A press release from national pro-gun safety Giffords PAC announces an unusual foray by the organization into a municipal race–that is, the mayoral race in Aurora, Colorado:
Giffords PAC announced a new $50,000 ad campaign supporting gun safety champion Omar Montgomery in the Aurora mayoral race against Mike Coffman, long in the pocket of the gun lobby. Launched today, “Mike Coffman: NRA’s Yes Man” contrasts the voting record of former National Rifle Association (NRA) A-rated Congressman Mike Coffman with Omar Montgomery, a gun violence survivor who is prepared to address this public safety threat.
“When the candidates for mayor of Aurora include a gun violence survivor with a strong commitment to his community and an NRA ally trying to claw his way back into power, voters must know the stakes,” said Joanna Belanger, political director at Giffords. “Coloradans kicked Mike Coffman out of Washington in 2018, yet he’s resurfaced to try a comeback in Aurora. We won’t stand for it, and we’re proud to support a strong leader like Omar Montgomery. As Election Day nears, these ads will send a clear message to voters that the choice for mayor is simple: a committed public servant who cares about the safety of his community, or a failed politician with NRA cash in the bank.”
…Former Congressman Mike Coffman is a longtime NRA ally who has staunchly refused to take any action to stop America’s gun violence epidemic. While in Congress, Coffman enthusiastically backed NRA-supported bills like concealed carry reciprocity, loosening restrictions on interstate gun sales, and a bill legitimizing hunting and shooting on federal lands. In 2018, Giffords PAC spent nearly $1.5 million in opposition to Coffman’s reelection.
Former Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign for mayor of Aurora is built on his long, long record as an elected official going all the way back to his election to the Colorado House in 1988. Unfortunately for Coffman, his longstanding support for (and support from) the National Rifle Association (NRA) now works against Coffman in a city whose name has become synonymous with mass gun violence after the July 2012 shooting at the Aurora Town Center’s Century Theater. Coffman’s “A” rating from the NRA was more of a liability for Coffman in 2018 than ever before as opponent Jason Crow prosecuted the issue hard on the campaign trail–and contributed to the breakdown of ticket-splitting in Democratic-leaning CD-6 that had saved Coffman in previous years.
Coffman is considered a favorite to win the election for Mayor of Aurora, based heavily on his very high name ID. Given that Coffman has been in elected office for just about all of the past three decades, drawing a political paycheck is how he pays the bills. But if the mayoral race becomes a referendum on the larger national debate over gun safety, the same vulnerability that helped end Coffman’s congressional career could keep him from winning this race, too.