PERRY: Secret’s out for local GOP, Coffman reveals not all ballot choices are classified

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Clearly this difficult election has been made so hard for Republicans and all of us ornery reporters because we’re just not speaking the same language any more.

“Privacy” means one thing to may Republicans and something completely different to the media world.

Republicans in Aurora and Colorado and, hey, all across the country have been vocal about telling the likes of reporters here at the Aurora Sentinel and other places to quit trying to vote-shame them about whether they will or they won’t be voting for Donald Trump.

Congressman Mike Coffman and other Colorado big-office Republicans are being pummeled by stories about how they let a man who is arguably the worst presidential candidate in the history of presidential candidates to become the face of the GOP. They are tired beyond tears of us asking whether they’ll vote for Trump, and when they decided they wouldn’t, and how painfully they lament they ever heard of the guy. The problem for them is, such contrition would be good for the sole purpose of assuaging angry reasonable people, but such bad-mouthing of the man assured to Make America Great Again enrages the fiery Trump crowd.

When Aurora Sentinel reporters pressed down-ballot folks for who they’re supporting at the top of the ticket, there was chagrin, tap dancing and outright indignation.

At the top of the resentment this week was Republican Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, who sniffed at our question of will-you-or-won’t-you and declined to answer.

“The secret ballot is as much a cornerstone of American democracy as is freedom of the press, and last time I checked, officials and office holders of both parties still enjoy the right of a secret ballot,” Hogan told Reporter Brandon Johansson. He went on to say he didn’t think it was newsworthy to ask elected officials who they were voting for so close to the election. “That just doesn’t feel like reporting news to me. It feels like making news. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but it doesn’t feel right,” he said.

That was how Hogan felt until Thursday morning, when the campaign to re-elect Congressman Mike Coffman issued a release saying that Hogan and other Republican mayors in the metro area were only too happy to tell residents they were voting for Coffman, and they should, too.

“Mike has been a strong advocate for Aurora. He has made protecting Buckley AFB, and completing the V.A. Hospital critical priorities during his service in Congress. Mike deserves another term,” Hogan said, according to the release.

Apparently not all ballot secrets are worth keeping.

Hogan isn’t alone among local Republicans only too happy to share their ballot secret about their choice for Congress, but solemnly sworn to not tell a soul about their choice for president.

“All three Arapahoe County commissioners, commissioners Nancy Sharpe, Rod Bockenfeld and Nancy Doty, chimed in to support Mike,” Coffman’s campaign said in the release.

That bell rang flat, however, for Doty. Running now for a state Senate seat in southeast Aurora, Doty maintains that she can’t tell the Sentinel or anyone who she’s voting for president, because of the sacred secret ballot thing.

Of course, I could have this thing all wrong. Being truly secret, it could be that these local Republicans are more like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who may vote for one candidate while supporting another while circling in regard to an endorsement. It could well be these Republicans talk nice about Coffman in public, but then plan to vote for his Democrat challenger, state Sen. Morgan Carroll, when they get the lead out on the actual ballot. It would be their little secret.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and FaceBook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]