Bizarro World Politics in CD-6

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?  

Miklosi Up With Second TV Ad

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.”


There are numerous examples of how Twitter has changed political campaigns and the reporters who cover them, but few are as telling as this tweet from Kurtis Lee of the big Denver newspaper:

Before the Twitter era, there wouldn’t have been much of a reason for a reporter to take a picture like this (if a reporter even had a camera). Maybe a reporter would have mentioned that the room was empty in a subsequent story, but that wouldn’t be as telling as this single image.

The fact that there was nobody in the audience doesn’t make Joe Miklosi’s announcement less important (full press release after the jump), but it is a small black mark on a positive story. Reminder to Press/Communications people: if you aren’t sure that you will get good media coverage at a press conference, then you damn well better make sure there are volunteers on hand to take up seats.      

Fire Fighters, Police Endorse Joe Miklosi for Congress

First Responders Recognize Miklosi’s Support for Protecting Colorado

Today, Joe Miklosi announced endorsements for his campaign from the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters and the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police. As a state legislator, Joe has worked to help the men and women who keep our cities and neighborhoods safe, and he is committed to doing the same in Congress.

“I am so honored to have the support of Colorado’s first responders, and I pledge to give them all the help they need to protect and serve the people of our state,” said Sixth Congressional District Candidate Joe Miklosi. “This past summer we saw the bravery and commitment that these men and women exhibit when they are faced with a community tragedy or a natural disaster. They deserve representatives ready to fight on their behalf in Congress.”  

The Colorado Professional Fire Fighters announced their endorsement of Joe Miklosi’s campaign for Congress today.

“During his years at the State Capitol, Representative Miklosi has been a tireless supporter of the fire fighters and public safety issues,” said Aurora Fire Fighter Steve Clapham. “He has never wavered in his defense of working men and women.  The Colorado Professional Fire Fighters are proud to endorse Joe Miklosi for the position of Congressman from the Sixth Congressional District.”

And the Colorado State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police issued a letter endorsing him as well.

“Joe Miklosi has a clear record of support for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day and we are proud to support him. He is un-questionably a staunch supporter of law enforcement,” said Frank Gale President of the Colorado State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Joe is concerned about keeping our communities safe. He not only understands the issues surrounding public safety, but he is willing to roll up his sleeves and work to solve the public safety problems facing our country now and in the future.”

These endorsements are representative of the contrast between Joe Miklosi’s support for first responders and Mike Coffman’s record of not looking out for their interests. Joe is committed to helping first responders get the health care coverage they need for work-related health problems.

In 2010, Coffman voted against a bill to provide health care and compensation to first responders exposed to toxic material after Sept. 11, 2001 [HR 847, Vote #664, 12/22/10

Joe Miklosi Last of Challengers to Hit Airwaves

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.

Miklosi Posts Strong Fundraising Numbers

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.””

Official Numbers:

Total raised this quarter: $336,746

Total number of contributions: 2,607

Average individual contribution size: $85.82

Total raised to date: $802,413

Independent Candidate in CD-6

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.

Miklosi Back From Brink With $235K Q1

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.

Coffman Raising Giant Warchest

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.

Remind Us Why This Makes Sense, Congressmen?

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]

Tipton Voted for the House Republican Budget. On March 29, 2012, Tipton voted in favor of the House Republican budget. H.Con.Res. 112, Vote # 151, 3/29/12]Congressional Budget Office: Ryan’s Plan Would Likely Shrink Medicare Benefits, Increase Number Of Uninsured. “Medicare benefits would likely shrink under Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) latest proposal, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. The budget office also said the number of people without health insurance could be ‘much higher’ under Ryan’s plan because it would repeal President Obama’s healthcare law. Ryan’s Medicare plan would convert some of the program’s funding into subsidies for private insurance. Seniors could choose between the traditional single-payer program or a private plan.” [The Hill, 3/20/11

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]

Farber Will Help Coffman

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.

Perry Haney Withdraws From CD-6 Race Following GOP Complaint

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.

Miklosi Lays a Fundraising Egg; Haney Lays a Loan

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 Pace did 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.



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).  

Shaffer, Morse Considering Run in CD-6

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.

Gardner COS Will Manage Coffman Re-Election Campaign

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.

Romanoff Won’t Run for Congress in CD-6

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.

With CD-6 Blown Wide Open…

UPDATE: Miklosi is working hard on trying to discourage a primary, though no amount of endorsements will likely be enough to deter potential opponents until he proves he can raise enough money himself. In a press release sent out today, Miklosi’s campaign says he has the support of “every Democrat serving in the Colorado State House of Representatives.” Full release after the jump.


As FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports:

Congressman Mike Coffman issued a long statement Monday expressing both disappointment about a judge’s decision last week to re-draw his district and excitement about a tougher reelection fight next year…

“Aurora Democrats mostly come from hard working class families and they are not at all like the Nancy Pelosi liberal Democrats of Denver and Boulder. With the legacy of Fitzsimons, Lowry and Buckley, many of them are veterans, and my Army and Marine Corps background will be a big plus.”

Coffman, who was elected in 2008 and easily reelected in 2010, is expected to face a stronger-than-expected Democratic challenge…

Right now, state Rep. Joe Miklosi is the only declared Democratic candidate running in the 6th, but rumors are running rampant that other candidates — Andrew Romanoff and state Sen. Morgan Carroll, among others — could also be looking at a run.

Miklosi, who has already filled top campaign staff positions, is holding a fundraiser Monday night in Aurora and, overall, looking to demonstrate his viability in an effort to head off a potential primary challenger.

Carroll, D-Aurora, is among the hosts for Miklosi’s fundraiser — state Reps. Rhonda Fields and Nancy Todd are two other prominent Aurora Democrats already on board — and is not giving any indication that she’s considering a run.

What we understand is that Sen. Morgan Carroll of Aurora is not interested in running–hosting last night’s fundraiser for CD-6 candidate Rep. Joe Miklosi is about as strong a message as she can send. With that said, the new CD-6 is quickly elevating to national prominence, perhaps one of the very best pickup opportunities available to Democrats in the nation. That being the case, national Democrats have a strong interest in taking no chances on victory.

Sources tell us that former U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff is much more interested in Mike Coffman’s seat than press reports heretofore have indicated, and is considered a very strong contender if he gets into the race. Romanoff’s high profile as a Senate candidate and history as Speaker of the Colorado House make him one of the most formidable contenders for Coffman’s seat available. The problem as we understand it is Romanoff’s trademark cautious style: he may be under the impression that he can wait to declare his candidacy, kind of like he waited to do so in his challenge against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

That would be most unwise. Romanoff’s failure to get into the 2010 Senate race for months while Bennet burnished his credentials and won over allies was a major factor in his defeat in the primary. If Romanoff thinks that delaying his entry into the race won’t strengthen Miklosi–or lure others with competitive stature into the race–he could be making another career-jeopardizing mistake. We’ll be honest with you: not many people get as many chances as Romanoff may get again here, especially after the kind of nasty insurgent campaign he ran against Bennet. The window for Romanoff to make up his mind is quite small.

On the other side of this race, we’ve heard some interesting things–despite Coffman’s bravado above, it’s an academic fact that an arch-conservative like himself will face huge, possibly intractable problems holding on to this seat. Remember also that Coffman is far from universally loved by the Colorado Republican establishment: that’s part of the reason why you’re not seeing the outrage from Ryan Call over Coffman’s redrawn district you might otherwise expect. With all this in mind, it has been suggested to us–suggested, mind you, not necessarily predicted–that a Republican challenger could emerge to attempt to better hold the seat.

As hard as we’ve (deservedly) been on Ryan Frazier, could he beat Coffman in a GOP primary in the new CD-6? That’s just one name, there are a few others we’re not quite yet ready to mention–but we’re pretty confident that Coffman knows who they are.

That’s the fluid state of things right now. Obviously we’ll be updating as we learn more.

Press release from Miklosi campaign:


Colorado State Representatives Unanimously Endorse Miklosi for Congressional Race

Greenwood Village, CO – November 15, 2011 – Today, the Joe Miklosi Congressional Campaign announced it has earned the support of every Democrat serving in the Colorado State House of Representatives.

The endorsement demonstrates the strong support for State Representative Miklosi’s campaign to defeat Republican congressman Mike Coffman.  Joe has earned the respect and support of his fellow legislators through hard work and effective leadership.

For the past three years, Mr. Miklosi has served in the Colorado State House of Representatives on behalf of House District 9, which encompasses portions of Arapahoe County that will be included in the newly formed 6th congressional district.

The Miklosi Campaign reports endorsements from distinguished members of the Colorado State House of Representatives including: Ed Casso, Lois Court, Crisanta Duran, Mark Ferrandino, Rhonda Fields, Randy Fischer, Deb Gardner, Millie Hamner, Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, Matt Jones, Daniel Kagan, John Kefalas, Andy Kerr, Jeanne Labuda, Pete Lee, Claire Levy, Beth McCann, Wes McKinley, Dan Pabon, Sal Pace, Cherylin Peniston, Su Ryden,  Sue Schafer, Judy Solano, John Soper, Nancy Todd, Max Tyler, Ed Vigil, Angela Williams, Roger Wilson, and Dave Young.

“I’m grateful for the solid support of my colleagues in the State House,” said Representative Miklosi. “Our campaign is laser-focused on getting the U.S. economy on the fast-track to recovery. We believe mainstream voters will reject my opponents’ do-nothing approach and join us as we take decisive action to get this county back on its feet and make Colorado the Renewable Energy Capital of the country.”

State Representative Miklosi has worked to balance the Colorado budget every year he has been in office.  He worked on the Audit Committee, which conducted 52 audits in 2010 and saved Colorado taxpayers approximately 47 million dollars. As a member of the state legislature, Representative Miklosi has cut his own salary. Last year, Mr. Miklosi sponsored two job fairs to help people find employment.

“I’m running for Congress to create jobs and to restore economic growth.  We’re facing one of the most challenging times this country has experienced in generations,” said Miklosi, “and we are going to win this election by focusing on the issues that impact the pocketbooks of families.”

Current Representative Mike Coffman is extremely vulnerable. Across his term, he has voted twice to destroy Medicare, has declared Social Security a Ponzi scheme, and has failed to offer leadership during a severe economic crisis.

Without sponsoring any significant legislation to create jobs and restore the U.S. economy, Mr. Coffman has instead pursued a radical social agenda outside the mainstream. The few original legislative proposals he has offered have found little support among Republicans or Democrats in Congress.

About Joe Miklosi

Joe Miklosi brings a well-rounded business and civic background to the race. In addition to three years of legislative experience working across party lines to get things done in the Colorado House of Representatives, included his service on the audit committee, his career includes six years of business development experience, where he helped start an Internet software company, nearly four years working at Project C.U.R.E. in Centennial, Colorado, which provides life-saving medical supplies to hospitals in 120 developing nations, and 12 years of public policy experience.

To Learn More about Representative Miklosi, visit his website,, or his Facebook page,

Coffman Raising Big Bucks, Changing CD6 Outlook

As Lynn Bartels reported 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.

And That’s Why I’m Running for Congress…Somewhere in Colorado

One of the quirks that come in a redistricting year is that the Federal Election Commission is a bit lax on requiring candidates seeking a Congressional office to actually state which office they plan to run for. Take, for example, the case of Democrat Perry Haney, a wealthy Greenwood Village chiropractor who wants to run for Congress…somewhere.

Haney has been meeting with Democrats in Colorado and in Washington D.C., telling them that he plans to run for Congress, but he won’t say where he plans to kickoff his campaign. Is it against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (and Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi) in CD-6? Is it to take on Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in CD-3, where Democrat Sal Pace has been running full-steam ahead for months?

We visited his website, paid for by “The Perry Haney for Congress Exploratory Committee,” to “explore” that question, and it doesn’t indicate anywhere that he has decided where he will run, though a look at some of the pictures and the text makes it appear as though he’s definitely leaning more towards CD-3 than anywhere else. We did get a kick out of his issue statement “On Career Politicians,” where Haney talks, of course, about how he is not a career politician; but he’s got the career politician thing figured out, it seems, since he won’t even commit to a district.

Haney recently sent a mail piece to Democratic delegates in CD-3 that left a UPS Store P.O. Box in Grand Junction as the return address, giving more indication that he may, perhaps, choose to run in Southern and Western Colorado (though he never explicitly says in the letter that he is running for Congress in CD-3). If he does run there, he will have a lot of explaining to do about being a wealthy Denver resident with little previous involvement in politics. Haney has made several donations to Democrats over the years, but he has also donated regularly to Republicans; Haney gave Scott McInnis a $500 check in his campaign for Colorado governor in 2009, $250 to Republican Attorney General Gale Norton in 1995, and $200 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in 1996. This won’t help him earn any friends in a Democratic primary, either.

We don’t see how Haney could possibly win a Democratic primary wherever he ultimately decides to run for Congress. We hear that he does have some personal wealth that he might commit to a campaign, and he had better hope so — we don’t see him raising much money as an unknown Denverite with no natural base in CD-3 or CD-6. But maybe he’ll figure this out as part of his grand “exploration.”

Miklosi to Take On Coffman?

That’s the word today from Lynn Bartels at the Denver newspaper’s blog, confirming a not-very-well-kept secret that Democratic state Rep. Joe Miklosi is weighing a challenge for Mike Coffman’s CD-6 seat. Rep. Miklosi is not yet term limited in his state house seat, so this isn’t a must-make decision for him at this point in his career, but he apparently plans to make a decision in the next week or so.

Depending on what happens to Rep. Coffman’s district in the upcoming court battle over congressional redistricting, a run against Coffman in 2012 could be a very lucrative opportunity for a Democrat. As Bartels recounts and we’ve discussed in this space, CD-6 needs to shed some 80,000 residents to get back into population balance with Colorado’s other districts. Obviously, who those 80,000 residents wind up being is critical to how competitive a district CD-6 will be for the next ten years–and how serious a Democratic run for the seat could truly be.

What we know of Rep. Miklosi suggests that he is interested in actual contention, not a placeholder also-ran in a safe Republican district. Miklosi’s resume in nonprofit work and political organizing prior to the legislature sets him apart from less-serious Democratic candidates in CD-6 we’ve seen in recent years. If the district does emerge competitive–and it would need to be much more competitive than it is today–then Miklosi could pose a serious threat.

Democrats Lining Up for Safe Denver Seats

Several “safe” Democratic seats in Denver are up for grabs in 2008 with term limits forcing incumbents out of office. Most seats in the Denver area are safely Democratic, meaning whoever emerges from the donkey primary will coast to victory in the general election.

As Dan Willis indicated, Lois Court is the first of possibly many to announce their intentions to run for HD-6 when Andrew Romanoff is term-limited in 2008.

Last week Joe Miklosi announced that he had filed to run in HD-9 to replace the term-limited Alice Borodkin in a race that will have at least one other challenger. Click below for the full press release from Miklosi’s campaign…

Joe Miklosi, a community leader and former Director for Speaker Andrew Romanoff, recently filed his paperwork to run for the Colorado State House of Representatives in District 9, which includes most neighborhoods in southeast Denver, such as Eastmoor, Hampden Heights, and Tamarac Hills.  Miklosi is running to replace State Representative Alice Borodkin, who is term limited.

  “I’ve spent most of my adult life working to improve the lives of the average Coloradoan.  Now, I want to use my 10 years of public policy and political experience and my six years of business development experience to create more economic and educational opportunities for all Coloradoans by representing them in the State House,” said Miklosi, an active Rotarian who helps fund youth at-risk and after-school programs.  “I plan to use the next few months to conduct a Listening Tour of District 9 residents and to gather information about their issues and concerns so I can better represent them in the State House.”

Miklosi stated several reasons for running for the State House of Representatives, including investing in a clean, alternative energy economy; advocating for fairness by improving our current health care system so more senior citizens have access to hospice health care and all Coloradoans have access to quality, affordable health care; and protecting our cherished individual liberties, such as freedom of choice. 

Miklosi earned his Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Colorado at Denver where he specialized in studying methods for motivating youth to become more active citizens.

“By investing in an educated work force and a well-rounded education that emphasizes both critical thinking skills and science and math, students will be more prepared for college and well-paying employment opportunities,” said Miklosi.

Miklosi is supported by Paul Lhevine, the National Democratic Convention Chief Operating Officer, Mike Stratton, Bethany Gravell, the former Legislative Aide to Denver City Councilor Peggy Lehmann, State Representative Michael Garcia, former State Representative Angie Paccione, Denver City Councilors Paul Lopez and Chris Nevitt, and other community leaders. 

About Joe Miklosi
Joe Miklosi is the State Director of Progressive Majority, an organization that recruits, trains, and elects the next generation of fiscally responsible and socially progressive municipal leaders throughout Colorado.  Miklosi previously served as a legislative aide to Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum, the Chief of Staff to House Minority Leader Jennifer Veiga, and the Director of the Democratic State House Caucus for Speaker Andrew Romanoff.  Prior to his political and public policy involvement, Miklosi worked as a business development executive in the information technology sector.  Miklosi is an active Rotarian and a youth civic engagement researcher whose work was recently published in the National Civic Review.  Miklosi is married to Jennifer, an art historian and a wellness coach and they reside in Southeast Denver.