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.