Mike Coffman Rules Out Colorado Senate Bid
Colorado 6th District Rep. Mike Coffman will not challenge Sen. Michael Bennet for Senate, The Denver Post reported Monday afternoon.
“I have decided to seek re-election in the House so that I may continue my mission to clean up the VA, where my position as Chairman of the House Veterans Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee has allowed me to shine a light on the culture of bureaucratic incompetence and corruption,” Coffman said in a prepared statement obtained by the Post.
The four-term congressman had been pressured by national Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with whom he dined last month to discuss mounting a bid against Colorado’s senior senator.
Coffman’s opting not to run opens up the field to a number of Colorado Republicans, beginning with his fellow House members. But there are no clear front-runners, making a divisive and expensive primary likely.
Republicans are unlikely to push freshman Rep. Ken Buck, who lost to Bennet in 2010, especially now that he’s in a safe House seat in the 4th District. Rep. Scott Tipton is content representing the 3rd District, Republican consultant Michael Fortney told CQ Roll Call last month.
Coffman’s wife, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, hasn’t ruled out running , but she’s only held the job — her first elected position — for six months.
Several state officials have expressed interest or been mentioned as possible contenders.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is currently prosecuting the high-profile 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, but the trial isn’t expected to end until late this year, preventing him from doing much campaigning.
Other names include state Sen. Ellen Roberts, state Sen. Owen Hill, who dropped out of the 2014 Senate primary, Steve Laffey, who lost to Buck in a primary last cycle, and businessman Robert Blaha.
Coffman’s decision is good news for the National Republican Congressional Committee as it tries to defend its House majority. Despite a competitive race last November in a district that was a top Democrat target, Coffman won re-election by 9 points. President Barack Obama carried Coffman’s district by 5 points in 2012 and 9 points in 2008, making Coffman again a top Democratic target this year.
The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates Coffman’s House seat as Favored Republican. The Senate seat is rated a Leans Democratic contest.
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