Smart Money: Don’t Believe The Hype In CD-6

Andrew Romanoff (D).

Andrew Romanoff (D).

Late Friday, a story went up at Politico that suggested national Democrats are "pulling out" of the Colorado CD-6 race, the marquee battleground matchup between Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had reserved $1.4 million for TV spending to boost Romanoff in the final two weeks of his race against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. But a DCCC aide said Friday that those funds would be distributed to other races…

Romanoff, a former state House speaker and unsuccessful 2010 Senate candidate, was once regarded as one of his party’s top 2014 hopefuls. But, with Republicans benefiting from a favorable national environment and Coffman running an energetic reelection campaign, Romanoff has seen his prospects dim.

As reports at Politico often do at election time, Alex Isenstadt's brief story is pretty slanted–reflecting spin that was clearly imparted to him as he prepared to write this story. On the other hand, the Denver Post's Jon Murray has a much more balanced look at these developments, with an understanding of how elections work in Colorado today that Politico's reporter evidently lacks.

[T]he DCCC is focusing its money on Democratic incumbents newly under attack by outside Republican groups, which sunk $4.2 million on new ad buys Thursday. But the DCCC still is supporting Romanoff’s challenge of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman next week by chipping in money to expand the campaign’s own ad buy, the DCCC and Romanoff’s campaign say, and by supporting its field operations… [Pols emphasis]

“National Democrats have clearly given up on Andrew Romanoff,” suggested Tyler Q. Houlton, a spokesman for the DCCC’s counterpart, the National Republican Congressional Committeee.

Well, not entirely.

DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bittner countered: “This is still a very winnable race, and Romanoff is well-funded and in a competitive position to bring it across the finish line.” In fundraising announcements this week, Romanoff announced a third-quarter haul of $1.1 million, besting Coffman’s $855,000 in contributions.

There's no question that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) making last-minute redirections of money provides useful "horse race" message opportunities for Republicans. Much like reports last month that the Republican Governors Association (RGA) had ended buys in the Colorado gubernatorial race, which proved to be a short pause in the action when a subsequent round of polls gave Bob Beauprez's campaign a shot in the arm, of course the other side is going to spin these things to their advantage. If they're not, they're not doing their jobs. 

In the case of Romanoff's CD-6 bid, though, the situation really isn't so simple. For starters, Romanoff has consistently outraised the Republican incumbent in this race, including the most recent results announced last week as Murray reports. This isn't a situation where the candidate is flagging at the close–Romanoff's unexpected fundraising ability has been an important theme in the race all along. Romanoff's ability to bring in the funds he needed to compete in this race himself has silenced many critics, including this blog, who were concerned that Romanoff would self-limit his ability to compete by swearing off various kinds of money. This fact alone strongly works against any Republican spin that Romanoff is "losing momentum."

Another thing to keep in mind is that, especially in Colorado, expensive TV advertising hit a point of diminishing return some time ago–weeks, months? We'll leave that to readers to determine. But because in Colorado every registered voter will receive a mail ballot this week, the last few weeks of TV ad time just aren't as critical as they are in other states where most voters cast ballots on Election Day. At this point, investing in the coordinated Democratic field campaign to get those mail ballots in is far more important to victory than shoveling more money into ads that the voters are already sick of.

Everything we hear today is consistent with Murray's reporting–the DCCC remains committed to CD-6 in the ways that matter. And in Colorado, what wins elections is three focused weeks of getting out the vote.

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    The DCCC remains committed to Romanoff.

    Their resources, however, have been committed elsewhere.

    In judging their commitment, I would go with where they commit resources.

    • OrangeFree says:

      Ballots drop this week, which means the air war has reached its pinnacle here in Colorado. Money for ads is best spent now in states that don't have early voting. It's a waste to expend those resources on Romanoff when he has ample funds to run a very rigorous ground game. If he were toast, the NRCC would have pulled out as well, but they apparently still see a need to spend millions to try an save Coffman's job. 

      You see it only as a bad omen, and that's because you can't see the forest for the trees. 

      • gasan says:

        And clearly, funding a ground operation is what will win it for Romanoff. Gotta chase those ballots. I'm assuming AC will be doing lots of canvassing for Coffman, won't ya buddy?

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Ahh  Reading the Tea Party leaves and dipping your fingers in goat guts to make this poignant prognostication.  Yes please believe in your tar black heart that Democrats have given up and leaving the field in humiliating defeat because of the incredible bi-partisan cooperation and legislative accomplishments of the current congressman (What were they now?).  You can officially let up on the gas and coast to the finish line because your goat gut predictions tell you things are going gloriously for your side.  What could go wrong beside mail-in ballots and lots of people with pigmented skin deciding they couldn't vote are an anti-immigrant asshole.

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    Andrew will continue to outraise his opponent and his GOTV efforts are energetic and thorough. Soon, Andrew will be wearing the Congessional lapel pin and that will be beneficial for CD6, CO and the nation

  3. exlurker19 says:

    Got 3 glossy mailers from Romanov just yesterday, one clearly marked DCCC.  Despite living in a very conservative neighborhood, I haven't heard a word from Coffman–first time since I moved here that the Repubs slighted me.  Tommy Tanc used to flood my mailbox even though my family and I wouldn't have voted for him as dog catcher unless there was a huge outbreak of rabies in the domesticated dog.

    Maybe the Repubs figured out we're Dems, and they finally got smarter.  But based on Zippy and Skippy, the Repubs don't seem to learn quickly if at all.

    • BlueCat says:

      We've been getting nothing but Republican attacks on Dems. We always get a lot of those since my husband is registered U and is in the grumpy older white guy demo (little do they know he never votes Republican. Just likes being U) but I've been shocked by the almost total lack of anything from the Dem side. Still, thanks, Colpols. This does make things look brighter.

      I think TV is still very important because many of the people who will represent an expansion of the electorate are those who may not have bothered in an old fashioned midterm election but may do so now when a ballot drops into their laps. Many of them will only start paying attention at that point. These aren't people who follow politics and who may just start paying attention to ads (instead of eliminating them, scrolling by them or hitting the mute button) as a way of learning something about the candidates once they have a ballot in their possession. I think ads will be important during the entire period from the time the ballots arrive to deadline. 

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        TV is important for the same illogical reason that yard signs are important. If you aren't flooded with yard signs than a candidate is seen as 'losing'.

        Bet we all get flooded with mailers Wed-Fri this week

        • BlueCat says:

          I've noticed fewer yard signs than usual for either side in my part of town. Many of my neighbors, R and D, who usually display signs aren't doing so this year. Don't know why. On my block it's just me and the neighbor around the corner. We're both Dems. Even my next door neighbor who always has all the R signs out hasn't bothered. 

  4. Andrew Carnegie says:

    New title for this diary:

    True Believers: Don't believe your lying eyes. is the new URL.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Because Benghazi!!!!!!.  Please please pretty please Benghazi

      Did I mention Benghazi?

      Don't analyze the facts or consider political strategies that are more sophisticated than blaming Democrats for Benghazi.

      Don't think about how ludicrous my assumptions are that Democrats have already conceded the race.  Just believe me because Benghazi.


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