For those of you unfamiliar with the term “Bizarro World,” it is a reference to a planet in the Superman comics where everything is backwards (the planet is square, compared to the spherical earth, etc.)
The term seems to fit recent events in the race for Congress in CD-6. As Eli Stokols at Fox 31 reports:
In the increasingly tight race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, Congessman Mike Coffman is attacking his opponent for not attending a debate next week.
Joe Miklosi’s campaign says he never agreed to appear at the Oct. 1 debate sponsored by the North Metro Chamber of Commerce, but Coffman’s campaign has been under the impression that Miklosi was participating until the Chamber told them Thursday that he’d be a no-show.
There are plenty of different ways you can interpret this, but it is almost always the case that the incumbent candidate refuses to engage in debates — usually because the campaign is comfortably ahead and feels that they have nothing to gain. There have been rumblings that Democrat Joe Miklosi is right on the heels of incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (moreso even than the public polls have suggested), and Coffman’s public insistence that Miklosi attend this debate may prove the rumors.
It was Coffman, of course, who disappeared for much of August and September, rarely making public appearances for the same reasons we just discussed. Have the tables turned that much that now it is Coffman trying to pull Miklosi out?
Democrat Joe Miklosi is up on TV with his second ad of the cycle, and we were a bit surprised by the choice of message. Take a look:
Miklosi’s first ad was primarily an attack on incumbent Republican Mike Coffman. We didn’t think it was as strong as ads for Democrat Sal Pace, for example, but it probably accomplished what it set out to do.
We sort of assumed that Miklosi’s next ad would be about defining himself, particularly since recent polls show that his name recognition is very low (around 29%). But instead, his second ad is another all-out barrage against Coffman.
Perhaps the strategy here is to make Coffman seem so bad that voters choose Miklosi just because they don’t like Coffman. The danger of this approach is that Kathy Polhemus is running as an Independent and is spending some of her own money to campaign. Miklosi may induce an anti-Coffman vote, but if he doesn’t define himself, and soon, many of those “Not Coffman” votes may go to Polhemus instead.
Press release for Miklosi’s new ad after the jump.
Joe Miklosi Releases Second Television Ad
Today, the Joe Miklosi for Congress Campaign released their second television ad – entitled “Think” — featuring supporters talking about Mike Coffman’s Rush Limbaugh-style politics.
His extreme record includes voting for the plan to end Medicare, endorsing the radical personhood amendment that would outlaw many forms of birth control and ban abortions even in cases of rape and incest, and saying that our Commander-in-Chief is “not an American.”
The ad features real members of the community talking about the various extreme positions Mike Coffman has taken and statements that he has made during his time in Congress.
“Voters are taking a new look at Mike Coffman, and they don’t like what they see in his extreme record. They are fed up with his support for ending Medicare and banning abortions even in cases of rape and incest,” said Joe Miklosi for Congress Spokesman Ryan Hobart. “He is so out of touch that he even said the Commander-in-Chief is ‘not an American.’ Voters want a representative that sounds more like them and less like Rush Limbaugh.”
Democrat Joe Miklosi will put his first ad on television tomorrow, making him the last of the major congressional challengers in Colorado to make it to your living room (metaphorically, of course). This doesn’t mean anything necessarily — Miklosi may simply be choosing to go heavier later in the month than others.
We’re not as impressed with this ad as those of, say, Sal Pace, largely because Miklosi seems to be trying to fit too many message points into one 30-second piece. And this isn’t a knock on Miklosi but on all candidates who use this language — we’re sick of the “Bring Common Sense Colorado to Washington” message. It’s played out.
Democrat Joe Miklosi got off to a slow start last year in his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Coffman, but fundraising seems to have picked up (no doubt with an assist from Coffman’s continual birther comment problems).
According to a press release, Miklosi raised more than $335,000 in the last fundraising period. Full release after the jump.
Gaining momentum as the November election approaches, Joe Miklosi’s campaign raised more than $335,000 in contributions during the latest fundraising period, his best individual quarter so far.
The campaign has raised more than $800,000 to date and saw an unprecedented increase in small donor activity since Congressman Mike Coffman’s birther comments that exposed him an as extremist in the new moderate 6th Congressional District. There is no question this will be the most competitive seat in Colorado this November, and with his message of fighting for sensible solutions and standing up to special interests, Miklosi is well positioned to flip this seat.
“It’s wonderful that so many supporters came through for us,” said Joe Livoti, Miklosi’s Finance Director. “With this broad base of support that grows stronger every day, I’m confident we’ll have the resources needed to defeat Congressman Coffman and his extreme agenda that hurts the middle class.”
“I am inspired to have the active involvement of so many individuals in my campaign,” said Joe Miklosi. “I believe it’s because they fully understand we’re fighting for the future of our country, and working on commonsense solutions to grow the economy, create jobs, protect our seniors and stand up for working families of Colorado.””
The Colorado Statesman has some good gossip online about the 2014 Senate race (Sen. Mark Udall’s seat). There are a few particular items that we thought worthy of further analysis:
In no uncertain terms, state GOP boss Ryan Call wants to demolish the notion that he might be considering a run for Democrat Mark Udall’s U.S. Senate seat two years from now. That’s right: He’s not running, not even maybe.
We don’t think Ryan Call would be a particularly strong candidate for the GOP in 2014, but it’s interesting that his name came up enough to garner reporting from the Statesman. When you see or hear someone’s name being floated for a particular office, it’s almost always with at least implied consent from said person. This says a lot about Call’s future ambitions, but what really stands out is the relative weakness of the GOP bench; if Call’s name is being taken even slightly seriously, then Republicans have little hope of taking out Udall.
The Statesman writes that Rep. Mike Coffman’s name might be cooling off significantly as a 2014 Senate contender. As we have noted in this space many times, Coffman has been trying to put down his marker for the eventual Republican nomination for more than a year now. But if it’s not Coffman?
The most likely Republican candidate for Udall’s seat, top Republicans tell us, is a name familiar to friend and foe alike: former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, who gave up a congressional seat six years ago to launch what most agree was a stumbling campaign for governor, which he lost to one-termer Democrat Bill Ritter.
That’s right, Beauprez, a former state party chairman and nearly constant fixture at major state Republican events in recent months, is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate what would be eight years after his last race.
We’re more than a little surprised to hear the name Beauprez being mentioned with any shred of truth. We’re talking about a guy whose 2006 campaign for governor is on the short list of worst statewide campaigns in Colorado history.
We still think that Coffman will eventually be the Republican nominee unless he crashes spectacularly this November. But even if it isn’t Coffman, we’d be absolutely floored to see Beauprez emerge as the GOP favorite.
As 9News reports, a former Democrat named Kathy Polhemus apparently plans to run in CD-6 as an Independent candidate:
Kathy Polhemus, a retired non-profit executive who founded Dress for Success, intends to submit signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State Wednesday morning to secure a spot on the ballot.
State Representative Joe Miklosi is the Democrat in the race…
…Polhemus says she has been contacted by Miklosi supporters urging her not to enter the race.
“I don’t scare easy and I feel a call to service,” Polhemus said. Campaign finance filings indicate she has donated $37,000 to her own campaign. Polhemus told 9Wants To Know’s Kyle Clark that she is prepared to make an initial investment of $100,000 of her own money to get her candidacy off the ground.
There are a lot of pieces to this story that seem odd, chief among them the fact that a former non-profit executive would have $100,000 to donate to her own campaign. If Polhemus does make the ballot, she’ll do much more to help incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman than anything else she accomplishes. Democrat Joe Miklosi is facing an uphill battle to unseat Coffman, and an Independent peeling off potential votes only makes that more of a challenge.
As a Republican, I have voted for you before, thinking I was preserving fiscal conservatism. But I never will again. There were many reasons to dislike you before, such as your voter purges, anti-women and anti-gay voting record, and smarmy personality. But your behavior in Elbert County and since then surpasses all of them.
We are fortunate, in America, to have free speech as part of our Constitution. But your edifying use
of that right has come back to bite you, and rightfully so. Granted, you were busily pandering to teabaggers, and the man who recorded you apparently thought he was helping you.
What I see now is a small-minded, bigoted birther. I don’t see a brave Marine. I don’t see transparency. I don’t even see you, since you have
been in hiding for the past week, only sneaking off to private fundraisers. I see someone robotically repeating an obviously lawyer-mandated response to Kyle Clark’s questions. I see a weak apology that is clearly a CYA move. I see someone who isn’t sorry about what he said, but sorry that he got caught.
I REALLY don’t see a man who is fit to return to Congress as a representative of the people of Colorado. Many people rolled their eyes at Arizona’s Bennett desperately seeking a reason to keep the President off the ballot, but it can be generally acknowledged that Arizona’s leadership is apparently not mentally stable.
Colorado, however, despite pockets of intolerance, has a highly educated populace. You have demonstrated no knowledge of your new constituents, and your glib insult to the President by regurgitating right-wing birther nonsense shows your lack of suitability for Congress.
Intelligent voters are tired of the CO GOP. We were revolted by Frank McNulty’s civil union bill shenanigans, and Don Coram choosing to shill for votes rather than support his own son. We were disgusted by SM-003, Colorado’s very own version of the Blunt Amendment. We were repulsed by Chris Holbert’s attempt to attach an anti-abortion measure to the budget, and his subsequent childish refusal to sign it. We laughed at the very poor turnout for Ted Harvey’s little religious freedom gathering or whatever it was, on the day of the well-attended Planned Parenthood rally.
And now, you are the latest face of GOP intolerance and ignorance in Colorado. I’m sure that you, and everyone except Don Coram, are hoping that all will be forgotten by election time. I can assure you that it will not. We are embarrassed by Colorado Republicans, and it’s time for you to go.
Welcome news for longsuffering Democrats hoping for a pickup in the newly-competitive CD-6: per a press release this morning, state Rep. Joe Miklosi has turned the corner on his so-far terrible fundraising, posting a much improved $235,000 for the first quarter of 2012.
Contributions over the last three months of $235,174 have brought the campaign’s total raised to more than $474,000. Miklosi has seen a dramatic surge in donor activity since clearing the primary field in the new 6th congressional district six weeks ago. The campaign reports over 2000 donors in the first quarter including 1,965 from individual contributors.
“As we head into this election, I am grateful to have the active involvement of so many individuals in our campaign,” said Miklosi. “I believe it’s because they fully understand that we are fighting for the future of our country.”
Miklosi has been focused on incumbent Mike Coffman’s voting record. Coffman supports the Ryan budget which ends Medicare as we know it; the Blunt amendment which allows employers to determine whether your health insurance provides coverage for contraception and other items; and the Colorado Personhood amendment which outlaws abortion even in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother.
Miklosi makes comparisons to some 2010 congressional challengers that appear favorable at first glance, but Ryan Frazier and Cory Gardner didn’t lay eggs quarter after quarter like Miklosi did at first. If anything, Miklosi’s comeback is more significant and he shouldn’t sully it.
And of course, $235,000 in Q1 is still less than half incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s haul for the same period. No Democrat should be under any delusions here: we would say this is the absolute least that Rep. Miklosi could have raised this quarter to remain in this race with anything you could call “viability.” But within the big picture there are other encouraging signs: according to the campaign nearly half of this total was raised in the final month of the quarter, after it sank in that Miklosi’s primary field was clear. Miklosi also says he raised some $75,000 of this total in relatively small online donations, a sign that side of his campaign is bearing fruit.
Bottom line: this is just the first step in what must be a totally rebooted effort from Rep. Miklosi if he is to have a serious chance at taking out the heavily-reinforced Coffman–a temporary reprieve at best. But the fact that we’re having this conversation at all, that is a conversation ending with Miklosi having any kind of shot, could fairly be called a significant turnaround. Miklosi doesn’t have to outraise Coffman, and it’s clear at this point that he’s not going to.
But he has to bring in enough to function, and enough to remain at least somewhat viable in the eyes of national donors. Today, you have your first real indication he might.
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is doing a good job of raising serious cash in order to thwart a serious challenge from Democrat Joe Miklosi before it can even get started. As the Denver newspaper reports, Coffman raised $532,000 in Q1, increasing his campaign warchest to $1.37 million.
Miklosi’s fundraising thus far has been downright terrible, and it’s not likely that he had a strong Q1 if his campaign is already telling reporters that it won’t announce its numbers until next week. Miklosi’s weak fundraising, combined with Coffman’s big checking account, is preventing Miklosi’s campaign from making it onto the top targeted tier for the DCCC. By racing out to a huge fundraising lead and keeping his foot on the gas, Coffman is essentially winning his race before it really even begins.
Yesterday Republican Reps. Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton both voted in favor of a budget that would all but destroy Medicare, and we’re having trouble understanding the political strategy here. As Talking Points Memo explains:
For the second year in a row, Republicans voted Thursday to effectively dismantle Medicare – this time, just over seven months before a presidential election. And Democrats are salivating at the political opportunity, eager to hang the vote around the neck of the party’s presidential nominee and its candidates in tough congressional races.
“A year ago, nobody was talking about Democrats having a shot at the House. Now we’re talking about it,” a Democratic leadership aide told TPM after the vote, a party-line 228-191 that didn’t win a single Dem.
The blueprint by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan is similar to his controversial Medicare plan last year, in that it ends the health insurance guarantee for seniors and replaces the program with a subsidized insurance-exchange system. Unlike last year’s plan, seniors can buy into traditional Medicare as a sort-of public option, and the vouchers it provides are more generous…
…As it turns out, Democrats would love to fight the battle on those terms. They’re expected to make Medicare a focal point of their election message, portraying Republicans as seeking to “break the Medicare guarantee” in order to fund large tax cuts for the rich.
“Our main focus will be on Medicare,” the Democratic aide said. “There’s clear evidence that seniors are very worried about what Republicans are doing with Medicare. And we want people to know that this is who they are in a nutshell. There’s no wiggle room for them.”
Both Coffman and Tipton voted for the “Ryan Plan” in 2011 as well, and we’re just as confounded by this vote as we were last year. While these votes may make the Tea Party happy, it’s not going to go over well with moderate and Independent senior citizens. The votes are particularly problematic for Tipton, who pledged as a candidate in 2010 that he would protect Medicare (see press release after the jump from the campaign of Democrat Sal Pace). Tipton is going to have a tough time holding off Pace in CD-3, and pissing off senior citizens isn’t a smart idea in our book.
As for Coffman, we can only assume that he is casting these votes with an eye towards a 2014 Senate race against Democrat Mark Udall; while these votes will certainly be dredged up in a general election against Udall, Coffman might figure he needs to position himself firmly on the right in order to fend off primary challengers. Democrat Joe Miklosi will make as much hay out of this as he can in his challenge to Coffman this fall, but at this point it doesn’t look like Miklosi’s campaign will have enough strength to really make a run at the CD-6 incumbent.
Scott Tipton Again Breaks Promise To Seniors By Voting To End The Medicare Guarantee
Today, for the second time since being elected, Congressman Tipton broke his 2010 campaign promise to never cut or privatize Medicare. Tipton voted for the controversial House budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and raise health care costs for seniors while giving people making over $1 million per year a $394,000 tax cut.
In contrast, just days ago days ago, his opponent Sal Pace – with over 1,000 other Coloradans – promised to protect Medicare for our seniors.
“Even though while campaigning in 2010 my opponent said ‘no cuts, no privatization’ to Medicare we are seeing once again where his priorities are” said Pace. “Getting the deficit under control is important, but we have to do it in a reasonable fashion. Eliminating benefits for seniors and replacing it with a voucher program that would more than double what seniors currently pay is not the way to do it.”
The House proposal supported by Tipton according to the AARP, would “simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage” and the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found Medicare benefits “would likely shrink.”
In his 2010 campaign, Tipton promised never to privatize Social Security or Medicare. “I’ll never put our seniors’ future at risk. No cuts, no privatization, and no scaring our seniors just to try and win this election.” [American Spectator, 10/15/10]
AARP: Ryan’s Plan Would Increase Health Care Costs for Older Americans. AARP CEO Addison Barry Rand wrote to Members of Congress on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution. In the letter, Rand wrote: “this proposal simply shifts these high and growing costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, and it then shifts even higher costs of increased uninsured care onto everyone else […] By creating a ‘premium support’ system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” [AARP Letter, 3/21/12]
House Republican Budget Would Give People Making Over $1 Million Per Year a $394,000 Tax Cut. “New analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC) finds that people earning more than $1 million a year would receive $265,000 apiece in new tax cuts, on average, on top of the $129,000 they would receive from the Ryan budget’s extension of President Bush’s tax cuts.” [Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/27/12; see also Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Table T12-0078 and T10-0132]
UPDATE/CLARIFICATION: We added something to the guidelines (after the jump) to clear up some confusion.
Today is the trade deadline in the NBA, and while professional basketball may not interest you, it got us to thinking about what would happen if you could trade elected officials (insert obvious jokes here).
For example, would you trade Republican Rep. Mike Coffman for Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock? This is a purely political exercise, so don’t worry about policies or ideologies. Think of Democrats and Republicans as two different sports teams, so if they are traded they assume the general ideology of their new party.
In the case above, a Democratic Coffman would let the donkeys gain, and probably hold, another Congressional seat while also taking Coffman out of a potential Senate race in 2014. In exchange, Republicans would get the Denver Mayor’s office, which can be a great bully pulpit and fundraising position (yes, we know that the Denver Mayor is technically “nonpartisan,” but Hancock is absolutely a Democrat). The downside for Democrats is losing control of the city that is the very heart of the state; the downside for Republicans is that Hancock would face a strong challenger for re-election.
Go ahead and propose some theoretical trades in the comments section, and we’ll take the best and most interesting and put them to a vote in a later post; we’ll also post our own mock trades a bit later.
Click to read the guidelines after the jump, and remember: This is a game of politics, not policy. The point of a trade would be to theoretically make your “team” (in this case, your political party) better as a whole and in stronger position to win future elections.
Let’s Make a Trade Guidelines
UPDATE: The political office that the person currently holds goes with them in a trade. If you trade Sen. Michael Bennet to the Republicans in exchange for State Sen. Greg Brophy (an example from the comments below), Bennet is still a U.S. Senator — but he’s now a Republican Senator.
The trade must be theoretically acceptable to both sides. In other words, you wouldn’t get anywhere by proposing a trade of Sen. Mark Udall for a Grand Junction city council member.
If the trade were accepted, the elected officials would change parties and essentially vote/govern the exact opposite of their current stance. Basically, they are playing for a new team and would be expected to help their new friends.
Whoever is traded would have to run for re-election as a member of their new party. You could trade Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), but they would both almost certainly lose a re-election bid.
Current and past politicos are eligible to be traded. You could swap Democrat Bill Ritter for Republican Bill Owens and run a former governor for a future office.
Don’t be afraid to put together a nice package trade. Would Republicans trade Rep. Cory Gardnerand Coffman in exchange for Gov. John Hickenlooper?
Feel free to propose trades of national politicians. You can also trade someone who is not an elected official but a serious power broker nonetheless (Tim Gill, Larry Mizel, etc.)
If we need to clarify further, we’ll answer questions from the comments thread with updates to this list.
As the Denver newspaper reported yesterday, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman got some good news recently.
Two of Colorado’s most prominent political fundraisers, attorneys Steve Farber and Norm Brownstein, will be raising money for Coffman’s re-election in CD-6 rather than supporting Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi. Farber and Brownstein have a history of supporting candidates from both sides of the aisle, but they tend to back Democrats more often than Republicans. The fact that Farber is going to help Coffman raise money is a pretty significant blow to Miklosi; after all, Farber could have stayed on the sidelines if he wasn’t enthralled with the Democratic candidate.
As we’ve said time and again in this space, fundraising at high levels is mostly about trying to get in with the candidate most likely to win. For Farber to make this decision this early is a pretty good indicator that Miklosi is rapidly losing the perception battle among those who write the big checks.
UPDATE: Kurtis Lee of the Denver paper breaks:Perry Haney will withdraw from the CD-6 race, leaving state Rep. Joe Miklosi as the Democratic contender and ending the primary.
Republicans may be kicking themselves over this legal challenge. We thought it was a smart strategic move to go after Haney by Republicans, because publicly attacking him helps the average voter to think that he is the stronger of the two Democrats running for the seat (the other being Rep. Joe Miklosi). Despite Miklosi’s faults, which we’ve documented here, he is absolutely a better candidate than the unknown and underfunded Haney.
But in the end, the GOP’s attacks probably made Haney’s quixotic run more trouble than it was worth.
The Colorado Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission last week, alleging that CD-3 CD-6 Democratic self-funding candidate Perry Haney spent thousands of dollars on a run for Congress “somewhere in Colorado” before appropriately filing with the FEC. From the letter sent by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call:
Perry Haney for Congress is an authorized committee of Perry Haney, a candidate for the House of Representatives in the Colorado 6th Congressional District. Haney filed a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy with the FEC on October 27, 2011, and an amended Form 2 Statement of Candidacy on December 14, 2011. The Committee filed a Form 1 Statement of Organization with the FEC on October 27, 2011, listing the Committee’s name as Perry Haney for Congress Exploratory Committee. An amended Form 1 Statement of Organization was filed on December 14, 2011, changing the name to Perry Haney for Congress…
An individual becomes a candidate and triggers registration and reporting responsibilities under the Act when campaign activity exceeds $5,000 in either contributions or expenditures. 2 USC § 431(2). A candidate must file a Form 2 Statement of Candidacy within 15 days of becoming a candidate. 2 USC § 432(e)(1). Within 10 days after it has been designated by the candidate, the principal campaign committee must register by filing with the FEC. 2 USC § 433(a).
The regulations permit an individual who has not decided to run for office to raise funds to “test the waters” and explore the viability of becoming a candidate. 11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131. An individual solely engaging in testing the waters activities does not have to register or report as a candidate, even if the individual raises or spends more than $5,000 on these activities. Testing the waters activities include conducting a poll, making telephone calls and traveling, but only if undertaken to determine whether an individual should become a candidate. 11 CFR § 100.72, 11 CFR § 100.131.
However, once an individual engages in campaign activity, if he or she has raised or spent more than $5,000, the individual must register as a candidate with the FEC.
In short, candidates are permitted some wiggle room between beginning the process of “testing the waters” to enter a congressional race and formally doing so. The problem for Haney, as Call and GOP attorneys allege, is that Haney’s promotional efforts as a potential CD-3 candidate over the summer go well beyond merely “testing the waters.” Call says that Haney was possibly in violation upon receipt of more than $5,000 in July of last year, and by the time a “Haney for Congress” video was uploaded to Youtube at the end of last August, very likely so.
We’re withholding judgment on this complaint pending further analysis, as some of the circumstances here are novel–we’re not sure, for example, how the fact that Haney was not yet running for a specific race (or, at the very least, looking at a different race than the one he ultimately chose) might affect the application of the law. We’re not election lawyers.
But we’ll say this: Haney’s lurking on the margins of two congressional races last year, and having filed the proper paperwork for the race he chose months after his “exploratory” period began, is a wide-open target for Republicans on both a messaging and legal harassment level. To whatever extent Haney becomes a serious candidate, he’s going to be hit with the charge of having shopped for a congressional race irrespective of experience or community ties. Haney had better develop good answers to these questions, or he’s going nowhere.
UPDATE: The Miklosi campaign issued a rather silly press release this afternoon. Full release after the jump, but here’s the opening sentence:
In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.
It’s a very good idea to point out the number of individual donors that Miklosi received in Q4 — that’s always the best approach when you can’t point to impressive totals. But you shouldn’t point out a weak cash-on-hand number, and it does more harm than good to say something like “In a sign of growing momentum…”
Remember, a press release is not something sent to the general public — the people who receive press releases are generally folks who have some idea of what is going on in the race, and when you try too hard to spin horrible news in the other direction, you just end up looking silly.
Earlier this month Republican Rep. Mike Coffman announced that his campaign had raised $415,000 in the final quarter of 2011. When Democrat Joe Miklosi never sent out a news release discussing his Q4 fundraising numbers, it was a pretty safe assumption that the figures weren’t going to be good.
Today is the deadline for Congressional candidates to file their end-of-2011 reports, and FEC reports show that Miklosi raised a meager $104,451 in Q4. Miklosi raised just $130,000 in his first fundraising quarter, and we’ve said since then that it was absolutely vital for his campaign to have a much stronger Q4. Altogether Miklosi now has $173,700 in cash on hand, significantly less than Coffman’s warchest of $961,374.
Unfortunately for Miklosi, there’s no positive spin that can help him at this point. In order for him to be a top-tier contender that receives the kind of national help and attention needed to defeat Coffman, Miklosi had to be raising at least $200k per quarter by now (which is what Sal Pacedid in Q4, and why Pace is on the top of the DCCC’s takeover list). Numbers this low will almost certainly cripple future fundraising, because nobody wants to write a big check to someone who doesn’t look like they can win; money begets money in politics, and Miklosi doesn’t have the warchest to convince big donors to get on the bandwagon. Miklosi’s poor Q4 will also embolden Senate President Brandon Shaffer to make the jump from running in CD-4, where he would almost certainly lose to incumbent Rep. Cory Gardner. Shaffer didn’t have a great Q4, either, but he has shown that he can be a better fundraiser than Miklosi by bringing in nearly $300,000 — a race that is much less plausible for Democrats to win than CD-6.
There are probably a lot of factors contributing to Miklosi’s weak fundraising numbers overall, but when you do this poorly it usually means you didn’t have the necessary connections to put a big-time campaign in place to begin with. We can’t fault Miklosi for trying, but his campaign is all but over now.
The other Democrat currently running in CD-6, unknown chiropractor Perry Haney, raised just $16,025 in Q4 but loaned his campaign $370,000. According to the FEC, Haney now has $684,215 cash on hand — nearly all of it from his own wallet.
MIKLOSI CAMPAIGN BOLSTERED WITH STRONG CASH ON HAND AND 1,300 SUPPORTERS GOING INTO2012 ELECTION
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO – JANUARY 31, 2012 — In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.
“Grassroots donors have been, and remain, a strong source of support for our campaign,” said Joe Miklosi, candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. “Our supporters didn’t get involved because of lines on a map or numbers in a poll. We are committed to idea that we can and should be working together to reignite the American Dream and restore job growth.”
The campaign reported raising $104,000 in for the 4th quarter despite the eleventh-hour finalization of the congressional map, for a total of $230,000 since the launch of the campaign with a large majority of donations coming online.
The campaign also announced this week the addition of Joe Livoti as Finance Director. Mr. Livoti, a veteran fundraiser who worked on Congressional and statewide races around the country, was referred to the campaign by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).
Lynn Bartels at the Denver paper is reporting that Democratic Senators Brandon Shaffer and John Morse are both considering running in CD-6, where Joe Miklosi and some dude named Perry Haney are already seeking the Democratic nomination.
We’re not terribly surprised to read this, as we have heard rumors for awhile that Shaffer may ultimately look to CD-6 and abandon what most observers believe to be an unwinnable race in CD-4. We’re not sure where Morse really fits into this discussion, but we’d guess he’s just throwing his name out there for the chattering class more than anything serious.
While Miklosi has pulled in a lot of endorsements from Democrats, he is not raising the kind of money that will get him on national target lists and lead to the really big funding a Democrat would need to beat Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. The incumbent Coffman raised $415,000 in Q4 and is now sitting on a million-dollar warchest.
Miklosi raised just $130,000 in his first quarter of fundraising, a paltry sum for a top challenger in one of the more statistically competitive districts in the country (the benchmark is closer to $200,000 per quarter, but top-tier candidates should be closer to $250k). Campaign finance reports from Q4 should be available anytime now, and the fact that Miklosi has not proactively announced his fundraising totals suggests that he did not do much better in his second three months.
Neither Miklosi nor Shaffer is particularly well-known in the new boundaries of CD-6, so there would be little built-in disadvantage for Shaffer to move his sights to the new district. Shaffer has, however, shown a better capacity for fundraising. And let’s face it, folks: as much as anyone wants to complain about it, money matters a lot. It doesn’t just matter because you need it to reach voters — it is a show of support in and of itself. If Miklosi isn’t raising it, then he cannot — cannot — beat Coffman in November. With a district this favorable for taking out a Republican incumbent, Democrats can’t, and shouldn’t, give a challenger the benefit of the doubt.
All this might be a moot discussion if it comes out in the next 24 hours that Miklosi really raked in the cash recently. Given the timing of this news, however, we’re guessing that won’t happen.
According to Allison Sherry at the Denver newspaper, Rep. Cory Gardner’s Chief of Staff, Chris Hansen, is taking a leave of absence from the office in order to run Rep. Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign in CD-6.
Hansen managed Gardner’s 2010 campaign, and his move to oversee the Coffman campaign says a lot about both CD-4 and CD-6. Gardner is obviously not terribly worried about his re-election chances against Democrat Brandon Shaffer, while Coffman is rightly concerned about his new district.
We’ve mentioned before the bad timing on the part of Rep. Mike Coffman, who announced that he was the Colorado Chair of the Rick Perry for President campaign just as Perry was beginning to crater.
Coffman has been conspicuously quiet about Perry ever since, and as The Colorado Independent reports, he hasn’t said anything since Perry’s 5th place finish in Iowa, either:
The chair of the Perry campaign in Colorado, U.S. 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman, has yet to comment on the Perry loss, the plan going forward, or on the meaning for Colorado Republicans of last night’s historic Mitt Romney-Rick Santorum caucus-race photo-finish.
Calls to Coffman’s 2012 campaign staffers went unanswered today. Coffman is running for reelection against Democrat Joe Miklosi in a formerly safe Republican district remade this year as a tossup, equally divided among Republican, independent and Democratic voters.
Perry and his Super-Pac spent about $6 million in Iowa, or about $500 per vote. After initially saying he would return to Texas to “reassess” his campaign, Perry now appears to be moving on to compete in South Carolina.
We like to spread out our end-of-year retrospectives so that 2012 gets a little reflection time. It is with that in mind that we present the awards for Colorado’s Top Politico (and Worst Politico for 2011, as well a look at who had a good and bad year in the last full year of human existence.
Read on, er, readers…
COLORADO’S TOP POLITICO, 2011: Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs)
For possessing the political and policy chomps to do what made sense while most of his Republican colleagues cowered indecisively in fear of the Tea Party, Rep. Massey is our Colorado Politician of the Year for 2011.
The Poncha Springs Republican took on a stronger leadership role in 2011 and almost singlehandedly helped salvage whatever is left of the GOP “brand” in the state legislature. As Chair of the House Education Committee, Massey received bipartisan kudos for his efforts to protect $67 million for public education while other Republican figureheads blathered on uselessly about how much they cared about our schools. Massey correctly understands the difference between what you believe and what you can reasonably accomplish, but that doesn’t mean he shies away from voicing his opinion; he told the Pueblo Chieftain that funding education should be a priority over preserving the Senior Homestead Extension, a refreshingly blunt position compared to colleagues who complain about everything but make decisions about nothing.
Massey’s moderate conservatism likely hasn’t endeared him to right-wing Republicans, but much like former Republican Rep. Don Marostica, Massey legitimately seems interested in legislating as opposed to just tossing grenades from January through May. If Republicans had more elected officials like Massey, they’d be much better positioned to win future statewide races than they are today.
Honorable Mention: House Minority Leader Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver). When Rep. Sal Pace stepped down as the Democrats’ leader in November in order to focus on his Congressional run, Ferrandino was unanimously elected as the new House Minority Leader. If Democrats can re-take the House in 2012 – a distinct possibility given favorable reapportionment numbers – Ferrandino will likely become Colorado’s first openly gay Speaker of the House.
COLORADO’S WORST POLITICO, 2011: Secretary of State Scott Gessler
It’s quite possible that this “award” could end up being permanently named for Gessler, who isn’t likely to be much less of a disaster in 2012 than he was in 2011. Gessler has been WTF-awful since he was first elected in November 2010, using what has historically been a benign position to cause all sorts of unnecessary problems all across the state. Just how has Gessler erred? Let us count the ways:
Infamously agreeing to take part in a fundraiser for the Larimer County Republican Party to help them pay off debts incurred for campaign finance violations that are the purview of the Secretary of State’s office. Gessler’s help included agreeing to sit in a dunk tank, a plan that organizers eventually abandoned after a slew of negative press. What made this ethical lapse even more disgusting was that Gessler had earlier decided to ignore what could (and should) have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines incurred by the Larimer GOP in 2010.
Publicly stating that he is in office to further the conservative viewpoint, which came as news to voters who thought they had elected him to oversee elections and business filings in Colorado.
Whining that his new job as Secretary of State didn’t pay enough ($68,500?) and asking if he could moonlight for his old law firm. Even fellow Republican Attorney General John Sutherscouldn’t figure out a way that Gessler could possibly justify a clearly conflicting second job.
Democratic election law attorneys. Democrats ran embarrassing circles around Republicans at every step of the reapportionment and redistricting process. The GOP legal strategy of relying on an argument of “minimal disruption” was incredibly foolish, sure, but the Democrats did an excellent job of keeping Republicans stuck in their logic corner. Both reapportionment and redistricting created advantages for Democrats overall, which will be incredibly important over the next 10 years.
Republican Congressman Cory Gardner. The freshman congressman had his bumps in 2011 (such as his ill-explained support of the Ryan Plan), but the year couldn’t have ended much better for Gardner. While redistricting made re-election tougher for fellow Republicans Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton, adjustments to the boundaries of CD-4 did nothing to prevent Gardner from what should be a relatively easy re-election in 2012.
Governor John Hickenlooper. While Democrats have been less than thrilled with Hickenlooper’s first year as CEO of Colorado, he finished 2011 as the most popular governor in the country and was getting national press as a potential Presidential candidate in 2016. His term as governor won’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but the former Denver Mayor had a pretty stress-free 2011.
2011 WAS A TERRIBLE YEAR FOR…
Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. His congressional district lines moved so much that they are now as unrecognizable as a botched plastic surgery patient. Coffman went from representing a safe Republican seat in 2010 to what will be one of the most competitive races in the country in 2012. That would be enough to make 2011 a bad year for any politician, but Coffman had numerous other problems that will only be exacerbated by his new district makeup. He may have said more controversial (and unnecessarily-so) statements in 2011 than any other Colorado politico, from calling Social Security “A Ponzi Scheme” and famously criticizing the Peace Corps to his weird efforts to repeal parts of the Voting Rights Act and his ideas for essentially destroying Medicare. Coffman alienated so many different constituencies in 2011 that perhaps he’s almost (almost) better off with an entirely new set of voters.
And lest we forget, the icing on the cake for Coffman’s 2011: He agreed to become Colorado Chair of the Presidential campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, making the announcement right as Perry’s campaign was cratering.
Incumbent legislators. The Holidays were a mixed bag for a dozen incumbent legislators who were drawn into districts with fellow incumbents of the same party, leaving them with the choice of a difficult primary or walking away from their seat altogether. Many legislators chose the latter, but there will be a couple of heated battles in 2012 as a result of reapportionment.
Rich Coolidge, Spokesman for Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Coolidge held on to his job in the SOS office after also serving under Democrat Bernie Buescher. We used to think well of Coolidge, who was helpful and humorous during the 2010 election season, but in 2011 he tossed all credibility out the window. He flat out refuses to respond to critics, no doubt at the wishes of his boss; while this may help him keep his current job, it won’t do much to help his future employment opportunities.
The Denver newspaper is reporting that Democrat Andrew Romanoff has decided not to run for Congress in the newly-redistricted CD-6.
We discussed yesterday that Romanoff didn’t have too long to decide about whether or not he would challenge Joe Miklosi for the Democratic nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Romanoff’s entry into the race may have forced Miklosi to the sidelines rather than face a primary against the much better-known former House Speaker, but the longer he waited to make a decision on running, the more he risked further alienating Democrats who were not pleased with his challenge to Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010. Romanoff’s consideration of the race certainly didn’t help Miklosi’s ongoing fundraising efforts, and had he waited until, say, mid-January to make a decision and still opted against running, he would have severely hampered Miklosi’s bid to take out Coffman.
While there may be a few more names floated on the Democratic side for CD-6, we would expect that Miklosi will go unchallenged for the nomination at this point.
Texas Governor Rick Perry made an all-time flub in last night’s GOP Presidential debate, which you can view here. His inability to recall one of the three federal agencies that he himself has pledged to disband if elected President (the answer to his own question was “Department of Energy”) was the most egregious example yet of his fatal flaw as a candidate.
Given his previous struggles, the question must then follow: is this the end?
At least one top Perry fundraiser said it was indeed. “Perry campaign is over. Time for him to go home and refocus on being governor of Texas,” the fundraiser said. “Really unfortunate. His policies are a solid roadmap for the economy. But, clearly he can’t articulate them in a coherent way.”
Tweeted GOP strategist Tony Fratto: “Perry can end his campaign right now.”…
…people simply need to have faith that a candidate has the smarts and the convictions to be president, and the way they present themselves matters immensely. Perry’s flub just completed the picture of a guy who isn’t ready for primetime, can’t enunciate his platform and folds under pressure. Those aren’t qualities people want in a president.
You quite simply don’t see moments like that from candidates that are presidential material. A gaffe is a gaffe, but this was a GAFFE.
We wrote on Sunday that Mitt Romney’s campaign was doing its best to stick a fork in Perry, so it certainly won’t help that Perry is making their job so easy. Perry’s faceplant is also a problem for several high-profile Colorado Republicans, particularly Rep. Mike Coffman, who just one week ago was announced as Perry’s Colorado Campaign Chairman.
As Lynn Bartelsreported in her blog at the Denver newspaper, Rep. Mike Coffman raised more than $800,000 for the NRCC thanks to a visit from House Speaker “Orange” John Boehner.
Coffman’s fundraising could be a big problem for Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi, who scraped together just $130,000 in the third quarter reporting period. Miklosi has about $96,000 cash on hand, compared to $602,000 for Coffman — and that was before his take (whatever it is) of the Boehner event last weekend.
Miklosi’s hopes at defeating Coffman hinge on redistricting that would make CD-6 more competitive, but ironically, that same redistricting could also create a competitive Democratic primary. Miklosi’s fairly weak fundraising numbers, coupled with Coffman’s strong fundraising, will likely have Democrats on the lookout for another candidate should CD-6 end up in a map with Adams County and Aurora, rather than South Jefferson and Douglas Counties.
(Seriously — is Mike Coffman tryingto lose his seat? Or is he just hoping to make sure he can never win a statewide race again? – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Update: Politico’s David Catanese posts Coffman’s Ponzi-scheme comment and reports:
Even as recent as today, Democrats are attempting to link GOP candidates to Perry’s Social Security position, but it appears some are willing to openly embrace it without prodding.
On a Denver radio program, “Kelley and Company” Wed., Rep. Mike Coffman called Social Security a Ponzi scheme and aligned himself with Gov. Rick Perry over Mitt Romney and other candidates in the race to be the GOP presidential nominee.
That’s news, if you ask me, especially the Ponzi scheme part, but it has yet to be picked up by other media outlets. Social Security is a hot topic, being the third rail of politics and all, but journalists could spice up this angle by interviewing Ponzi scheme experts, like Bernie Madoff. (Maybe not him, but his ilk.) Do they think Social Security is a Ponzi scheme?
Here’s what Coffman told Steve Kelley, host of “Kelley and Company,” on KNUS-710 AM:
I am obviously going to support whoever the nominee is. But I have to admit to you philosophically I am closer to Perry. Obviously, I hope he gets better on the debate stuff. I think he did good. I think he did better on Social Security. I think obviously it is a Ponzi scheme, but he has to say he is going to fix it. And he did that in the last debate where he didn’t do that in the first debate. Now I think that was positive. [BigMedia emphasis]
The trouble with Coffman’s statement is, obviously, that Social Security isn’t a Ponzi scheme, and Kelley should have called him on this.
My online dictionary defines a Ponzi scheme as an “investment swindle in which supposed profits are paid to early investors from money actually invested by later participants.” Maybe that’s what Social Security sounds like to people who think government shouldn’t collect taxes and devise programs to help people, but if you’re not one of those people, you probably understand that Social Security is no swindle, but actually a successful government-run retirement system based on a funding formula that’s worked, with rational adjustments, for 76 years. It will continue to be a lifeline for many seniors for 25 more years with no changes at all. And with minor tweaks, it can be made to work indefinitely, as the LA Times pointed out Sunday in an editorial titled “Social Security Is No Ponzi Scheme.”
Why does Coffman think Social Security an investment swindle? Kelley should pose this question to Coffman next time he’s on his morning show. But it looks like Coffman is thinking less about Social Security and more about Rick Perry.
Coming before Thursday’s GOP presidential primary debate, Coffman may be illustrating that people (like him) believe in Perry so much that they’ll say that something (Social Security) is obviously something that it’s not (a Ponzi scheme) just to make it look normal for Perry to say it (when it’s not). And to help him connect with his core GOP audience.
This sentiment against Social Security, if not the same phrasing, was echoed by Perry supporters, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who agreed with the arguments Perry was making while stopping short of going the Full Ponzi.
Further complicating the storyline for Romney are recent polling data showing that Republicans are just as likely to be attracted to Perry’s Ponzi Scheme message as they are to be turned away, and may in fact break his way in the context of a conservative primary electorate.
And just yesterday came reports in Politico that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, once a speculative candidate for president, came very close to the same wording in his upcoming book.
In Colorado Jane Norton did the same during her 2010 primary race against Ken Buck, but no one has resurrected this message at such a level in the presidential race.
In other words, the substance behind Rick Perry’s Ponzi scheme attack is in keeping with a broad range of Republican thinking. The question is whether his supporters will go once more into the Ponzi breach with him.
KELLEY: Before we let you go, Congressman Coffman, the debate the other night I thought was excellent on CNN. It was a little more refined and a little opportunity to get a back and forth going. Of course Tim Pawlenty has backed Romney. Where do you stand right now, even 14 months out?
COFFMAN: I am obviously going to support whoever the nominee is. But I have to admit to you philosophically I am closer to Perry. Obviously, I hope he gets better on the debate stuff. I think he did good. I think he did better on Social Security. I think obviously it is a Ponzi scheme, but he has to say he is going to fix it. And he did that in the last debate where he didn’t do that in the first debate. Now I think that was positive. [BigMedia emphasis]
KELLEY: I see CNN really trying to blow up the HPV vaccination. The executive order he signed down in Texas. You don’t think that is going to haunt him?
COFFMAN: Not in the general election. I think it is certainly going to cost him some in the Republican primary. That is why I am interested in why CNN is weighing in on the issue. Because it is actually more a moderate position that he quite frankly took. I wouldn’t have done it. But that is probably more sympathetic with the general electorate than it is with a more conservative Republican primary voter.
KELLEY: With that, we thank you and will talk with you down the road, Congressman.
Most of you probably don’t remember deep gouges in vinyl musical records. The scratch would cause an infinite and irritating repetition. With the exception of rattling sabers towards the Chinese regarding rare earth, he rarely misses an opportunity to remind us of his Olympian heroism in a month long ground war. That he came away with only a Combat Action Ribbon, well I am about to cross a line…….MC
Definition of short on substance.
“I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran……………………………………………………………….”
“Democrats today proposed dramatic changes to Colorado’s congressional boundaries, an effort they said is aimed at making districts more competitive.
In other words, Republican Mike Coffman will have a fight on his hands.
Coffman said he’d leave it up to the attorneys to argue the merits of their maps.
“Whatever happens, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran and I look forward to running a tough race in whatever congressional district I’m in,” he said.”
“”America needs heroes,” it is sometimes said, a phrase that’s often uttered in a wistful tone, almost cooingly, as if we were talking about a lonely child. But do we really “need heroes”? We need leaders, who marshal us to the muddle. We need role models, who show us how to deal with it. But what we really need are citizens, who refuse to infantilize themselves with talk of heroes and put their shoulders to the public wheel instead. The political scientist Jonathan Weiler sees the cult of the uniform as a kind of citizenship-by-proxy. Soldiers and cops and firefighters, he argues, embody a notion of public service to which the rest of us are now no more than spectators. What we really need, in other words, is a swift kick in the pants.”
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is putting forth legislation to repeal a section of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that allows districts with high percentages of non-English speakers to print ballots in different languages. From Talking Points Memo:
Coffman said Wednesday that his legislation would repeal Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states or districts to provide bilingual voting materials if more than 10,000 or more than 5% of voters “are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient,” or if the illiteracy of members of the language minority is higher than the national average.
“Among other factors,” Section 203 says, “the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.”
As Polster VanDammerpoints out, Coffman has signed on to most major “anti immigrant” bills offered in Congress in the last year. While this would make sense for a conservative, Tea Party-loving Congressman, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for someone with statewide aspirations.
Coffman has made no secret of the fact that he wants to run against Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, but he’s going to have a hard time winning a statewide race by going out of his way to antagonize Hispanic voters, which he is doing with bills like repealing part of the Voting Rights Act. There’s a reason why Texas Governor, and now Presidential candidate Rick Perry has been supportive of issues like in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants — he knew he needed support from Hispanic voters in Texas.
In the 2010 Senate race in Colorado, 81% of Hispanic voters selected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over Republican Ken Buck; if Buck had received just 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, he would be in the Senate today. Take a look at what Mike Melanson, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign manager, had to say about the Hispanic vote last November. From Colorado Independent:
He said the Hickenlooper campaign saw an uptick in early voting among Hispanics this year – the first time he had seen that in a non-presidential year. He said Hispanic voters are a very strong element in Colorado and that it was a mistake by Republicans to focus on immigration in a negative way.
Either Mike Coffman wasn’t paying attention in 2010, or he just doesn’t really want to win a statewide race. But if he continues down this path of casting himself as a hardliner on immigration, there’s no way he’s going to defeat Udall in 2014. Hispanics accounted for 12% of all Colorado voters in 2010, and that number is only going to increase in the next four years. The numbers don’t lie — you just cannot win an election if you immediately lose the support of 10-15 percent of the electorate.