6TH DISTRICT Rep. Mike Coffman explains his votes on health care and federal spending to a group of voters at an assisted-living development in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

AURORA | Colorado Democrats envisioned a new congressional district outside Denver that would give the incumbent Republican a rockier road to re-election. So far, those redistricting plans have worked better than Democrats could have hoped, with two-term Rep. Mike Coffman facing the fight of his political career.

6TH DISTRICT Rep. Mike Coffman explains his votes on health care and federal spending to a group of voters at an assisted-living development in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Tuesday, July 3, 2012. Coffman will need big turnout in Highlands Ranch, one of the most Republican areas of the redrawn 6th Congressional District, because the district is adding more Democrats and independents because of congressional redistricting. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, once so Republican-leaning that Democrats fielded only nominal opposition, has shed some of its most conservative turf and picked up precincts in Aurora. The result is a district that’s divided about evenly among Republicans, Democrats and independents — with a congressional campaign that’s as bumpy as any in the state.

The once-sleepy district has taken a turn for the dramatic — partly because of Coffman missteps, and partly because the congressional district now figures largely in the national political landscape.

Coffman rolled up big margins after he was elected to replace the retiring Rep. Tom Tancredo in 2008. A former secretary of state with extensive military experience, Coffman avoided controversy and made a quieter replacement for the outspoken Tancredo.

The congressman seemed poised for a third term even after the court-approved redistricting plan gave him a newly competitive district. The district’s new turf is in Aurora, Coffman’s hometown. And Coffman’s Democratic opposition is a state lawmaker with just two terms in the state House, Denver Rep. Joe Miklosi, who didn’t even live in the 6th District when he started the campaign.

Coffman started making things interesting last summer when he introduced a bill in Congress to end requirements for ballots in languages other than English. Though Coffman’s new district wasn’t set, the proposal was curious for a lawmaker facing the prospect of a Latino constituency that more than doubled under the redistricting plan. The Colorado Latino Forum blasted the idea, which didn’t become law.

The congressman saw more heat this May, when he questioned the citizenship of Democratic President Barack Obama.

“I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that,” Coffman told a GOP fundraiser. “But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

The remark gained national attention and prompted Coffman to repeatedly apologize and write a mea culpa for The Denver Post calling his comment “boneheaded.” Miklosi said the remark was more fitting from conservative talk radio than from a member of Congress. Just this week Coffman backpedaled after the website BuzzFeed reported that the Obama remark had been briefly scrubbed from Coffman’s Wikipedia entry.

The other factor making the 6th District a race to watch is its role in national politics. Both presidential campaigns are working furiously to court voters in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, and the district also plays an outsize role in Democrats’ hopes to gain the 25 seats needed for a majority in the U.S. House.

“If Democrats are going to take the House back, the 6th District in Colorado has got to be one of those they pick up,” said Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan pollster in Denver.

Miklosi’s donor rolls underscore the point. He’s raised much less money than Coffman, about $640,000 to Coffman’s $2.2 million at the end of June. But Miklosi’s donors show national Democratic interest in the seat. Miklosi contributions have come from several national unions and from political action committees connected to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Miklosi is also benefiting from the Colorado chapter of the Fair Share Alliance, a left-leaning activist group affiliated with the Occupy movement. The Colorado chapter set up shop in Aurora, and members have poked at Coffman by visiting his campaign offices and a golf course near his house for satiric “Where’s Mike?” videos posted online.

Miklosi insists he isn’t running simply to pick off an incumbent. He says his blue-collar background, as the son of a waitress and a schoolteacher, combined with his interest in economic development makes him a good choice for fresh energy in an unpopular Congress.

“A lot of Americans are seeing the American dream disappear, and I still believe it exists, for the working poor and the middle class, and I think we can all rise up the economic ladder together, not just a select few,” Miklosi said in a recent interview at his Aurora campaign headquarters.

Miklosi’s campaign slogan is the same he used to run for the state Legislature — “Not Your Average Joe!”

Miklosi’s campaign planks include pushing for a national renewable energy standard, an unpopular idea among conservatives but one Miklosi believes would create clean-energy jobs. Miklosi also wants to see the federal government adopt contracting preferences for domestic goods and services (Miklosi sponsored a similar idea in the state Legislature, but the idea was rejected by the Republican-led House).

Coffman is banking on his solid GOP credentials opposing government spending and calling for lower taxes to appeal hang on to his seat. He voted against the new federal health care law, and is one of the few Republicans who talk about cutting spending even in national defense. On a recent visit to an assisted-living facility in Highlands Ranch, Coffman talked up his military background and his efforts in Washington to reduce the national deficit.

After talking with the elderly voters for about an hour, Coffman shook hands with longtime constituents and smiled when asked if he’s in danger of losing his seat.

“I’ve never lost this district, and so I’m pretty confident,” Coffman said.




15 replies on “Aurora’s Congress race heating up”

  1. STUPID ALERT…..now the article is all excited to have a democrat elected…again look at the frakin country and how democras..t have done nothing but overtax, over regulate, telling you what eat drink…have destroyed this country..every city thats gone bankrupted …all were democrat controlled…again are going to be the stupid cows and again elect another stupid democrat….just goes on with the stupidity.

      1. Talking about Romney,  ‘he ran a business’, ‘he is self-made’, ‘he generates wealth’, ‘he has been faithful to one woman his whole life’, ‘he served gratis on the Olympic committee’, ‘he is a stand-up guy’,  NO, not what we hear from our president, more of ‘I’m for everybody having a fair chance’ (as if they don’t now)  What he’s really for is more entitlements and hand-outs to those who will not work, do nothing but make bastard babies and get on the dole.

        1. Huh….thought we we talking about the Congressional race?

          It is a lot easier to be a “self-made-man” when you Dad in a millionaire.  Was Bush self-made too? 

          Is corporate welfare OK?  When parents make bad choices are you happy to see their kids starving?  Is that justice?

          As a non-christian myself, let me ask you id Jesus was a big fan of letting the poor, sick and needy pull themselves up by their own boot straps?

          Speaking of the Broncos… 

          1. I did get off  message a bit here, no doubt.  But Miklosi is backed by the “Fair Share Alliance’ group, a far-left ‘Occupy’ movement sponsor and they sure aren’t for self-made anything, just government sponsored hand-outs.

            As far as Romneys dad’s money.  He gave it all away to charity.  Did it open some doors, I’m sure it did.

            But your thinking is clouded by wealth.  Wealth is created out of whole cloth, not just given to someone. Someone earned it, someone worked hard for it, someone invested wisely to enrich it and keep it.  It was earned.

            Jesus lived in far simpler times, some people ate, others did not.  He is a saint, he fed thousands with a few fish and loaves of bread, he is the son of God.  Of course his life was of charity and giving to those in need, and we all need to help those in true need.

              Those who take for-granted that their lives are to be guaranteed, cradle to grave, no plow to pull, no responsibilities, no disciplines, are what will bring this country down to the level of the Middle East, groveling for alms along the roadsides.  This sound like America to you?

  2. Bloney! Tax and spend will you just get off that old Republican talking point. That dog just don’t hunt anymore …lay off the Fox Noise channel for your source of “news”.

    1. ‘lay off the Fox NOISE channel’  and listen to what?  MSNBC?  Notice I had no name to call them, they are bad enough without cute names.  Andrea Mitchell? 

    2. Fox News is the ONLY place for real news, the MSM is still spewing about what great changes Obama has made, look around on your own, what do you see?  Change?  For the good?  Fair for all?  Just what do you see?  Full employment?  Didn’t the $3 TRILLION in infrastructure loans and alternative energy backed by government (taxpayer monies) work?

      You’re living a pipe dream.

  3. Mike Coffman. NO! NO! NO! .  American Action Network ( one of those  radical PACs)
    states Mike Coffman is a leader to repeal “Obamacare”  The cost of the Republican congressinal  repeal exercise is costing 50 million dollars alone.  This reminds me of the Republican efforts against the Clintons. Both exercises were and are a waste of money.
    Republicans should get to the real business of legislating real issues.  Amending the Affordable Health Care Act is one thing, Attempting repeal is a senseless act.  Repeal is a Trogan Horse.  It would never pass the Senate.   Mike. Get to work now on the real problems our country faces.  After November, you might have to find a real job.

    1. It WILL pass the Senate with a GOP majority, this election is for that as much as president.  ‘Fair Share Alliance” sides with Miklosi, they are nothing more than a ‘far-left Socialist propaganda’ associated with the ‘Occupy’ movement, how’d you like them?  Burning and looting the cities they camped out in, Denver being among those invaded by bums who won’t find work to do, just rabble and dirt.

      $50 Million huh?  What do you think Obamacare will cost?  At the lowest estimates I’ve heard, and the CBO hasn’t been close in 10 years, is $1.4 Trillion in ten years, that my friend  is $140 BILLION YEARLY!   Do you really know who it’s for?  Yep, you got that one right, the ‘have-nots’ the non-working, disabled (?), illegals and the rest that put burdens on any system.  It can’t and won’t work.  Medicare and Medicaid (more of those disabled and non workers here) is broke and yet you think that adding another government sponsored medical plan will?  No way.

  4. There’s an Independent in this race which is going to effect the outcome.  Please do your research next time.

  5. ALL TALK IS IRRELEVANT……democrats are destroying this country period…and obamarama will be voted out….anything you say about gop at this point don’t even compare to the damage democrats have done PERIOD.



    When I was young I held the belief that public service in the United States is honorable,
    that the United States of America was exceptional in the world, that governments in the United States, while flawed, deserved the respect of citizens.

    Now that I am old, I see that I was naive . . . that governmental entities in the United
    States will intentionally deceive to achieve their goals, and that over two centuries our soldiers have died for a country that will countenance, and even celebrate, base behavior on the part of its public sector instrumentalities.  It saddens me, but if this state of affairs persists in the United States . . . Honor is dead.

    Some background . . .

    You may know that an entity of Colorado state government, Colorado PERA, is
    attempting to breach its public pension contracts with its retirees.  Colorado PERA is attempting a retroactive taking, a “clawback” of accrued, fully-vested pension benefits that were earned by retired PERA members over decades.

    Colorado PERA public pension benefits include a “base benefit” that is set at
    retirement and a “COLA benefit” that adjusts pensions annually to compensate for inflation.  The “base benefit” and the “COLA benefit” are set forth in Colorado statutes with identical force of law and legal status.
    In its attempt to breach retiree contracts Colorado PERA has created a contrivance.  The contrivance that Colorado PERA is using is that somehow the “base benefit” is a contractual obligation, but the “COLA benefit” is not a contractual obligation, in spite of the fact that both pension benefits are set forth in law in an identical manner.  What this boils down to is attempted, unabashed, theft by government.
    Whether or not Colorado PERA’s attempt to take fully-vested public pension benefits from PERA retirees is ultimately successful in the courts, one fact has been
    incontrovertibly established . . . Colorado PERA, as an instrumentality of the State of Colorado, is an organization that will lie to achieve its policy goals.
    This is a sad fact for the many employees of Colorado PERA, for the trustees that have served on the Colorado PERA Board of Trustees over 80 years, and for the thousands of PERA members and retirees.

    And now, the proof of the deceit . . .

    Colorado PERA has told us, in writing, that the PERA COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA . . . and then, after initiating their attempt to breach contracts, Colorado PERA has told us, in writing, that the PERA COLA benefit IS NOT a contractual obligation of PERA.  Both of these statements cannot be true.
    Colorado PERA in a written document, to the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee on December 16, 2009 states that the PERA COLA benefit IS a contractual obligation of PERA:
    “The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution Article II, Section 11 and the United States
    Constitution Article 1, Section 10 for vested contractual rights.”



    Colorado PERA on page 23 of its May 6, 2011 “Reply Brief” in the pension case Justus
    v. State states that the PERA COLA benefit IS NOT a contractual obligation of PERA:

    “Plaintiffs seek to create a contract right that has never existed—an unchangeable
    COLA for life triggered (inconsistently) by either the date of their retirement or ‘full vesting.’”



    That is simply unbelievable.

    In one document PERA writes “the contract right has never existed.”  In the other they write that the COLA benefit is a contractual obligation protected under the Colorado and US constitutions.
    When PERA writes that they need “actuarial necessity” to take the COLA benefit, they are not denying that it is a contractual obligation, in fact, it is an admission of the contractual nature of the COLA benefit.

    For further information regarding Colorado PERA’s attempt to take fully-vested pension benefits from retirees visit saveperacola.com or Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook.


      While other private investors were losing their shirts, PERA was guaranteed profits on their ‘investments’ by taxpayers.  Sound fair to you Mr. Complainer?  I’m sure you’re a PERA retiree, ‘we deserve more than anyone else, we belonged to a union’ kinda’ guy.  Well, too bad.

      And you go on, chapter and verse about how unfair it is for the state to get out of this unhappy marriage brokered by unions to be put on the backs of taxpayers across this state, I say about time. 

      In the most recent news from PERA and the courts, PERA has changed the retirement age by 2 years, but.. when does it go into affect?  IN 2042!!

      And you’re still complaining, got used to the smug feeling of security being paid for by everyone else in this state of Colorado, well too bad for you and yours, do your share, pay your dues (no, not union dues either) and  allow people to ‘live and let live’.

  7. “Fair Share Alliance” a proclaimed far left bunch of socialists.  I’m happy Coffman isn’t associated with them at all.

    We live in a democracy, Obama and this bunch of ‘fair share’ ‘class warfare’ Socialists want to change America into European Socialist ‘big brother’ government, and I for one, don’t care for that at all. 

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