Democrats Land Mike Coffman Challenger in Colorado

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted July 7, 2015 at 1:11pm

Colorado state Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll announced her candidacy Tuesday against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in Colorado’s 6th District.  

Carroll, who will be term-limited out of her state Senate seat, had been considering a bid this spring and had met with both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List in May. While in Washington, she also attended a House Democratic Caucus meeting.  

But since that time, Coffman decided to run for re-election  rather than run for Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s Senate seat.  

Running against four-term incumbent Coffman makes Democrats’ job harder, but since redistricting made the 6th more competitive, the seat has been a top target for them. Democrats must net 30 seats to win control of the House.  

Democrats think they have a competitive candidate in Carroll, who is a third-generation Coloradan and has represented parts of the 6th District in the state Senate. They are eager to paint Coffman, who has voted with his party 94 percent of the time since he’s been in Congress, according to CQ Vote Watch , as out of touch with his district.  

But last cycle, in what was supposed to be a competitive election, Coffman defeated Democrat Andrew Romanoff by nearly 9 points. “He held onto his seat in a GOP wave, sure, but a lot of people did,” one national Democratic operative said.  

In 2012, Democrats came much closer to picking up the seat when Coffman defeated Democrat Joe Miklosi by just 2 points. Democrats are hopeful that a presidential year will help swing the district in their favor. Coffman is “going to have to get a lot of Hillary Clinton-Mike Coffman voters,” the Democratic operative said, suggesting there won’t be a lot of split-ticket voters in a district that went for President Barack Obama twice.  

“It will remain a tough (race), but I think it’s a good year to run. I’m hoping to be able to do a really strong grassroots campaign,” Carroll told The Aurora Sentinel . She’s launching a listening tour across the district later this month.  

Speaking to CQ Roll Call in May, Coffman said Carroll would be a “credible” candidate. The 6th District is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.