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August 20, 2014 03:19 PM UTC

Countdown Coffman: The End is Near

  • by: Colorado Pols
Exasperated Mike Coffman
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman practicing his “I’m screwed” face.

Last Thursday and Friday marked an important milestone in the race for CD-6 when incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman joined challenger Andrew Romanoff for the first official debates between the two candidates. A few months from now, we may look back at August 14th and 15th as seminal moments – the first glimpse of the end of Coffman’s 25-year political career.

Coffman is facing what is without question the most difficult campaign in a career that began with his election as a State Representative in 1989. He has since been elected as a State Senator, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State prior to advancing to his current Congressional seat in 2008. Coffman has dispatched plenty of challengers as his political star ascended, but never has he faced an opponent the caliber of Romanoff – a charismatic, likable Democrat with strong name ID, serious policy chops, and an ability to raise massive amounts of money for his campaign.

Political pundits across the country consider CD-6 to be among the most competitive races anywhere in 2014, and when all of the checks have been written by supporters and interest groups, total spending should be in the staggering range of $25 million. Money, or a lack thereof, will not be the deciding factor in this race because each side will have no shortage of resources to draw upon. The outcome in CD-6 will be decided instead on other intangible qualities, and after last week’s debates, the countdown is unmistakably visible for Coffman.

In the first debate last Thursday, sponsored by the South Metro Chamber of Commerce (now available online at, Coffman appeared irritable and unsteady next to the more confident and affable Romanoff. But it wasn’t until the next morning, at a debate in Aurora sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, in which Coffman…cracked.

Check out Coffman’s angry response below to a challenge from Romanoff that is virtually identical from the same point made one day earlier. Instead of brushing off Romanoff’s challenge to stop accepting PAC money, Coffman explodes:

Now take a look (after the jump) at this clip from the end of the debate. Coffman scrambles to gather his papers and exit the stage, moving quickly as if his car were being towed outside. This is not the image of a man who feels confident about his position in this campaign.

Should Coffman end up losing his seat in November, it won’t be because of his performance at these debates – that’s not the point we’re trying to make here. What we are saying is that last week's debates may prove to be the seminal moment in which Colorado politicos saw the end of the line for Coffman. Countdown Coffman has begun.




27 thoughts on “Countdown Coffman: The End is Near

  1. Coffman certainly appeared rattled by the whole experience.

    Question for the group:  There is another debate scheduled for Saturday the 23rd hosted by the Denver Post.

    Is that open to the public?  If so, anyone have details (location, time, tickets)?

        1. The debate that should be the toughest for Coffman will be the Univision debate (in Spanish, I believe) in October.  That's why Coffman is studying the language currently.

          As much trouble as he has explaining himself in English, the opportunities for him to really make a laughingstock of himself trying to sound pro-immigrant with only a rudimentary proficiency in Spanish will be entertaining, to say the least.

            1. Totally fluent.  I was at the State House and saw Romanoff doing an interview in Spanish and he's got a great command of the language.  Coffman's crazy to agree to the Univision debate.

  2. Wow. I bet Mike Coffman would have loved to get down and do a quick 150 pushups just to calm down at 1:03 in the video. As it was, it looked like he was ready to punch Andrew Romanoff in the face. That is some telling body language.

    In the 2nd video, it looks as though Coffman refused to do the gentlemanly "shake of the hands", instead, barely grazing Romanoff's hand and bolting. That barely suppressed rage is evident, and not appealing to voters.

  3. Why the state GOP didn't run Coffman for Guv instead of what they're stuck with is beyond me.  I'm not a big fan of Coffman's but he at least has a track record of winning three statewide races, unlike the guy the Repubs ended up nominating.

    1. This wil be the second time the Repubs picked a second-rate candidate for governor, but I'm not sure Coffman would do better against Hick than Romanoff. We saw how he did against Ritter. I maintain that Ritter didn't win that race, WBWB lost it. 

    2. Coffman is manaeing to stay close and could still win. But as I have written  in this space before, the gubernatorial candiate Dems like myself were afraid of was Amy Stephens. She cosponsored Colorado's Healthcare plan or Amycare as the local Republicans call it. This would have removed the healthcare debate. 35% of the people in this country dislike Obamacare. But the hard right conservatives couldn't get over the fact that she sponsored healthcare, and they couldn't get over the fact that she is a woman.

  4. Who cares he rushed out?  He's probably double booked and running late, I heard he's in the campaign challenge of his life.

    Much more telling is how physically confrontational and controlling he tries to be.  Romanoff should pull his arm away next time Coffman grabs him. Or request to be seated further away.

    I don't know why Coffman would agree to so many debates – it doesn't help him. Spanish? Dios mio! What could possibly go wrong?

  5. I’m supporting Romanoff but this race isn’t over until election day. Posts like the one above make it all too easy to let your guard down, something you can't do if you want to win. If you want to win you have to take every opponent—no matter how weak or strong—seriously. Taking anything for granted is a proven way to lose.   

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