Bizarro World Politics in CD-6

For those of you unfamiliar with the term “Bizarro World,” it is a reference to a planet in the Superman comics where everything is backwards (the planet is square, compared to the spherical earth, etc.)

The term seems to fit recent events in the race for Congress in CD-6. As Eli Stokols at Fox 31 reports:

In the increasingly tight race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, Congessman Mike Coffman is attacking his opponent for not attending a debate next week.

Joe Miklosi’s campaign says he never agreed to appear at the Oct. 1 debate sponsored by the North Metro Chamber of Commerce, but Coffman’s campaign has been under the impression that Miklosi was participating until the Chamber told them Thursday that he’d be a no-show.

There are plenty of different ways you can interpret this, but it is almost always the case that the incumbent candidate refuses to engage in debates — usually because the campaign is comfortably ahead and feels that they have nothing to gain. There have been rumblings that Democrat Joe Miklosi is right on the heels of incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (moreso even than the public polls have suggested), and Coffman’s public insistence that Miklosi attend this debate may prove the rumors.

It was Coffman, of course, who disappeared for much of August and September, rarely making public appearances for the same reasons we just discussed. Have the tables turned that much that now it is Coffman trying to pull Miklosi out?  

Miklosi Up With Second TV Ad

Democrat Joe Miklosi is up on TV with his second ad of the cycle, and we were a bit surprised by the choice of message. Take a look:

Miklosi’s first ad was primarily an attack on incumbent Republican Mike Coffman. We didn’t think it was as strong as ads for Democrat Sal Pace, for example, but it probably accomplished what it set out to do.

We sort of assumed that Miklosi’s next ad would be about defining himself, particularly since recent polls show that his name recognition is very low (around 29%). But instead, his second ad is another all-out barrage against Coffman.

Perhaps the strategy here is to make Coffman seem so bad that voters choose Miklosi just because they don’t like Coffman. The danger of this approach is that Kathy Polhemus is running as an Independent and is spending some of her own money to campaign. Miklosi may induce an anti-Coffman vote, but if he doesn’t define himself, and soon, many of those “Not Coffman” votes may go to Polhemus instead.

Press release for Miklosi’s new ad after the jump.

Joe Miklosi Releases Second Television Ad

Today, the Joe Miklosi for Congress Campaign released their second television ad – entitled “Think” — featuring supporters talking about Mike Coffman’s Rush Limbaugh-style politics.

His extreme record includes voting for the plan to end Medicare, endorsing the radical personhood amendment that would outlaw many forms of birth control and ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest, and saying that our Commander-in-Chief is “not an American.”

The ad features real members of the community talking about the various extreme positions Mike Coffman has taken and statements that he has made during his time in Congress.

“Voters are taking a new look at Mike Coffman, and they don’t like what they see in his extreme record. They are fed up with his support for ending Medicare and banning abortions even in cases of rape and incest,” said Joe Miklosi for Congress Spokesman Ryan Hobart. “He is so out of touch that he even said the Commander-in-Chief is ‘not an American.’ Voters want a representative that sounds more like them and less like Rush Limbaugh.”

Joe Miklosi Last of Challengers to Hit Airwaves

Democrat Joe Miklosi will put his first ad on television tomorrow, making him the last of the major congressional challengers in Colorado to make it to your living room (metaphorically, of course). This doesn’t mean anything necessarily — Miklosi may simply be choosing to go heavier later in the month than others.

We’re not as impressed with this ad as those of, say, Sal Pace, largely because Miklosi seems to be trying to fit too many message points into one 30-second piece. And this isn’t a knock on Miklosi but on all candidates who use this language — we’re sick of the “Bring Common Sense Colorado to Washington” message. It’s played out.

Miklosi Posts Strong Fundraising Numbers

Democrat Joe Miklosi got off to a slow start last year in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Coffman, but fundraising seems to have picked up (no doubt with an assist from Coffman’s continual birther comment problems).

According to a press release, Miklosi raised more than $335,000 in the last fundraising period. Full release after the jump.

Gaining momentum as the November election approaches, Joe Miklosi’s campaign raised more than $335,000 in contributions during the latest fundraising period, his best individual quarter so far.

The campaign has raised more than $800,000 to date and saw an unprecedented increase in small donor activity since Congressman Mike Coffman’s birther comments that exposed him an as extremist in the new moderate 6th Congressional District.  There is no question this will be the most competitive seat in Colorado this November, and with his message of fighting for sensible solutions and standing up to special interests, Miklosi is well positioned to flip this seat.    

“It’s wonderful that so many supporters came through for us,” said Joe Livoti, Miklosi’s Finance Director. “With this broad base of support that grows stronger every day, I’m confident we’ll have the resources needed to defeat Congressman Coffman and his extreme agenda that hurts the middle class.”

“I am inspired to have the active involvement of so many individuals in my campaign,” said Joe Miklosi. “I believe it’s because they fully understand we’re fighting for the future of our country, and working on commonsense solutions to grow the economy, create jobs, protect our seniors and stand up for working families of Colorado.””

Official Numbers:

Total raised this quarter: $336,746

Total number of contributions: 2,607

Average individual contribution size: $85.82

Total raised to date: $802,413

Forget the Primary…Let’s Talk 2014!

The Colorado Statesman has some good gossip online about the 2014 Senate race (Sen. Mark Udall’s seat). There are a few particular items that we thought worthy of further analysis:

In no uncertain terms, state GOP boss Ryan Call wants to demolish the notion that he might be considering a run for Democrat Mark Udall’s U.S. Senate seat two years from now. That’s right: He’s not running, not even maybe.

We don’t think Ryan Call would be a particularly strong candidate for the GOP in 2014, but it’s interesting that his name came up enough to garner reporting from the Statesman. When you see or hear someone’s name being floated for a particular office, it’s almost always with at least implied consent from said person. This says a lot about Call’s future ambitions, but what really stands out is the relative weakness of the GOP bench; if Call’s name is being taken even slightly seriously, then Republicans have little hope of taking out Udall.

The Statesman writes that Rep. Mike Coffman’s name might be cooling off significantly as a 2014 Senate contender. As we have noted in this space many times, Coffman has been trying to put down his marker for the eventual Republican nomination for more than a year now. But if it’s not Coffman?

The most likely Republican candidate for Udall’s seat, top Republicans tell us, is a name familiar to friend and foe alike: former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, who gave up a congressional seat six years ago to launch what most agree was a stumbling campaign for governor, which he lost to one-termer Democrat Bill Ritter.

That’s right, Beauprez, a former state party chairman and nearly constant fixture at major state Republican events in recent months, is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate what would be eight years after his last race.

We’re more than a little surprised to hear the name Beauprez being mentioned with any shred of truth. We’re talking about a guy whose 2006 campaign for governor is on the short list of worst statewide campaigns in Colorado history.

We still think that Coffman will eventually be the Republican nominee unless he crashes spectacularly this November. But even if it isn’t Coffman, we’d be absolutely floored to see Beauprez emerge as the GOP favorite.

Independent Candidate in CD-6

As 9News reports, a former Democrat named Kathy Polhemus apparently plans to run in CD-6 as an Independent candidate:

Kathy Polhemus, a retired non-profit executive who founded Dress for Success, intends to submit signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State Wednesday morning to secure a spot on the ballot.

State Representative Joe Miklosi is the Democrat in the race…

…Polhemus says she has been contacted by Miklosi supporters urging her not to enter the race.

“I don’t scare easy and I feel a call to service,” Polhemus said. Campaign finance filings indicate she has donated $37,000 to her own campaign. Polhemus told 9Wants To Know’s Kyle Clark that she is prepared to make an initial investment of $100,000 of her own money to get her candidacy off the ground.

There are a lot of pieces to this story that seem odd, chief among them the fact that a former non-profit executive would have $100,000 to donate to her own campaign. If Polhemus does make the ballot, she’ll do much more to help incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman than anything else she accomplishes. Democrat Joe Miklosi is facing an uphill battle to unseat Coffman, and an Independent peeling off potential votes only makes that more of a challenge.

Mike Coffman, it’s time to take your ball and go home.

As a Republican, I have voted for you before, thinking I was preserving fiscal conservatism. But I never will again. There were many reasons to dislike you before, such as your voter purges, anti-women and anti-gay voting record, and smarmy personality. But your behavior in Elbert County and since then surpasses all of them.

We are fortunate, in America, to have free speech as part of our Constitution. But your edifying use

of that right has come back to bite you, and rightfully so. Granted, you were busily pandering to teabaggers, and the man who recorded you apparently thought he was helping you.  

What I see now is a small-minded, bigoted birther. I don’t see a brave Marine. I don’t see transparency. I don’t even see you, since you have

been in hiding for the past week, only sneaking off to private fundraisers. I see someone robotically repeating an obviously lawyer-mandated response to Kyle Clark’s questions. I see a weak apology that is clearly a CYA move. I see someone who isn’t sorry about what he said, but sorry that he got caught.

I REALLY don’t see a man who is fit to return to Congress as a representative of the people of Colorado. Many people rolled their eyes at Arizona’s Bennett desperately seeking a reason to keep the President off the ballot, but it can be generally acknowledged that Arizona’s leadership is apparently not mentally stable.

Colorado, however, despite pockets of intolerance, has a highly educated populace. You have demonstrated no knowledge of your new constituents, and your glib insult to the President by regurgitating right-wing birther nonsense shows your lack of suitability for Congress.

Intelligent voters are tired of the CO GOP. We were revolted by Frank McNulty’s civil union bill  shenanigans, and Don Coram choosing to shill for votes rather than support his own son. We were disgusted by SM-003, Colorado’s very own version of the Blunt Amendment. We were repulsed by Chris Holbert’s attempt to attach an anti-abortion measure to the budget, and his subsequent childish refusal to sign it. We laughed at the very poor turnout for Ted Harvey’s little religious freedom gathering or whatever it was, on the day of the well-attended Planned Parenthood rally.

And now, you are the latest face of GOP intolerance and ignorance in Colorado. I’m sure that you, and everyone except Don Coram, are hoping that all will be forgotten by election time. I can assure you that it will not. We are embarrassed by Colorado Republicans, and it’s time for you to go.  

Miklosi Back From Brink With $235K Q1

Welcome news for longsuffering Democrats hoping for a pickup in the newly-competitive CD-6: per a press release this morning, state Rep. Joe Miklosi has turned the corner on his so-far terrible fundraising, posting a much improved $235,000 for the first quarter of 2012.

Contributions over the last three months of $235,174 have brought the campaign’s total raised to more than $474,000. Miklosi has seen a dramatic surge in donor activity since clearing the primary field in the new 6th congressional district six weeks ago.  The campaign reports over 2000 donors in the first quarter including 1,965 from individual contributors.    

“As we head into this election, I am grateful to have the active involvement of so many individuals in our campaign,” said Miklosi. “I believe it’s because they fully understand that we are fighting for the future of our country.”  

Miklosi has been focused on incumbent Mike Coffman’s voting record.  Coffman supports the Ryan budget which ends Medicare as we know it; the Blunt amendment which allows employers to determine whether your health insurance provides coverage for contraception and other items; and the Colorado Personhood amendment which outlaws abortion even in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother.

Miklosi makes comparisons to some 2010 congressional challengers that appear favorable at first glance, but Ryan Frazier and Cory Gardner didn’t lay eggs quarter after quarter like Miklosi did at first. If anything, Miklosi’s comeback is more significant and he shouldn’t sully it.

And of course, $235,000 in Q1 is still less than half incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s haul for the same period. No Democrat should be under any delusions here: we would say this is the absolute least that Rep. Miklosi could have raised this quarter to remain in this race with anything you could call “viability.” But within the big picture there are other encouraging signs: according to the campaign nearly half of this total was raised in the final month of the quarter, after it sank in that Miklosi’s primary field was clear. Miklosi also says he raised some $75,000 of this total in relatively small online donations, a sign that side of his campaign is bearing fruit.

Bottom line: this is just the first step in what must be a totally rebooted effort from Rep. Miklosi if he is to have a serious chance at taking out the heavily-reinforced Coffman–a temporary reprieve at best. But the fact that we’re having this conversation at all, that is a conversation ending with Miklosi having any kind of shot, could fairly be called a significant turnaround. Miklosi doesn’t have to outraise Coffman, and it’s clear at this point that he’s not going to.

But he has to bring in enough to function, and enough to remain at least somewhat viable in the eyes of national donors. Today, you have your first real indication he might.

Coffman Raising Giant Warchest

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is doing a good job of raising serious cash in order to thwart a serious challenge from Democrat Joe Miklosi before it can even get started. As the Denver newspaper reports, Coffman raised $532,000 in Q1, increasing his campaign warchest to $1.37 million.

Miklosi’s fundraising thus far has been downright terrible, and it’s not likely that he had a strong Q1 if his campaign is already telling reporters that it won’t announce its numbers until next week. Miklosi’s weak fundraising, combined with Coffman’s big checking account, is preventing Miklosi’s campaign from making it onto the top targeted tier for the DCCC. By racing out to a huge fundraising lead and keeping his foot on the gas, Coffman is essentially winning his race before it really even begins.

Remind Us Why This Makes Sense, Congressmen?

Yesterday Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton both voted in favor of a budget that would all but destroy Medicare, and we’re having trouble understanding the political strategy here. As Talking Points Memo explains:

For the second year in a row, Republicans voted Thursday to effectively dismantle Medicare – this time, just over seven months before a presidential election. And Democrats are salivating at the political opportunity, eager to hang the vote around the neck of the party’s presidential nominee and its candidates in tough congressional races.

“A year ago, nobody was talking about Democrats having a shot at the House. Now we’re talking about it,” a Democratic leadership aide told TPM after the vote, a party-line 228-191 that didn’t win a single Dem.

The blueprint by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is similar to his controversial Medicare plan last year, in that it ends the health insurance guarantee for seniors and replaces the program with a subsidized insurance-exchange system. Unlike last year’s plan, seniors can buy into traditional Medicare as a sort-of public option, and the vouchers it provides are more generous…

…As it turns out, Democrats would love to fight the battle on those terms. They’re expected to make Medicare a focal point of their election message, portraying Republicans as seeking to “break the Medicare guarantee” in order to fund large tax cuts for the rich.

“Our main focus will be on Medicare,” the Democratic aide said. “There’s clear evidence that seniors are very worried about what Republicans are doing with Medicare. And we want people to know that this is who they are in a nutshell. There’s no wiggle room for them.”

Both Coffman and Tipton voted for the “Ryan Plan” in 2011 as well, and we’re just as confounded by this vote as we were last year. While these votes may make the Tea Party happy, it’s not going to go over well with moderate and Independent senior citizens. The votes are particularly problematic for Tipton, who pledged as a candidate in 2010 that he would protect Medicare (see press release after the jump from the campaign of Democrat Sal Pace). Tipton is going to have a tough time holding off Pace in CD-3, and pissing off senior citizens isn’t a smart idea in our book.

As for Coffman, we can only assume that he is casting these votes with an eye towards a 2014 Senate race against Democrat Mark Udall; while these votes will certainly be dredged up in a general election against Udall, Coffman might figure he needs to position himself firmly on the right in order to fend off primary challengers. Democrat Joe Miklosi will make as much hay out of this as he can in his challenge to Coffman this fall, but at this point it doesn’t look like Miklosi’s campaign will have enough strength to really make a run at the CD-6 incumbent.  

Scott Tipton Again Breaks Promise To Seniors By Voting To End The Medicare Guarantee

Today, for the second time since being elected, Congressman Tipton broke his 2010 campaign promise to never cut or privatize Medicare. Tipton voted for the controversial House budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and raise health care costs for seniors while giving people making over $1 million per year a $394,000 tax cut.

In contrast, just days ago days ago, his opponent Sal Pace – with over 1,000 other Coloradans – promised to protect Medicare for our seniors.

“Even though while campaigning in 2010 my opponent said ‘no cuts, no privatization’ to Medicare we are seeing once again where his priorities are” said Pace. “Getting the deficit under control is important, but we have to do it in a reasonable fashion. Eliminating benefits for seniors and replacing it with a voucher program that would more than double what seniors currently pay is not the way to do it.”

The House proposal supported by Tipton according to the AARP, would “simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage” and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found Medicare benefits “would likely shrink.”

###

Background

In his 2010 campaign, Tipton promised never to privatize Social Security or Medicare. “I’ll never put our seniors’ future at risk. No cuts, no privatization, and no scaring our seniors just to try and win this election.” [American Spectator, 10/15/10]

Tipton Voted for the House Republican Budget. On March 29, 2012, Tipton voted in favor of the House Republican budget. H.Con.Res. 112, Vote # 151, 3/29/12]Congressional Budget Office: Ryan’s Plan Would Likely Shrink Medicare Benefits, Increase Number Of Uninsured. “Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) latest proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office also said the number of people without health insurance could be ‘much higher’ under Ryan’s plan because it would repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. Ryan’s Medicare plan would convert some of the program’s funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors could choose between the traditional single-payer program or a private plan.” [The Hill, 3/20/11

AARP: Ryan’s Plan Would Increase Health Care Costs for Older Americans. AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote to Members of Congress on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution. In the letter, Rand wrote: “this proposal simply shifts these high and growing costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, and it then shifts even higher costs of increased uninsured care onto everyone else […] By creating a ‘premium support’ system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” [AARP Letter, 3/21/12]

House Republican Budget Would Give People Making Over $1 Million Per Year a $394,000 Tax Cut. “New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132]

Let’s Make a Trade!

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: We added something to the guidelines (after the jump) to clear up some confusion.

—–

Today is the trade deadline in the NBA, and while professional basketball may not interest you, it got us to thinking about what would happen if you could trade elected officials (insert obvious jokes here).

For example, would you trade Republican Rep. Mike Coffman for Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock? This is a purely political exercise, so don’t worry about policies or ideologies. Think of Democrats and Republicans as two different sports teams, so if they are traded they assume the general ideology of their new party.

In the case above, a Democratic Coffman would let the donkeys gain, and probably hold, another Congressional seat while also taking Coffman out of a potential Senate race in 2014. In exchange, Republicans would get the Denver Mayor’s office, which can be a great bully pulpit and fundraising position (yes, we know that the Denver Mayor is technically “nonpartisan,” but Hancock is absolutely a Democrat). The downside for Democrats is losing control of the city that is the very heart of the state; the downside for Republicans is that Hancock would face a strong challenger for re-election.

Go ahead and propose some theoretical trades in the comments section, and we’ll take the best and most interesting and put them to a vote in a later post; we’ll also post our own mock trades a bit later.

Click to read the guidelines after the jump, and remember: This is a game of politics, not policy. The point of a trade would be to theoretically make your “team” (in this case, your political party) better as a whole and in stronger position to win future elections.

 

Let’s Make a Trade Guidelines

UPDATE: The political office that the person currently holds goes with them in a trade. If you trade Sen. Michael Bennet to the Republicans in exchange for State Sen. Greg Brophy (an example from the comments below), Bennet is still a U.S. Senator — but he’s now a Republican Senator.

  • The trade must be theoretically acceptable to both sides. In other words, you wouldn’t get anywhere by proposing a trade of Sen. Mark Udall for a Grand Junction city council member.
  • If the trade were accepted, the elected officials would change parties and essentially vote/govern the exact opposite of their current stance. Basically, they are playing for a new team and would be expected to help their new friends.
  • Whoever is traded would have to run for re-election as a member of their new party. You could trade Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), but they would both almost certainly lose a re-election bid.
  • Current and past politicos are eligible to be traded. You could swap Democrat Bill Ritter for Republican Bill Owens and run a former governor for a future office.
  • Don’t be afraid to put together a nice package trade. Would Republicans trade Rep. Cory Gardner and Coffman in exchange for Gov. John Hickenlooper?
  • Feel free to propose trades of national politicians. You can also trade someone who is not an elected official but a serious power broker nonetheless (Tim Gill, Larry Mizel, etc.)
  • If we need to clarify further, we’ll answer questions from the comments thread with updates to this list.

    Farber Will Help Coffman

    As the Denver newspaper reported yesterday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman got some good news recently.

    Two of Colorado’s most prominent political fundraisers, attorneys Steve Farber and Norm Brownstein, will be raising money for Coffman’s re-election in CD-6 rather than supporting Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi. Farber and Brownstein have a history of supporting candidates from both sides of the aisle, but they tend to back Democrats more often than Republicans. The fact that Farber is going to help Coffman raise money is a pretty significant blow to Miklosi; after all, Farber could have stayed on the sidelines if he wasn’t enthralled with the Democratic candidate.

    As we’ve said time and again in this space, fundraising at high levels is mostly about trying to get in with the candidate most likely to win. For Farber to make this decision this early is a pretty good indicator that Miklosi is rapidly losing the perception battle among those who write the big checks.

    Perry Haney Withdraws From CD-6 Race Following GOP Complaint

    UPDATE: Kurtis Lee of the Denver paper breaks: Perry Haney will withdraw from the CD-6 race, leaving state Rep. Joe Miklosi as the Democratic contender and ending the primary.

    Republicans may be kicking themselves over this legal challenge. We thought it was a smart strategic move to go after Haney by Republicans, because publicly attacking him helps the average voter to think that he is the stronger of the two Democrats running for the seat (the other being Rep. Joe Miklosi). Despite Miklosi’s faults, which we’ve documented here, he is absolutely a better candidate than the unknown and underfunded Haney.

    But in the end, the GOP’s attacks probably made Haney’s quixotic run more trouble than it was worth.  

    —–

    The Colorado Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last week, alleging that CD-3 CD-6 Democratic self-funding candidate Perry Haney spent thousands of dollars on a run for Congress “somewhere in Colorado” before appropriately filing with the FEC. From the letter sent by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call:

    Perry Haney for Congress is an authorized committee of Perry Haney, a candidate for the House of Representatives in the Colorado 6th Congressional District.  Haney filed a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy with the FEC on October 27, 2011, and an amended Form 2 Statement of Candidacy on December 14, 2011.  The Committee filed a Form 1 Statement of Organization with the FEC on October 27, 2011, listing the Committee’s name as Perry Haney for Congress Exploratory Committee.  An amended Form 1 Statement of Organization was filed on December 14, 2011, changing the name to Perry Haney for Congress…

    An individual becomes a candidate and triggers registration and reporting responsibilities under the Act when campaign activity exceeds $5,000 in either contributions or expenditures.  2 USC § 431(2).  A candidate must file a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy within 15 days of becoming a candidate.  2 USC § 432(e)(1).  Within 10 days after it has been designated by the candidate, the principal campaign committee must register by filing with the FEC.  2 USC § 433(a).

    The regulations permit an individual who has not decided to run for office to raise funds to “test the waters” and explore the viability of becoming a candidate.  11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131.  An individual solely engaging in testing the waters activities does not have to register or report as a candidate, even if the individual raises or spends more than $5,000 on these activities.  Testing the waters activities include conducting a poll, making telephone calls and traveling, but only if undertaken to determine whether an individual should become a candidate.   11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131.

    However, once an individual engages in campaign activity, if he or she has raised or spent more than $5,000, the individual must register as a candidate with the FEC.

    In short, candidates are permitted some wiggle room between beginning the process of “testing the waters” to enter a congressional race and formally doing so. The problem for Haney, as Call and GOP attorneys allege, is that Haney’s promotional efforts as a potential CD-3 candidate over the summer go well beyond merely “testing the waters.” Call says that Haney was possibly in violation upon receipt of more than $5,000 in July of last year, and by the time a “Haney for Congress” video was uploaded to Youtube at the end of last August, very likely so.

    We’re withholding judgment on this complaint pending further analysis, as some of the circumstances here are novel–we’re not sure, for example, how the fact that Haney was not yet running for a specific race (or, at the very least, looking at a different race than the one he ultimately chose) might affect the application of the law. We’re not election lawyers.

    But we’ll say this: Haney’s lurking on the margins of two congressional races last year, and having filed the proper paperwork for the race he chose months after his “exploratory” period began, is a wide-open target for Republicans on both a messaging and legal harassment level. To whatever extent Haney becomes a serious candidate, he’s going to be hit with the charge of having shopped for a congressional race irrespective of experience or community ties. Haney had better develop good answers to these questions, or he’s going nowhere.

    Miklosi Lays a Fundraising Egg; Haney Lays a Loan

    UPDATE: The Miklosi campaign issued a rather silly press release this afternoon. Full release after the jump, but here’s the opening sentence:

    In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.

    It’s a very good idea to point out the number of individual donors that Miklosi received in Q4 — that’s always the best approach when you can’t point to impressive totals. But you shouldn’t point out a weak cash-on-hand number, and it does more harm than good to say something like “In a sign of growing momentum…”  

    Remember, a press release is not something sent to the general public — the people who receive press releases are generally folks who have some idea of what is going on in the race, and when you try too hard to spin horrible news in the other direction, you just end up looking silly.

    —–

    Earlier this month Republican Rep. Mike Coffman announced that his campaign had raised $415,000 in the final quarter of 2011. When Democrat Joe Miklosi never sent out a news release discussing his Q4 fundraising numbers, it was a pretty safe assumption that the figures weren’t going to be good.

    Today is the deadline for Congressional candidates to file their end-of-2011 reports, and FEC reports show that Miklosi raised a meager $104,451 in Q4. Miklosi raised just $130,000 in his first fundraising quarter, and we’ve said since then that it was absolutely vital for his campaign to have a much stronger Q4. Altogether Miklosi now has $173,700 in cash on hand, significantly less than Coffman’s warchest of $961,374.

    Unfortunately for Miklosi, there’s no positive spin that can help him at this point. In order for him to be a top-tier contender that receives the kind of national help and attention needed to defeat Coffman, Miklosi had to be raising at least $200k per quarter by now (which is what Sal Pace did in Q4, and why Pace is on the top of the DCCC’s takeover list). Numbers this low will almost certainly cripple future fundraising, because nobody wants to write a big check to someone who doesn’t look like they can win; money begets money in politics, and Miklosi doesn’t have the warchest to convince big donors to get on the bandwagon. Miklosi’s poor Q4 will also embolden Senate President Brandon Shaffer to make the jump from running in CD-4, where he would almost certainly lose to incumbent Rep. Cory Gardner. Shaffer didn’t have a great Q4, either, but he has shown that he can be a better fundraiser than Miklosi by bringing in nearly $300,000 — a race that is much less plausible for Democrats to win than CD-6.

    There are probably a lot of factors contributing to Miklosi’s weak fundraising numbers overall, but when you do this poorly it usually means you didn’t have the necessary connections to put a big-time campaign in place to begin with. We can’t fault Miklosi for trying, but his campaign is all but over now.

    The other Democrat currently running in CD-6, unknown chiropractor Perry Haney, raised just $16,025 in Q4 but loaned his campaign $370,000. According to the FEC, Haney now has $684,215 cash on hand — nearly all of it from his own wallet.

     

    MIKLOSI CAMPAIGN BOLSTERED WITH STRONG CASH ON HAND AND 1,300 SUPPORTERS GOING INTO2012 ELECTION

    GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO – JANUARY 31, 2012 — In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.

    “Grassroots donors have been, and remain, a strong source of support for our campaign,” said Joe Miklosi, candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. “Our supporters didn’t get involved because of lines on a map or numbers in a poll. We are committed to idea that we can and should be working together to reignite the American Dream and restore job growth.”

    The campaign reported raising $104,000 in for the 4th quarter despite the eleventh-hour finalization of the congressional map, for a total of $230,000 since the launch of the campaign with a large majority of donations coming online.

    The campaign also announced this week the addition of Joe Livoti as Finance Director. Mr. Livoti, a veteran fundraiser who worked on Congressional and statewide races around the country, was referred to the campaign by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).