Friday, November 30, 2018

Mike Coffman: Trump’s First Midterm Casualty?

The Republican Party’s national political action committees have abandoned the campaign for a Republican challenger in Miami. Both the leadership PAC of Speaker Paul Ryan and the official National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) have withdrawn millions in TV ads from the race as  “beyond reach” (see blog: Mike Coffman Coffman: Out of Reach?).

The latest New York Times/Siena College poll, which shows Coffman losing by 9 points, highlights what’s different this time from Coffman’s previous tough re-elections. Coffman has not had to deal with two years of Donald Trump. Nationally, Trump is 8 points under water. In Colorado’s 6th District, he’s 22 points down. The generic ballot test is 8 points toward Democrats nationally, but 14 points negative for Republicans here according to the Times poll.

Coffman, of course, tried to keep his distance from Trump and the Republican House leadership, but Trump’s nonstop blunderbuss simply takes all the space to politically maneuver. Reinforcing this, Democratic advertising in the 6th CD, and in most Colorado state races, ties Republican candidates to Trump as their main message. And, the issues Coffman’s and his Republican colleagues focused on the last two years were of no help. Repeal but not replace on health care, nothing on guns, not even a bump stock ban, and constant dithering on DACA and funding the wall gave Coffman a record to run from, not with in 2018.

Knowing that Colorado’s 6th CD could help put Nancy Pelosi back in the Speaker’s Chair, Democrats recruited a strong candidate in Jason Crow, and then loaded him with millions in financing. Even before the latest loss of funding, Crow had a $2 million advantage over Coffman with out-of-state money, which by the second week of October was a record $19.8 million in reported expenditures.

Coffman continues to run an aggressive campaign, and just received the Denver Post’s endorsement, which he has regularly won, but it appears this seat is going to contribute to the Democrats’ run for control of the House. If Coffman loses, the 6th CD will be a clear example that Donald J. Trump is a liability and not an asset for Republicans in many swing districts.

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