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Colorado’s Coffman Vulnerable Under New Lines

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He got a major break last week when former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff endorsed him instead of launching his own campaign. The Democratic field is far from settled. There is an “active rumor mill” in the state, according to Colorado Democratic State Party spokesman Matt Inzeo. “I don’t think we’d be surprised if one, possibly two more, candidates” get into the race, he said.

Inzeo describes the party as “excited” about the Miklosi campaign.

Physician Perry Haney, a former chiropractor, officially threw his hat in the ring for the 6th district’s Democratic nomination on Wednesday. It was previously speculated he might vie with Pace for the Democratic nod in the 3rd district. He is running on the slogan: “There’s nothing wrong with Congress that a spine doctor with a backbone can’t cure.”

Roll Call Politics rates the newly drawn 6th as a Tossup. Republicans believe it is a Leans Republican district.

The narrative Democrats are pushing is that Coffman is too conservative and no longer fits his more moderate district. In a November interview with Roll Call, Miklosi went so far as to describe the incumbent as “radical,” and Democrats call him “extreme,” citing his membership in the Tea Party Caucus and comments comparing Social Security to a Ponzi scheme when praising Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) in September. Perry’s stance on Social Security has contributed to his slide in polls for the GOP presidential nod.

“My record is absolutely not extreme nor radical, but my guess is what is not true, they’ll make up,” Coffman told Roll Call.

Colorado will be one of the most heavily targeted states in the presidential race, given its swingy nature — it backed George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and Obama in 2008 after he accepted the party nod in Denver. Both party’s nominees will benefit from presidential campaign infrastructures. What they will not have are statewide campaigns to piggyback off of volunteer networks. Neither Senator is up for re-election this year, and statewide elections are held in off-years. That means Congressional candidates will appear directly below the presidential candidate names on the ballot. And although the presidential campaigns are expected to make heavy ad buys in the state, the House campaigns will not have to compete with statewide campaigns for ad time.

The Obama campaign is betting big on Colorado in 2012. The state is part of what Obama campaign manager Jim Messina described to reporters last week as “the West path.” He said the Obama campaign intends to campaign heavily in western states such as Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. The West was “how the Democrats kept control of the United States Senate in 2010,” Messina said.

Correction: Dec. 27, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Haney's current profession.

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