Coffman(s) for U.S. Senate?

Mike and Cynthia Coffman. And dog.

Will Mike Coffman run for Senate in 2016? What about Cynthia? Or the dog?

The D.C. publication Roll Call has an interesting story today probing around about Republicans looking for their next statewide candidate to potentially challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, and it leads with the possibility that the GOP nominee may eventually have the last name of Coffman. But which one? Rep. Mike Coffman, or his wife, newly-elected Attorney General Cynthia Coffman?

This Senate race could make for interesting dinner conversation in one Colorado household.

Republicans say battle-tested Rep. Mike Coffman and his wife, Cynthia Coffman, the state’s newly elected attorney general, are two of the party’s top prospects to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016…

…In a Sunday phone interview with CQ Roll Call, Cynthia Coffman said she had asked her husband if he was going to run for Senate, but he had not asked her.

“He seems to be committed to being in Congress,” she said. “I think we’re both excited about what we’ve got to do over the next two years.”

Cynthia Coffman said it was “fun” and “flattering” to be mentioned, but for now she is “so excited to be attorney general.” She said she “would consider” a bid for a House or Senate seat one day, but not necessarily in 2016 — though she did not explicitly rule it out. She said by watching her husband make the commute back and forth between Washington, D.C. and Colorado, she had “realized what a drain it is,” and would know exactly what she was in for if she were to do it.

We'll forgive reporter Alexis Levinson for her lede above, since she is probably unaware that the Coffmans have maintained separate residences for years in Denver (click here for the strange back-and-forth living and voting arrangements for the Coffmans). We'd be shocked to see Cynthia run for Senate in 2016; Roll Call mentions her wide margin of victory in the race for Attorney General in 2014, but that had more to do with the fact that she was a Republican running for a low-interest race in a mid-term Presidential year. The Coffman family dog could have posted strong numbers running as a Republican in 2014.

But what about Mike Coffman?

Well, you never say never,” Coffman told CQ Roll Call outside the House chamber early last month when asked about a Senate bid, “but I’m focused on my House race.”


As the GOP field stands today, Mike Coffman currently tops the Colorado Pols Big Line 2016 as the most likely Bennet challenger in 2016, but that's largely because we can't think of anyone else to put at the top. Coffman is a career politician who doesn't have a personal fortune to fall back on should he run for Senate and lose. For now, we've heard that Coffman is reluctant to take a serious look at the 2016 Senate race because he is focusing on moving up in Congressional leadership. He is also a little gun-shy about a top statewide race after his brief foray as a candidate for Governor in 2005; Coffman had made it known for years that he planned on running for Governor in 2006, but Republican Bob Beauprez had no trouble kneecapping Coffman's campaign after only a few weeks.

The Roll Call story also mentions two other potential GOP candidates for Senate in 2016: Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. It's far too early to talk about Brauchler as a candidate for anything while the Aurora theater shooting case has yet to be settled; the outcome of that case, more than anything, will probably decide Brauchler's potential as a future candidate.

We've also heard Stapleton mentioned as a potential candidate in 2016, but it's far more likely that Stapleton remains where he is in order to run for Governor in 2018. Stapleton did win re-election in November as State Treasurer, but not before nearly bungling the race altogether with his own missteps and excuses. Stapleton's connections to the Bush family (he's a cousin to George W. or George H.W. or Jeb or something) and his ability to raise money will always make him a potential candidate for higher office, but he could probably use a few more years to do something of value as State Treasurer to wash that Dealin' Doug-style TV ad out of your brain.

We've got a long way to go until 2016, but the campaigning for U.S. Senate will begin in earnest in the next 6 months or so. Mike Coffman looks today like the strongest possible Republican challenger, though there is no guarantee that he'll actually run. The Coffman family dynamic is fun to talk about, but there's no way Cynthia is going to be the GOP nominee in 2016.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    I don't know about Cynthia.  Remember the last time a GOP A.G. tried to run for US Senate?  It was 1996 when she was labeled a RINO and defeated by a man who made a living sticking thermometers up the asses of cats and dogs.

    Besides, some tea bagger will come along and accuse her of campaigning in high heels while he wears cowboy boots.

  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    I do think Mike makes the run.  He pretty much has to.  They have no other viable candidate.

    • taterheaptom says:

      Bob Beauprez.  Dan Maes.  Shorty. 

    • BlueCat says:

      If he does I wouldn't recommend a Bennet campaign stressing how Coffman can't be trusted on choice or with a promise of Republican lite economic policy. In that case it would boil down to economic Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum with Tweedle Dum being able to lay claim to a military record. Even in a Dem year I wouldn't be laying any serious bets on a Bennet win under that scenario. 

  3. DawnPatrol says:

    The smartest individual in that picture is the dog. And everyone in that picture, by rights, should be unemployed.

    Stupid damn Dems and their many worthless, fair-weather voters.

  4. itlduso says:

    Well, I got another franked mailing from Mike Coffman in today's mail (surrently in the round file).  So, maybe he's trying to keep up his name recognition on the cheap.

    The mailing said "Share your concerns with Mike at his monthly one-on-one constituent meetings".  These must be the ones where you get escorted into a room with Mike surrounded by security guards so no one else can hear your concerns.  GOP asshole.

    • mamajama55 says:

      If it’s a one on one meeting, there wouldn’t be any press to record embarrassing Coffman gaffes.

      The other thing about Coffman is that, apparently, he has very good staff and follows through well on constitutent services, particularly where the Veteran’s Administration is involved. I’ve heard this from a couple of CD6 residents. This surely helped him in the CD-6 race.

      I don’t think that good constituent services helps him on a statewide run, though. His wooden, off-kilter presence and extreme right policy positions will not appeal to voters statewide.

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        with all due respect Mama, Coffman is not THAT right wing compared to some of his fellow Repubs.  Stand him amongst Sharia Law Beauprez, UN B-Cycles Maes, and Build the Fence Tancredo and Coffman looks like a moderate conservative.  That may be his problem.  Not nutty enough…….

        • BlueCat says:

          Pretty sure he's right enough to win a primary and falsely perceived moderate enough to have a shot at defeating a rightie lite Dem, even in 2016 and especially since the whole military background thing has appeal to low info voters who will know little else about the guy and less about Bennett.

          I bet fewer Colorado voters know Bennet's name today than Coffman's. Yeah, 2016 will favor Dems but is anyone, even among the most devoted Dems, actually enthusiastic about Bennet?  Even in a year like 2016, I wouldn't bet the farm on the guy.

          On the plus side, maybe Bennet won't need all that much personal enthusiasm in a presidential year and Coffman's CD6 seat opening up in 2016 would give Dems a much better chance of taking it than they had in 2014.  Bennet could squeak by on the strength of being a high on the ticket nonentity to the general public (no particular reason for low info Dem and Dem leaning voters not to vote for the guy with the "D") in a year in which all the Dem leaning demos should come out strong to vote for President.

          Could be a double whammy winning scenario for Colorado Dems. If they don't let their clueless old general ops fighting now long ago wars screw it up. Sadly, even after the disasters of 2014, a big "if".

          PS: Does the thought of a Clinton v Bush election make anyone else want to take a long, long nap? I'm hoping for a whole new political  landscape to emerge. 

  5. doshort says:

    Well, I got another franked mailing from Mike Coffman in today's mail (currently in the round file). So, maybe he's trying to keep up his name recognition on the cheap. Ok Bye and thanks for the nice one again…

  6. mamajama55 says:

    Mike Coffman did stand with Tancredo.

    His weird "misspoke and apology" for saying that he wondered if Obama was a real American ws widely published.

    Coffman's plenty nutty. But still, most voters weren't paying attention, or didn't turn in their ballots. And you may be right that he successfully portrayed himself as moderate. I've forgotten which papers endorsed him. I know the Aurora Sentinel endorsed Romanoff.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      True, but that was before they redrew his district and took the posse commitatus folks in Elbert County out of the district.  When they added the rest of Aurora will all the Latino voters, he started studying Spanish and started to distance himself from the xenophobes.

      • denverco says:

        Plus Romanoff ran a terrible campaign. CD6 was his to lose this time and he did.

        • BlueCat says:

          I was really enthusiastic about Romanoff's campaign right up until I realized that, no, there were no better ads coming than the lame ones he started out with. Udall and Romanoff both could have won and both threw it away, all the while ignoring the alarm expressed by their Colorado boots on the ground volunteers, not to mention poll after poll showing their campaigns losing them support instead of gaining it. 

          I don't know about anyone else but I never want to see Romanoff running for anything again and will not waste my time volunteering or my money writing the smallest check if he does. Nice guy. Clueless loser outside of a 100% safe district. Since I don't live in one I don't want to see him running in mine again.

    • BlueCat says:

      Mama, you're giving the voting public way too much credit for paying attention to the stuff that looms large with us, how long their attention span/memory is as well as to the number who have the slightest idea what newspapers, especially small locals, say about anything. Remind me…. how much of an effect did either the Obama remark or the Sentinel endorsement have on on last two elections? 

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