Republicans In a Panic Over Morgan Carroll

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

News yesterday, first reported by the Denver Post, that Colorado Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll is considering a run for the congressional seat currently held by Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is spreading quickly–and judging by the reaction today from the National Republican Congressional Committee and its surrogates, she’s got their undivided attention. The mere prospect of a Carroll run in CD-6 elicited this shrill statement in response:

It’s clear that Morgan Carroll’s ultra-liberal reputation precedes her, and no amount of spin will convince 6th District voters otherwise.

NRCC Comment: “After years of championing far-left policies in the Colorado State Senate, it is clear Morgan Carroll’s ultra-liberal positions are out of step with the priorities of everyday Coloradans. From raising taxes on Colorado families to cheerleading Hickenlooper’s disastrous gun grab, Carroll has shown she is more interested in pushing her far-left ideology than helping Colorado families.” – NRCC Spokesman Zach Hunter

The great irony here–one of them, anyway–is how Mike Coffman was forced to dramatically reinvent his own political image following redistricting in 2011. Long a hard-right conservative in the mold of his immediate predecessor in CD-6 Tom Tancredo, Coffman’s continued survival in his highly competitive new district is largely attributable to his willingness to flip-flop on prior stands in order to present himself as a “moderate,” if not a full-on liberal Republican. Coffman’s 2014 opponent Andrew Romanoff foolishly positioned himself as a budget-balancing, quasi-conservative candidate instead of a principled Democrat–which allowed Coffman to run to Romanoff’s left on a variety of issues like immigration reform. Had it not been for Coffman’s audacious reinvention and Romanoff’s helpfully awful message, at the very least Coffman would not have trounced Romanoff by such a large margin last year.

And folks, that’s not going to work on Morgan Carroll. Coffman won’t be able to outflank Carroll on progressive issues, because Carroll won’t be afraid to run on those issues like Romanoff was. You can see the difference in the NRCC’s statement above, in which Carroll is portrayed as a–gasp–liberal! Thus ceding right from the start the ground Coffman exploited so well in 2014 against Romanoff.

It remains an open question whether a Carroll run in CD-6–which is not official yet of course–would induce Coffman to jump to the U.S. Senate race right away, or whether GOP strategists might conclude defending CD-6 is more important. Either way, the NRCC’s deep concern is evident in their bellicose response to just the notion of Carroll getting into this race.

Bottom line: they should be concerned.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    BULLSHIT, Pols. Haven't you heard? Democrats have to act like Republicans to get elected now. Balance the budget, coddle the frackholes, etc. Romanoff knew better and that's why he won the election last year.

    Didn't he? Anyway, the DLC says so.


  2. notaskinnycook says:

    Romanoff is a policy wonk. Carroll is a politician, in the best sense of the word. You're right, they are scared. House is probably wetting himself over the idea that Coffman's got a real challenge on his hands. I was reminded last night of how close Joe  Who winkcame to taking him out. I think Carroll just might be able to do it. 

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    This may be just what House needs to motivate Coffman to run against Bennet.

    But the GOP problem then becomes: who to run in CD 6? Is Ryan Frazier still around? Any member of the House of Tauer? Did Debbie Stafford revert to being a Republican again?

  4. ajb says:

    "Hickenlooper’s disastrous gun grab,"? Seriously?

    Apparently nobody in the NRCC-DC bubble is aware that there is a certain trial going on in Aurora right now. They might want to re-think their message.

  5. Hey everyone! I hope you're all well! I try to read from time to time – nice to see some regulars still here contributing. Wanted to give my 2 cents on this article – 

    1. I adore Morgan Carroll. We are incredibly lucky to have her. She is intelligent, tough and full of convictions. I've loved her since I was a Republican and I can't imagine a better person going to Congress. 

    2. Coffman is not an easy win, by any means. The guy has shaken about every hand you can find in CD6 and he's mostly well-liked. He's also not a liar (as many high-profile Republicans in Colorado are). Not saying he's a good legislator, just saying, overall, he's not a bad guy. I think Carroll should take this on, but she should only do it from the perspective of enhancing her profile. In other words…. run a tough campaign, but don't go negative. Going negative will turn off many voters in CD6, I'm not convinced it'll be a winning strategy, and it'll also diminish Carroll's chances at another office. Carroll can't run this campaign thinking its a guaranteed victory – which is why, win or lose, she needs to have a good showing, so it positions her to run again for CD6, run for AG or run for US Senate. Lastly, Carroll should jump in because I'm pretty sure Coffman will run for US Senate, giving Carroll a nice headstart over all others. 

    3. If Coffman doesn't run for Senate…. Carroll should run a campaign based on the idea that she's a fresh face and new voice for Congress – simple as that. 

    4. Lastly…. why all the Romanoff hate? I about single-handedly credit Romanoff as the primary reason for why I wasn't able to defeat Christine Scanlan. In the waning months of that HD56 election in 2008 (7 years ago – yikes!) Romanoff was making almost daily appearances throughout HD56, continually commanding local press and staunchly advocating for Scanlan's good work as a legislator. I was a little handcuffed against Scanlan because she was a good legislator, so I had to run on the basis of being someone who could be more energetic and accessible in listening to the public – Romanoff was a campaign surrogate who foiled that plan pretty well, because if the Speaker of the Colorado House was going to advocate for a candidate, how could you not vote for that person? Overall, I'm just saying that I came to be quite impressed with Romanoff and I'm surprised by the amount of blowback he gets around here. He was beneficial to the Democratic Party in Colorado and a great role model for how other Democrats should rally around their candidates. 

    I love you all (especially Morgan Carroll!) – with love and peace – Miguel Ali


    • BlueCat says:

      It's not Romanoff hate. Just recognition that he's a disaster as a candidate in any competitive situation. His primary campaign against Bennet was pretty ridiculous and obviously motivated by personal pique and hard feelings about not get the appointment in the first place. His run against Coffman was as clueless as described here.  

      Romanoff did a much better job of getting other people elected in anther time and political atmosphere and with plenty of PAC money. He just seems lost in the new landscape and has demonstrated no skill at getting himself elected in the here and now. He's tried going left unconvincingly against Bennet and then me too right against Coffman, puzzling and disappointing his supporters. We don't hate him. We just know we aren't going to win with him and kind of resent his blowing a pretty good chance for us in 2014. 

      And does Coffman really need to be pushed to run for Senate? Maybe he wants to and his party wants him to. Bennet looks weaker every day. I do really like Carroll's chances with no incumbent but seriously doubt she can oust Coffman if he wants to stay where he is. Maybe that's why they're freaking out. Because they want to run Coffman against Bennet and don't want to face Carroll without him in CD6

    • Canines says:

      Hello MA:

      How're things in Celluloidville?

      Nice to see an old name back on this site.



    • Duke Cox says:

      Hey, Miguel ..good to hear from you. Hope all is well with your family…

      • Thanks for the kind words friends – always makes me feel like I have family here on the board 🙂

        Life is good – working hard to establish my film company and a few other activities. I love being in California and my baby boy (and wife) are both doing great! Thank you 🙂

    • notaskinnycook says:

      I love Andrew, but like I said, he’s a wonk not a politician, and he’s definitely not a scrappy candidate. Coffman is and he’s not above fighting dirty. That gets a lot of press and this is one of those times when there’s no such thing as bad publicity. It’s all name recognition, and I think Coffman plays that game better.

  6. yameniye says:

    Carroll has done more for the active duty, retirees and veterans than Coffman can even dream about. The only time Coffman has been involved with the VA medical center is during the blasts about the costs, before that you could not find him around the place.  If Morgan does run for CD6 you can expect to see Coffman chained to the sign post, bleeding and crying about how he single handed made the building.

    She holds town hall meetings, she talks to all her constituents.  Coffman is scared of anyone in the district. 

    I want to see her run and beat him, soundly beat him.

  7. Craig says:

    I just think that there is nothing but emotion in this thread.  Morgan Carroll was the Senate President, but what policy accomplishments can anyone remember?  She's a good candidate too.  However, Mike Coffman ain't no slouch.  He has represented a big part of this district for at least 20 years in one capacity or another.  As for the press release, is this what you guys really call "panic?"  Come on.  This is a standard fill-in-the-blank press release that the Republicans put out in any district in Colorado except maybe Joel Hefley's.  If that's panic, I'll eat my hat.  She's a liberal, well what Democrat and for that matter RINO isn't?  Should Carroll run a "positive" campaign.  Not on your life.  If she wants to win, she needs to get in the dirt and muddy Coffman up.  The ads are easy.  But, they can't mainly be about abortion.  How about the disaster of the VA Hospital while Coffman himself sat on the over-sight committee?  That place is nothing but a boon-doogle for Coffman's contractor friends.  And, it's hurting Veterans.  In addition, what a waste of money.  Coffman, the champion of the pocketbook.  Just ridiculous.  Finally, I'm starting to agree with the theory that Democrats need to play more to their base than be "Republican-lite."  The quote above about Coffman's mastery of retail politics, especially in Aurora, is true.  Tough race.  She could win in a perfect storm.  Advantage Coffman.

  8. itlduso says:

    1) I got an email from Coffman citing Nancy Pelosi's new BFF Morgan Carroll within minutes of this story being posted.  That hasn't happened with any other potential candidate for CD6 this cycle.  That shows you how formidable the GOP thinks Morgan is.

    2) Romanoff had a skin about as thick as an onion.  Morgan, OTOH, has always been super friendly and helpful in each of my encounters.

    3) Coffman's role in the VA fiasco as described by Pols will be a big anchor whether he stays or goes on to a Senate race.  BTW – I think Michael Bennet has done a great job and has earned the respect of Coloradans of most stripes.  He will surprise many on this blog.

    4) Just monitoring Morgan's Facebook page and the issues she cares about tells me that she will be super attractive to the Obama coalition.  Combine that with whatever excitement Hillary generates and we could have a replay of the 2008 good old days.

    Fired Up!  Ready to Go!!

    • BlueCat says:

      Completely agree. In a Coffman/Carroll match up I wouldn't be betting any serious money on Carroll. Best case scenario? Coffman runs for Senate (not because he's so scared of Carroll but because he and the party think he has a very good chance and wouldn't holding both Senate seats be a coup for the party?) leaving the CD6 seat open and giving Carroll a much better shot. She wins. Then Coffman loses a close one to Bennet and we all live happily ever after. Night night, kids.

      • BlueCat says:

        Oops. Didn't even see itlduso's and thought I hit reply to Craig. It's Craig I totally agree with.blush

        • bullshit! says:

          That's too bad, because itlduso is right and Craig is his usual cynical self.

          "Always look on the bright side of life…"


          • BlueCat says:

            If you read my comment it's obviously in line with Craig's view. I don't see why Rs would be "in a panic" over Carroll against Coffman. I also don't see why Coffman would have to be scared into running against Bennet. It looks to me like his chances would be pretty good either way and it would be a real feather in any Colorado GOP Chair's cap to come out of 2016 having replaced two Dem Senators  with two R Senators in the space of two years. Worth going for against a far less than wildly popular Dem. Rs can afford to lose a CD here and there with their big majority in the House and probably feel they'd still have a chance of keeping CD6 even if they had to put up someone other than Coffman against Carroll.

            Just saying the whole thing, depending on all the moving parts, could work out well for us or for them. Just saying Carroll doesn't make anything a slam dunk even though I think she's a good choice. Don't think that's cynical. Just realistic. Pretty sure neither Carroll nor the Dem party see her as a slam dunk either. I'm not a fan of premature Happy Dancing, that's all.

    • Duke Cox says:

       I think Michael Bennet has done a great job

      really? Do tell.

  9. hawkeye says:

    The Republicans appear confident in maintaining their majority status in the US House in 2016.  However, they are vulnerable in the Senate, so a Coffman victory over Bennet is much more necessary and desirable than Coffman hanging onto CD-6.  Carroll will easily win CD-6 without Coffman, especially if she ups the ante and promises more governmental largess.



  10. itlduso says:

    Now, the most important thing that Morgan and Michael have to develop is a compelling message for the middle class.  By that I mean a message that will entice the middle class voter to expend ten minutes, spend two 48 cent stamps, fill in the line for Carroll and Bennet, and mail in their ballot.  

     I don't think it's telling me to get better educated.  FU.  I already have a job (like 95 per cent of us do)  — That's just insulting.   How about telling me you won't cut Social Security.  Or, how you will reduce student loan interest.  Or, cut my freakin taxes to at least as low as Mitt Romney's.  Fox News tells me that you will raise my taxes.  Are you going to raise my taxes?  Will you??

    Mail in ballots increased turnout, but not for the Dems.  You better give the middle class a simple agenda to vote for you, or you will go the way of the Udall and Romanoff birds.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      IMO, Michael . . . er, Sen. Bennett . . . would have a much easier time coming up with a "compelling message for the middle class" if he would occasionally, you know, stoop to doing something for the middle class?? Just sayin'.

    • BlueCat says:

      I also don't think it's telling me that abortion is pretty much the only issue on which Dems are better or that the first thing we need to do is require a balanced federal budget. Jumping on the HRC bandwagon about path to citizenship immigration reform, something Dems didn't want to touch with a ten foot pole in 2014, would be a good start to bring out our Hispanic voters in CD6 and across the state. Denying the non-white vote to Republican candidates works in presidential years. 

  11. mamajama55 says:

    60% of Republicans won't vote for Jebby? Ms. Neville likes that idea.

    Source:  the superPAC, "GameChangerPAC". )  They claim that they're getting unfair "pushback" on their super-scientific polling.  No actual poll data was available. Asking three friends at a bar is kind of like polling 2,700 likely Republican voters, give or take 2,697 people. 


    Also, for a chuckle, check out the charge that Kamala Harris is running a "rouge police force". I could see where that might be appropriate protective coloration in certain sections of San Francisco….but I'd really like to see the group picture. 

    • mamajama55 says:

      Oops. Meant to post the Neville / Bush "poll" on the open thread. Oh well. As far as Morgan Carroll vs. Coffman, she'd be formidable, but would have to fight dirty, that is, tell the truth about Coffman's supposed support for veterans while he undermines veterans benefits and hospital care. She also couldn't be a single issue candidate – Aurora is a complex place, which she knows very well, but Coffman does not.

      I think her chances are good, if she stays in touch with people on the ground and doesn't become overly reliant on whiz kid out of town poli-sci interns to run her campaign.

    • BlueCat says:

      Whether the poll is valid or bogus, what people say and what they do are two different thing. Look at all the righties who were going to leave the country if Obama won, if ACA passed, etc. Still waiting for them to leave. If Bush is the nominee the usual number of Rs will turn out and vote for him.

  12. VicMeyers says:

    The worst think Morgan could do, if she decides to run, is to align herself too closely with Bennet. He has turned off far too much of the base. Add to that the fact that he was running the DSCC last year and is largely responsible for the horrible messaging during the '14 election. Put these things together and Bennet becomes more of an anchor than anything else.

  13. Duke Cox says:

    Yep..l agree completely, VicMeyers.

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