AURORA | Democratic congressional hopeful Jason Crow is moving into Aurora and what he hopes will be out of the line of fire of critics accusing him of being a carpetbagger in Aurora’s 6th Congressional District race against incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.
Crow is currently living just outside of the district in the Denver side of the trendy Stapleton neighborhood. But Crow says he is now under contract to buy a house in the new Aurora portion of Stapleton for he and has family — inside the district he hopes to win first in a Democratic primary, and ultimately from Coffman next year.
Since announcing his candidacy in early April, Crow has taken shots from both Republicans and some of his Democratic rivals about his residency. Crow had said he and his family might move into the district before the election but now it is official.
“My wife and I are already under contract for a home in Aurora. We will be on the right side of the boundary by the end of the year,” Crow said. “That’s done in my opinion. We made that commitment.”
A decorated U.S. Army Ranger who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, he is currently a law partner with the Holland and Hart Law Firm. Crow also served on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs from 2009-2014, where he helped secure funding for the new Veterans Affairs hospital in Aurora.
“I’ve lived here for over a decade. I’ve been just blocks from the boundary for more than a decade. The reason why I’m getting endorsements from people in the district, in the state and nationally is I work side by side with them,” Crow said. “These are people who know me, who have worked with me for years, who know my judgment, my character and my commitment to service.”
Since he announced his candidacy, Crow has racked up major endorsements from Colorado Democrats, including former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and local politicians such as Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen.
Crow is one of four Democrats currently running for the party nomination. Already in the race are lawyer David Aarestad, former Bernie Sanders delegate Gabriel McArthur, and former Obama administration adviser and businessman Levi Tillemann, who officially announced his candidacy July 9.
Politcal pundits have marveled at the interest in the race against Coffman because the five-term Republican has so handily fought off heavy-hitting Democrats in decidedly competitive district.
While Crow is set to be a resident of the district he hopes to represent, that doesn’t mean he should be able to escape the label of a carpetbagger, said Daniel Cole, spokesman for the Colorado Republican Party.
“There’s a word for someone that moves into a district to run for an office: it’s carpetbagger. If he hadn’t moved into the district, we’d have to call him John Ossoff 2.0,” Cole said, referring to the Democratic politician that failed to win a special election in June. Ossoff lived outside of the district he tried to win.
“I’m not in a position to say how Coffman will hit Crow in a campaign,” Cole said. “There’s a lot that’s wrong with Crow as a candidate, and we shouldn’t get too bogged down in one issue. (His residency) is one flaw among several issues he has.”
Political analyst Floyd Ciruli said it’s hard to determine if a lack of residency in a district produces a drag on a candidate’s chances of winning an election given all the factors that go into an election. In cases like Ossoff and Andrew Romanoff, who moved into the 6th Congressional District to unsuccessfully challenge Coffman in 2014, the main result is it puts Coffman’s credibility as an Aurora resident front and center.
“(The issue) highlights Coffman’s strengths. Coffman is the district,” Ciruli said. “He has really established his bonafides as an Auroran in that district, and so consequently if you do live outside the district, it is a tremendous contrast between the two candidates.”