taught social studies there for nearly a decade after he became a teacher, his campaign launch had the air of a homecoming shared with an enormous extended family. He introduced his parents, his brother, his 101-year-old grandmother — born before women had the right to vote, Kerr said, she was glad she could vote for a women in last year’s presidential election and can’t wait to vote for her grandson for Congress next year — and his immediate family, his wife, Tammy, and their children, Braden, 13, Kennedy, 11, and Griffin, 8, who stood alongside Kerr during the speeches.
In the audience, Perlmutter’s wife, Nancy, stood near members of Kerr’s family, a big smile on her face as Kerr spoke. She made clear to The Colorado Statesman, however, that her presence didn’t signify an endorsement in the primary or anything other than wanting to share an important moment with a decades-long friend…
…“Our friendship is a deep and abiding one that’s been maintained for many years,” she told The Statesman. Then, prompted to relate the nearly apocryphal tale surrounding her first date with Ed Perlmutter — the two met and married a decade ago, “later in life,” as the congressman says — Nancy Perlmutter smiled and leaned in slightly. “The story goes that at one of the events when I was introducing Andy during that vacancy process, there was Ed Perlmutter, who took note of the speaker — me — and said, ‘Maybe I want to ask her out for coffee sometime.’ And the rest, as they say, is history.”
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