So Mike Coffman Wants To Be Aurora’s Mayor, Does He?

Ex-Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

The Aurora Sentinel’s Kara Mason makes official what’s been water-cooler discussion for some weeks now–Mike Coffman, fresh off his double-digit defeat in last year’s CD-6 race, is planning a run for Mayor of the City of Aurora:

Former Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman is in the race for Aurora mayor, the longtime Aurora resident’s spokeswoman confirmed to the Sentinel on Thursday. 

“I’m running because I know that I can bring my leadership, experience, and knowledge to the City of Aurora to address the challenges of affordable housing, transportation, and public safety,” Coffman said in a statement about his candidacy…

Coffman, who lost to Democrat Rep. Jason Crow in November, has been suspected of eyeing the seat, currently held by Mayor Bob LeGare. LeGare was appointed by city council members to be mayor when former Mayor Steve Hogan died last year.

LeGare said during the appointment process he would not run for the seat. 

As we’ve recounted in this space many times before and since his belated comeuppance last year, Rep. Mike Coffman started out as a hard-right Republican in the mold of his predecessor in Congress, notoriously anti-immigrant former VDARE board member Rep. Tom Tancredo. In 2011, Coffman’s district was redrawn to exclude arch-conservative southern Denver exurbs and include the urban and diverse heart of Aurora.

Redistricting and a near-defeat in 2012 forced Coffman to scramble to reinvent his Tancredo-style image, paying frequent lip service to a new moderate position on immigration while steadfastly supporting the GOP leadership in Congress who ensured no actual immigration reform would take place. After Donald Trump became President, Coffman attempted to triangulate off Trump’s controversial image–but in the end was forced into the party line on enough high-profile issues like the 2017 tax cut bill that his long streak of defying the district’s propensity to elect Democrats was ended by now-Rep. Jason Crow.

After his defeat last November, Coffman cast lame-duck votes that are certain to haunt him in any future bid for votes from the same constituents who just threw him out of office. Coffman voted against the Farm Bill, complaining that it didn’t go far enough to impose work requirements on food stamp recipients, and then voted for the funding bill that included Trump’s $5.7 billion in wall funding–a failed vote that led directly to the longest government shutdown in American history. These votes set back Coffman’s image reinvention considerably, widely interpreted as his true colors shining through with the pressure off.

In short, sure–Coffman has name recognition. But along with that name ID comes a hefty load of baggage from his decades-long political career, and especially events leading up to his crushing defeat at the hands of the same voters who would elect him Aurora Mayor. The liabilities that finally caught up with Coffman in 2018 have not gone away. And before anyone declares Coffman a favorite for Mayor of the most economically and culturally diverse city in Colorado, he has a great deal to answer for.

12 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    What.….no one on K Street wanted to hire him as a lobbyist?

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Perhaps he believes this is the voters’ reward that he was promised for “staying the course”???

  3. davebarnes says:

    Well, if you were creating a Big Line for Aurora mayor, then I would bet Mike would be at 70%. Name recognition is worth a lot.

    If a push-up challenge is part of the debate process, then he is a lock.

    • gertie97 says:

      Name ID and money go a long way.

    • mamajama55 says:

      I hate to say it, but this could work for Coffman. He is popular with Aurorans, mainly because his staff excels at constituent services, particularly for veterans.

      Most of my remaining family lives in Aurora, and even  the Democrats are  lukewarm-to-positive about Mike Coffman.

      Working against that is Coffman's "Vote 96% of the time with Trump" record, and his waffling on DACA, on immigration generally, on the ACA health act, on the Republican tax cuts. If Trump goes down, and I think that he will one way or the other, Coffman's political future won't survive, either.

      If I were an Aurora Democratic strategist, I'd recruit an enthusiastic, plainspoken veteran with a great civil service record, possibly a person of color, to run for Mayor against Coffman.


      • DENependent says:

        Democrats certainly have a role in getting people to run in Aurora, but like Denver the race is officially non-partisan. Also, while the position is a spokesman and gets a neat title the Mayor of Aurora is more akin to a slightly more important city council member since they use a council-manager system out there instead of the strong mayor system used in Denver. So if Coffman runs for Mayor of Aurora he could do very little actual harm unless he has a majority of the city council supporting him.

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    There are a plethora of Denver candidates — maybe some of the unsuccessful in the May election can change residence and challenge Coffman?

  5. Thoughtful Dem says:

    Coffman doesn’t want to be Mayor of Aurora.   He wants to position himself to run against Jason Crow again.   He’s still bitter over that loss.  And Ryan Frazier was the up and coming Republican until he decided to run for Mayor.  Now, magically, he’s and Independent.  And you know who really loves Aurora, and truly represents the diversity of this city?   Omar Montgomery.   He wants to be Mayor of Aurora—not just another ambitious politician like Frazier and Coffman.   And he is going to surprise some folks when he wins.   This race has some far reaching implications for Congressional races and for what happens with Cory Gardner’s race  in 2020.  That’s why Omar has been endorsed by most of the Democratic leadership in the State.  He’s going to surprise people in November.  

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