The Crowmentum is Real in CO-6

Rep. Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow

Okay, we did it.

We adjusted “The Big Line” to move Democrat Jason Crow ahead of Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CO-6.

We’ve resisted making this move for a long time because we’ve been burned before by Coffman. At various points over the last decade we’ve thought that Coffman was in real trouble of losing re-election, only to see him miraculously emerge victorious in November. We weren’t looking to make that mistake again, and we’ve said as much in this space on multiple occasions since the 2016 election.

So what changed? Quite simply, it is impossible to ignore the many signs that Crow has gained the upper hand in this race. Crow isn’t just inching ahead of Coffman — he’s blasting forward in a district that Hillary Clinton carried by 9 points in 2016. Crow is the Road Runner to Coffman’s Wile E. Coyote, and the finish line is in sight.

We noted earlier this week that Crow was polling with an 11-point lead over Coffman in a survey conducted for the New York Times, the second public poll of 2018 to show Crow with a significant lead. Coffman has never trailed his Democratic opponent in any public poll since first winning election in CO-6 in 2008, and now it’s happened twice in the last six months. The prognosticators at 538.com now consider CO-6 to be a “Likely Dem” seat. Not just “Leaning Democrat,” but “Likely Dem!” To anyone who has paid any attention to Colorado politics in the last decade, this prediction is astounding.

From 538.com

 

Crow isn’t just winning in public polling (and in completely unscientific Colorado Pols surveys) — he’s been beating Coffman in fundraising, too. Things look so good for Crow, in fact, that Republican leaders are reportedly looking at CO-6 as a lost cause. From Talking Points Memo:

There are almost a dozen open GOP-held House seats that Republicans are essentially admitting with their spending decisions they can’t win, getting Democrats roughly half way to the 23 seats they need to retake House control.

And some recent House polling backs up the theory that suburban Republicans are in for an absolute bloodbath on election day.

Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN) have trailed badly in recent public polls, numbers that track internal surveys. GOP strategists privately concede that they’re unlikely to be able to bounce back in their Democratic-leaning districts, [Pls emphasis] joining Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Rod Blum (R-IA) as incumbent Republicans that face daunting odds at returning to Congress. And they say the fact that the two battle-tested veterans appear cooked is a very bad sign for the map as a whole.

“When you have the guys who are doing everything right in trouble, that’s a really bad sign,” said one House Republican strategist.

We wouldn’t say that Coffman is “doing everything right,” but it’s true that the incumbent Republican hasn’t made many high-profile mistakes. The difference in 2018 is twofold:

  1. Voters are really unhappy with President Trump and aren’t looking favorably on Republicans like Coffman who have supported the Big Orange Guy;
  2. Crow’s background is different than other candidates that have challenged Coffman in the past.

Democrat Jason Crow and family

Coffman supporters don’t know how to respond to this changing political landscape and have struggled to inflict damage on Crow. It’s easy to point to Crow’s military background as being the key counterbalance to Coffman’s “I’m a Marine!” persona, but there’s a more important image at play here: Crow’s family. The newly-divorced Coffman has never run against a Democrat with a young, photogenic family; this unspoken distinction is an advantage that Coffman simply cannot match.

The fight for CO-6 has been one of the top Congressional battles in the country for several election cycles; this year more than $1 million is being spent on television ads every week. There is still time for Coffman to catch up to Crow before mail ballots start to arrive in a few weeks, but the clock is ticking ever louder.

The Crowmentum is growing.

Coffman’s Objections To His 96% Pro-Trump Voting Score Don’t Add Up

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) is hopping mad about a political advertisement, produced by House Democrats, claiming that Coffman has voted with Trump 96 percent of the time.

The 96-percent figure was calculated by nonpartisan statistician and journalist Nate Silver, on his FiveThirtyEight website. Silver tallied congressional votes on all legislation on which the “Trump Administration has taken a public position.”

The 96-percent-pro-Trump score is the “bogus” work of an “East Coast blogger,” said Coffman in a news release, citing 15 votes that shouldn’t be counted as pro-Trump votes because they were passed with bipartisan support, even though Coffman voted as Trump wanted him to.

But even if you toss out all 15 votes, which indeed had the support of anti-Trump Democrats, you still find that Coffman voted with Trump 95 percent of the time.

Here’s the math.

Silver identified a total of 90 votes that Trump either supported or opposed. That’s all the votes Trump took a stance on. Coffman went against Trump’s wishes on only four votes of the 90 taken.

In his news release, Coffman lists 15 of his 90 votes that shouldn’t be counted as pro-Trump votes, because they were heavily bipartisan. (See the list of these votes cited by Coffman below.)

If you throw those 15 votes out, Coffman would have voted against trump on only four of 75 votes.

That’s 95 percent of the time.

The Democrats’ advertisement quotes Coffman as saying:

“If Donald Trump is the president, I’ll stand up to him, plain and simple. Instead, Coffman voted with Trrump, more than any other Colorado member of Congress, 96 percent…Mike Coffman didn’t stand up to Trump, plain and simple.”

If Coffman wants to show that he stood up to Trump more often, he needs to find more instances when he voted against the president. Anti-Trump members of Congress, who voted with Trump on bipartisan measures, had low pro-Trump voting scores, because they voted against Trump so often.

Via email, I asked Coffman’s spokesperson, Tyler Sandberg, if he could cite more than four anti-Trump votes by Coffman, and he didn’t respond or offer any comment, as requested.

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FACT CHECK: Coffman Says He Differs With Trump On Healthcare But He Actually Favors “Straight Repeal” of Obamacare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora told a reporter Monday that Coffman broke away from Trump on healthcare.

That should sound familiar, if you’ve been following Coffman, because he’s been saying it early and often since last year.

In fact, it’s only partially true. Coffman supports what’s essentially a Trump proposal to repeal Obamacare now–but implement the repeal at an unspecified later date.  In other words, Congress would pass legislation now with a deadline/date for repealing the law sometime in the future.

After the U.S. Senate’s dramatic failure to kill Obamacare, Coffman told a Denver TV station he’d have backed a bill to do away with the national health care law–a move that would likely have pushed millions off the health insurance rolls.

Asked by 9News’ Marshall Zelinger last year (at 1:30 here) if he’d support a “straight repeal” of Obamacare, Coffman said yes.

Zelinger: “What about a straight repeal?”

Coffman: “If you said, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to repeal,’ and the date certain for the repeal was long enough out, where it wouldn’t disrupt the markets, and it gave Congress adequate time, I think that would be appropriate.”

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Jason Crow’s Big Lead Kicks Off The Week’s News

We wrote last week about a poll underway in Colorado’s red-hot CD-6 race by the New York Times and Siena College, which showed Democratic candidate Jason Crow opening a double-digit lead over incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. This poll was especially interesting because the results were released in real time–and after the early results excited Democrats, we’ve all been waiting to see if the results would change before the end.

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports, those results held steady:

Colorado Democrats are starting to believe this could be the year they finally flip Colorado’s most competitive congressional seat.

A New York Times poll of the 6th Congressional District completed Friday put Democratic challenger Jason Crow 11 points ahead of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.

Crow’s 51-40 lead was outside the poll’s margin of error, but it also showed 9 percent of the people who responded haven’t made up their minds or wouldn’t say how they plan to vote.

Years of disappointment in this district have left Democrats extremely wary of signs that Coffman might actually be about to lose his seat. Coffman defeated highly qualified and base-beloved challengers in 2014 and 2016, and the 2018 nominee Jason Crow has worked very hard to convince the party faithful that he has a viable shot.

Given that Coffman was never once caught behind his Democratic opponent in a publicly-released poll before this year, these results are nothing short of electrifying for longsuffering Democrats. The mounting backlash against President Donald Trump is set to be felt first by Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party, and Coffman has been less successful triangulating off the party brand since Trump’s election than ever before. The delicate political balance that Coffman has managed since redistricting has been unbalanced by Trump, and the split tickets that kept Coffman in office while Democrats won the district in every race above CD-6 may finally be set to, as they say, “come home.”

For Democrats in 2018, hope springs eternal.

Brian Watson, GOP Treasurer candidate: “Teachers just collect government checks.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Brian Watson, candidate for Treasurer of Colorado, is kind of a jerk. He demonstrated that recently in a Club 20 debate with his Democratic opponent, Dave Young,  captured on video by Colorado Education Association. Dave called out Brian Watson for owing nearly a million dollars in unpaid taxes and loans for seven years: “How can you manage our state’s finances if you cannot manage your own?,” Dave Young asked.

Watson replied, ” I’m so glad you asked that question. Because while you were a junior high math teacher, collecting a check from the government, which you have done your entire career, <snip>, we job creators were on the front line.”

Watson is a “job creator”? He’s a real estate developer, and pledges that he won’t take a salary if elected to the Legislature. (Hint: he plans to moonlight at Northstar Commercial Partners, the company he founded, which owns buildings all over Colorado. Watson doesn’t need a treasurer’s $68K a year salary )

Watson, like Trump, loves debt, and spins his deadbeat history as a net positive:

I’ve restructured complex debt….I’m battle – tested

But since Watson has a history of unpaid taxes and liens, Watson has been a net drain on the economy. He finally paid off his business debts right before the Republican primary in 2012. The contractors who had to wait for payment, or had to write off debts, were probably unimpressed by Watson’s “battle testing”.

Can you say, “Conflict of interest”?

As Treasurer, Watson would be making decisions and helping to make policy that would directly impact his company’s bottom line. For example, included in Northstar’s portfolio of buildings are several renting to charter schools in Colorado. As Treasurer, Watson’s business stands to profit by renting to charter schools, which are generally taxpayer-supported public schools, while he continues to work at his real estate investment company – just like the current Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, who continued to collect a $150,000 salary consulting  at Sonomawest , / Stapleton Acquisitions), all while “moonlighting” as Colorado’s Treasurer.

At least, if elected, Watson could take a lunch break at one of the buildings his company owns near the Capitol.

For a longer , higher quality video of the two Treasurer candidates debating, see the Aaron Harber show, Parts 1 and 2.   I’ve highlighted their statements about PERA below.

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NYT Live Poll: Crow Crushing Coffman

An interesting new polling method being tried out by the New York Times and Siena College is tracking results of a survey of Colorado’s CD-6 in real time–and the results they’re showing as of now are not good news for Rep. Mike Coffman:

Now before Democrats get too excited, here’s the deal:

Most experts consider this race a tossup. Neither side needs to win any particular tossup to win control, but the party that wins the most will probably take the House. Our poll is a good result for Democrats so far.

But remember: It’s just one poll, and we’ve talked to only 387 people. Each candidate’s total could easily be six points different if we polled everyone in the district. And having a small sample is only one possible source of error.

We’ll be watching this real-time publication of polls results very closely going forward to see if this number changes, but for a few reasons seeing Democratic candidate Jason Crow out ahead of Coffman by eleven points is less of a surprise than you might think: that figure is close to the margin of victory in 2016 for both Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in this district. Trailing in a public poll is also new for Coffman; prior to this year, Coffman had never been behind in any publicly-available polling results.

As we’ve explored thoroughly in this space over a period of years, Coffman’s legendary ability to split tickets that otherwise go Democratic is what has kept him in office since almost losing the seat to an underfunded challenger in 2012. But if two years of co-branding with Trump have ruined Coffman’s ability to triangulate off his own party, it’s quite possible that he’s finished. In that event, this margin of victory would not only be reasonable, but in line with recent Democratic performance in CD-6.

Who Will Win in CO-6: Coffman or Crow?

Rep. Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow

We’ve asked you, our wise readers, to weigh in on the outcome of the race for Governor, and we’ve asked for your opinions on the other top statewide races in 2018. Now it’s time to get Congressional.

As always, we want to know who you think will be the winner in November, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of various races are changing (or not) as Election Day nears.

Who will win the U.S. House race in CO-6? Will Republican Rep. Mike Coffman hold off another challenger, or will Democrat Jason Crow emerge victorious?

Who Will Win the Race in CO-6?
Mike Coffman
Jason Crow
View Result

Coffman Campaign Telegraphs Trump Fears

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)

If you’ve been alive this week, you are surely aware that Donald Trump’s Presidency is imploding from within while the Big Orange Guy storms around the White House looking for traitors to his one-man cause.

Trump’s approval ratings were in the toilet well before this dumpster fire of a week, and as Paul Waldman writes for the Washington Post, that could mean serious trouble for Republican candidates around the country:

With only two months remaining before the midterm elections, it’s difficult to imagine something will happen to turn his fortunes around. Unemployment is about as low as it can go. Republicans in Congress have stopped trying to do any ambitious legislating (if they can keep themselves from forcing another government shutdown, it will be a victory). And while it is theoretically possible Trump could engineer some kind of resounding foreign-policy triumph during the next few weeks, it seems rather unlikely.

Which would mean that between now and November, this is about as good as it’s going to get. As pollster Gary Langer pointed out, Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president heading into his first midterm election (the polling data go back to 1954). But what is most striking is the intensity of feeling he produces in his opponents. In the latest Post poll, 53 percent of respondents disapprove of him strongly, while only 7 percent disapproved of him somewhat. If you don’t like Trump, you really don’t like Trump.

Democrats hope it means the people who really don’t like him will stampede to the polls in November to register their discontent by voting out any and all Republicans — and they might. [Pols emphasis] As Harry Enten of CNN argues, “For Republicans to have a realistic (i.e., within the margin of error) shot of maintaining control of the House in 2018, Trump’s approval rating must remain at least in the low 40s nationally.”

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is exactly the kind of Republican incumbent that should be very worried about Trump’s impact on his re-election. On Friday, Coffman’s campaign telegraphed their Trump fears by promoting this out-of-nowhere statement from former Independent Presidential candidate Evan McMullin:

The key part of the statement is at the beginning of the second paragraph:

[Coffman] is now under attack by super PACs trying to mislead members of Colorado’s 6th district by casting him as a yes-man for President Trump, but Mike is nothing of the sort. He is an independent-minded leader who has remained committed to American values, his constitutional duties in Congress and serving his district, even when it puts him at odds with the president and his own party.

The problem with this statement is FACTS. 

In July 2016 Coffman made national news after running a television ad in which he promised to “stand up to Trump” if the Republican nominee made it through the General Election. It didn’t take long for Coffman to shift his position; Coffman votes with Trump an astounding 95.6% of the time:

538.com’s “Trump Tracker”

Democrat Jason Crow is giving Coffman the toughest re-election fight in his 30 years as an elected official, and Coffman’s coziness with Trump is giving Crow and his allies plenty of fodder for television ads; this spot from the League of Conservation Voters is probably the ad that McMullin references in his statement.

Voters in CO-6 likely don’t give two shits about what Evan McMullin thinks about Coffman, but the fact that Coffman’s team is trying so hard to promote this tells you everything you need to know about their fears in November.

Mike Coffman: Nothing Left But Triangulation?

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

We are obliged to take note of a story from late last week with some import on Colorado’s perennially most competitive congressional race, for incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s swing CD-6 seat–as CBS4 Denver reports, the powerful Koch brothers have omitted Coffman from their list of candidates they and their wealthy “liberservative” friends will be lavishing money on, at least to kick off the 2018 election cycle:

The political network created by the billionaire Koch brothers announced plans to support eight House Republicans on Thursday, pledging financial resources and activists to help re-elect several vulnerable congressmen deemed “principled” conservatives.

The first wave of endorsements includes a handful of sometime-critics of President Donald Trump, particularly on immigration and spending…

Absent from the list are some of the nation’s most vulnerable House Republicans including Reps. Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Mike Coffman of Colorado in addition to any Republicans from top House battleground states such as California, New Jersey or New York.

In 2016, Americans For Prosperity-Colorado played an outsize role in helping Coffman retain his seat against former Sen. Morgan Carroll. The organization, which has a deep-pocketed presence in the state and frequently exchanges staff with “hard side” Republican entities like the GOP-controlled Colorado Senate, ran voter contact campaigns in the district with a negative message against Carroll, and has run ads in support of Coffman both in and out of the election cycle for years.

It’s therefore a very significant development that AFP has decided to sit out at least the start of 2018 in CD-6, depriving Coffman of an important asset that he’s taken for granted in the past. In response to this announcement, Coffman is doing something we’ve seen countless times in his career, as we briefly noted Friday:

“We differed recently on an issue. It was important to them, they wanted a ‘no’ vote on the farm bill. Let me tell you: I was with them last time — I voted ‘no.’ But I voted ‘yes’ this time.”

Triangulation 101.

We’ve written many times in this space about the political strategy of “triangulation,” in which a candidate running in a difficult race either criticizes or welcomes criticism from his traditional political allies in order to gain advantage with swingable voters. On specific issues like immigration, but increasingly in general as Coffman has faced the unprecedented division caused by the current Republican president, Coffman has put himself rhetorically at odds with Trump and the GOP leadership in his chamber of Congress.

With that in mind, and while we’re sure Coffman would have been happy to have this organization’s help, he knew exactly where to go with this snub by the Koch brothers. It’s not the best outcome, but the fallback of playing off the Koch brothers brand politically doesn’t look bad to Coffman and his campaign team. It was an easy, almost reflex choice at this point. The reason is simple: it works. This ability to be all things, not to all people but to enough people for a majority coalition, is how Coffman wins in a district that Democrats carry in other races easily.

Coffman’s ability to triangulate off his own party and split Democratic tickets in CD-6 is arguably the greatest frustration for Democratic strategists in Colorado since their takeover of the state between the 2004-06 elections. It’s a close contest between Coffman and the stinging defeat of Sen. Cory Gardner’s 2014 election, but Coffman’s ability to survive repeated challenges since redistricting in 2011 took away Tom Tancredo’s impregnable conservative base is more vexing in the long run. Coffman’s thoughtful and highly qualified challengers in 2014 and 2016, though they ran disappointing campaigns in the end, both represented high hopes–hopes that Coffman dashed, and then made a mockery of with a voting record since 2016 95.6% in line with Donald Trump’s wishes.

In 2016, we said that if Coffman could not be defeated that year, Democrats should probably stop trying. He won again easily. But the historic political upheaval that has followed under President Trump, certainly compared to what the political climate would be today had Trump lost, alters the equation. Today, even after shifts in special election results that would swamp Coffman’s margins of victory, we are still not ready to write Coffman’s epitaph.

But it is possible that Mike Coffman has triangulated himself into a corner–and 2018 is the year it ends.

Jason Crow’s First Ad Shows Why this CD-6 Race is Different

Democrat Jason Crow released his first General Election ad today in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) in CO-6. Take a gander:

Now, let’s go back in time to August 4, 2014 and the first General Election television ad from Democratic candidate Andrew Romanoff, which featured the former Colorado Speaker of the House walking in an empty field and talking to the camera about balancing budgets. This was Romanoff’s introductory TV spot in his bid to unseat Coffman:

One of these ads strikes an emotional cord and sets up a strong narrative for the campaign entering the final months of the election; the other ad superimposes graphs on the screen.

Romanoff didn’t lose to Coffman in 2014 because of this ad, just as Crow isn’t going to win or lose in 2018 because of his first TV spot. But the stark difference in tone and emotion here demonstrates why Crow continues to gain momentum in his bid for Congress.

Crow’s background as an Army Ranger counteracts Coffman’s own military history, which he has long used as a bludgeon to clear a path on any important issue. This is certainly a problem for Coffman, but what should really worry the incumbent Republican and his campaign are the images of Crow with his family. Crow is a former Army Ranger from a working class background with a telegenic young family. Coffman is a former Marine who has been in elected office for 30 years, and his signature image revolves around a strange obsession with doing push-ups in public.

Coffman has demonstrated a remarkable resilience in multiple high-profile campaigns, from statewide office to Congress, but 2018 looks to be the toughest re-election fight in his long career. This 30-second ad from his Democratic opponent is the reason why.

Mike Coffman Argues for “Zero Tolerance” on Immigration

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) changes his position on immigration reform about as often as most people change their underwear.

Back in June, amid the fervor surrounding the Trump administration’s decision to forcibly remove immigrant children from their parents, Coffman issued this statement in opposition to Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. The final words of Coffman’s statement were unambiguous:

My colleagues should mark their words and this moment — history won’t remember well those who support the continuation of this policy.

Coffman’s words got him mentioned in a number of national news stories related to immigration reform, which was exactly the point. Maybe Coffman actually believed those words at the time, or maybe it was all bullshit. Either way, Coffman apparently thinks differently now — a mere two months (to the day) from his zero tolerance on zero tolerance statement. As David Weigel and Mike DeBonis report for the Washington Post:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), who has cast himself as a moderate on immigration policy, told voters last week the president “probably has a more generous plan for DACA than I would [propose]” and it might be time to “transition to zero tolerance” when it came to overall immigration policy.

Yes, you are reading this correctly. The same guy who said in late June that “history won’t remember well those who support the continuation” of a “zero tolerance” immigration policy is now saying that it might be time to “transition to zero tolerance” immigration policy. One is black, the other is white. Or vice-versa.

As the Washington Post helpfully points out, this isn’t the first time that Coffman has suggested a “zero tolerance” immigration policy; Coffman argued in favor of the idea in an Op-Ed he penned in January 2017. But the timing of this flip-flop-flip is odd considering that Coffman just started airing two television ads focused on how much he loves the various immigrant communities in his home district.

So how, exactly, do you explain these two completely different policy positions? Like this, apparently:

“Mike Coffman has been a bipartisan leader on immigration reform, no matter how much Democratic operatives want to lie about and distort his record,” Coffman’s campaign manager Tyler Sandberg said. “Mike led the opposition to the Trump administration’s inhumane family separation policy, something that Trump ultimately backed down on. However, unlike many Democrats in D.C., Mike does not support open borders.”

Perhaps Team Coffman is confusing the words “bipartisan” and “bipolar,” like when basketball player Charles Shackleford confused “ambidextrous” with “amphibious.

Or perhaps Coffman’s staff are in need of a new word, kind of like when boxer Mike Tyson famously suggested that he would “fade into Bolivian” after he was done fighting.

If you wanted to be really kind, you could argue that Coffman is suffering from an acute case of “Analysis Paralysis,” but his immigration rhetoric changes so often — and so drastically — that you’d really have to squint to see this as anything other than Coffman just telling different audiences whatever he thinks they want to hear at any given moment.

Perhaps Mike Coffman himself really doesn’t know where Mike Coffman stands on the immigration issue. That’s a strange thought considering that Coffman is seeking to be elected to his sixth term in Congress; he’s debated this issue at length for at least a decade now.

Or…maybe Mike Coffman doesn’t actually possess a firm opinion on immigration policy. Maybe he’s simply unwilling and/or unable to pick a side and stay there.

Whatever the answer, the bottom line is the same: Mike Coffman probably shouldn’t be in Congress anymore.

Military Hero Calls Out Trump–Where Is Mike Coffman?

Rep. Mike Coffman. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Vox reports on the angry response unfolding to the decision by President Donald Trump to strip former CIA Director John Brennan of his security clearance, anger that shows no signs of slowing:

The man who led the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 has a message for President Donald Trump: Revoke my security clearance, too.

Retired Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, who led US Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, wrote a short, but blistering op-ed for the Washington Post on Thursday afternoon, challenging the president on his decision to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan.

In the statement, he praised Brennan’s service to America, and his “unparalleled integrity.”

McRaven continued, writing, “I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.”

As we reported yesterday, Republicans in the U.S. Senate have generally knuckled under to the President over this action. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado defended Trump by saying that Brennan’s criticism of the President was what was “disgraceful,” not Trump’s retaliation against Brennan. The blowback like you see above would seem to make Gardner’s dismissal a big mistake.

Gardner’s deference to Trump on this highly controversial matter could become even more toxic if, as is being reported today, the President is about to proceed with more revocations of security clearances of critics of his administration. Trump is reportedly considering stripping former assistance AG Bruce Ohr of his clearance, and Sean Hannity is hitting the airwaves making the case for Trump to do the same to former NSA Director James Clapper.

And if Gardner won’t speak up about what’s happening, will Rep. Mike Coffman? Coffman has sided with Brennan in some of the public opinion battles over Trump’s policies, but he has also made bizarre statements about “investigating the FBI” when asked about the Russia investigation and the case against Trump. We haven’t seen any public comment from Coffman about Trump going after security clearances, and given the number of fellow former military officers in particular weighing in it’s a question he should have already answered.

So…why hasn’t he?

Crowmentum!

The website 538.com is out with a new list of predictions for all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Take a look at what 538.com’s magic eight ball thinks of Colorado’s perennial battleground seat in CO-6, where incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is trying to fend off Democratic challenger Jason Crow:

From 538.com

Before we go any further with our analysis here, it’s important to understand the significance of this rating. As far as we can tell (and as far back as our tiny brains can recall), CO-6 has never been rated as anything more competitive than a pure Toss Up seat for Democrats. This would certainly be true prior to redistricting changes in 2012, since the old boundaries of the district (formerly represented by Republican Tom Tancredo) made the seat completely safe for the GOP.

In 2012, the General Election matchup between Coffman and Democrat Joe Miklosi was rated “Leaning Republican” by the New York Times.

In 2014, the race between Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff was labeled a “Toss Up” by prognosticators like the Cook Political Report and Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

In 2016, the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball considered CO-6 to be a “Toss Up,” while others like “Rothenberg & Gonzales” marked it down as “Tilt Republican.”

Rep. Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow

The pundits are diverging more in 2018, with Cook and Sabato calling CO-6 a “Toss Up,” and Inside Elections labeling the race “Tilt Republican.” It would be tempting to call the 538.com ranking more of an anomaly if not for several other numbers supporting a bullish outlook for Democrats in CO-6:

♦ Polling results in late February showed Crow with a hypothetical 44-39 lead over Coffman. As we noted at the time, this marked the first public poll showing anyone leading Coffman since he was first elected to Congress in 2008.

♦ Crow has been outperforming Coffman in recent fundraising reports with some eye-popping numbers. Crow raised more than $1 million in the last reported fundraising quarter — 95% of which came from individual donors. By comparison, Coffman raised a little more than $632,000 between April and June.

♦ According to the latest polling results measuring the “generic Congressional ballot,” Democrats have surged to a 52-41 lead over Republicans. Recent election results across the country bear this out; the results of a special Congressional election in Ohio last Tuesday are still too close to call in a district that the Republican candidate won by 36 points in 2016.

♦ Coffman’s full embrace of President Trump isn’t likely to sit well with voters in a district that Hillary Clinton actually carried comfortably in 2016.

Based on prior election victories, we still give Coffman a slight advantage in 2018 (after all, Coffman has been in elected office for 30 years now, so he’s doing something right). But we dare say that the “Crowmentum” appears to be very real indeed.

Birther Pat Boone Sings Birther Mike Coffman’s Praises

Mike Coffman.

The Charleston City Paper alerts us to a recent endorsement for Rep. Mike Coffman that we had somehow missed when it came out last month–the (highly) venerable crooner Pat Boone–though the manner in which they let us know is pretty amusing:

An entertainer who made his career singing Christian hymns, but is better known lately for stoking racial division, Pat Boone is apparently a man in high demand by Republican politicians looking to lock up support of conservative senior citizens.

And as the spokesman for the 60 Plus Association, he is apparently ready and willing to supply his endorsement to deserving Trump supporters these days. So ready, in fact, that he’s got a simple form to fill out that gives him all the English words he needs to signal his support.

“I’m still singing at concerts, but today I’m singing the praises of Katie Arrington. Seniors can depend on Katie Arrington,” an announcement read today in a Twitter post by Rep. Katie Arrington, who is running for Congress in the 1st District.

Pat Boone.

What does this have to do with Mike Coffman, you ask? Well, the City Paper directs us to a bunch of other people whom Pat Boone “sings the praises of”–

In a statement released by 60 Plus, Boone remarked, “I’m still singing at concerts, but today I’m singing the praises of Rep. Joe Wilson. Seniors can depend on Joe Wilson.” Boone and his wife, Shirley, reside in Beverly Hills, California.

In a statement released by 60 Plus, Boone remarked, “I’m still singing at concerts, but today I’m singing the praises of Larry Stutts. Seniors can depend on Larry Stutts.” Boone, 80, and his wife of 60 years, Shirley, reside in Beverly Hills, California.

“I’m still singing at concerts,” Boone remarked, “but today I’m singing the praises of Senator Richard Shelby.”

“I’m still singing at concerts, but today I am singing the praises of Charles Poindexter,” Boone said.

And yes:

In a statement released by 60 Plus, Boone remarked, “I’m still singing at concerts, but today I’m singing the praises of Rep. Coffman.” Boone and his wife, Shirley, reside in Beverly Hills, California. [Pols emphasis]

Please note that this release was posted in its entirety to Rep. Coffman’s congressional website. With that in mind, let’s count up the problems: first, the organization 60 Plus is well-documented as a right-wing “alternative” to the much better-known American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), set up to put a demographically appropriate face on standard fare conservative agenda items like privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Their endorsement actually hurts with seniors who are literate about these essential programs, and anyone younger who entertains the hope of functional Social Security and Medicare in their own retirement.

Second, there’s Pat Boone. In 2011, Boone declared that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was “a fraud,” following the lead of now-President Donald Trump and so many others back when the imagined controversy over Obama’s citizenship was nearing its second peak ahead of his re-election. Boone continued to champion “birther” conspiracy theories for years afterward, and to our knowledge has never retracted any of them. Rep. Mike Coffman, as our longtime readers know, had his own bout of “birther” verbal diarrhea when he declared in 2012 at a Republican fundraiser that President Obama “is just not an American.”

Coffman apologized for his statements after one of the more memorable involuntary press appearances in modern Colorado political history, and has tried for years now to live down this moment of unscripted ugly. It’s safe to say that Pat Boone’s endorsement does not help him do that, and after Coffman took ownership of Boone’s endorsement by posting it to his own website he should definitely have to explain again what he meant about Obama not being “an American.”

After all of that, yes! Google makes it a really stupid idea to use the same quote over and over. But in Mike Coffman’s case, the story getting to that moral is what’s more important.

Red Dawn: Grand Junction Billboard Notes Russian-Republican Connection

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As the clock struck midnight last Sunday, Grand Junction night owls saw red–literally. The digital billboard looming over Rimrock Marketplace now displays a massive crimson and yellow “GOP,” but with the “O” replaced by the Russian hammer & sickle icon used by the former Soviet Union.

Mesa County progressives purchased the billboard to call out the Republican Party’s refusal to challenge Trump’s apparent preference for Russian denials of election interference over the unanimous assessment of United States intelligence agencies.

Grand Junction resident Anne Landman, who paid for the billboard, says its purpose is to draw attention “Republicans’ alarming acceptance of President Trump cozying up to authoritarian dictators who disregard human rights.”

While musing about a billboard on her Facebook page, a friend shared a photo of the GOP Russia design. Landman reached out to the creator, MadDogPac of Odenton, Maryland and received permission to use the image free of charge. Mad Dog PAC was founded in December 2017 by Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer under President Clinton. The organization says it “solicits contributions from concerned citizens to fund billboards censuring Trump, the GOP and the NRA.”

The fine print on the board reads “Paid for by informed citizens of Mesa County and Mad Dog Pac.” Landman says the “informed citizens” aren’t an official group of any sort, but rather friends and like-minded Mesa County residents.

The Russian GOP billboard isn’t the only piece of Mad Dog’s artwork to appear in Colorado. Drivers in the Denver metro area may have seen a billboard reminding them that “Mike Coffman Took $30,843 in NRA Blood Money.”

The Grand Junction billboard isn’t targeted at a specific elected official, but rather focuses on the Russia-friendly attitude of the Republican Party. Furthermore, it reflects the sentiments of Mesa County progressives who are decidedly outnumbered, according to Landman.

Says Landman,

“Out here on the Western slope, liberals are in the minority. These days we are derided, criticized, called names like ‘libtard’ or ‘snowflake.’ But putting this billboard up, it’s lifted everybody’s spirits. It’s become a rallying point, energizing the left and giving people something to cheer for. For that alone it was worth the money.”

Landman paid for the first week herself and has since solicited donations via her Facebook page to extend the billboard rental beyond July 28. As of Tuesday evening, Landman says she has already collected more than the required $265 for a second week’s rental fee.

This article was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.