Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has prevailed in Colorado’s 6th District, one of the closest-watched House races in the country, with The Associated Press projecting he will beat Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll.
Coffman led Carroll 51 percent to 43 percent with 70 percent of precincts reporting.
Colorado’s 6th District is anchored by Aurora, the state’s third largest city, and includes the outer suburbs north, east and south of Denver. Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Tilts Republican by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
Coffman made news with an August TV ad in which he said he didn’t care much for his party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump. He was among the first congressional Republicans to call on Trump to step aside after the release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tapes in early October. But Coffman later said he didn’t know if he’d vote for president.
That didn’t stop Democrats from trying to tie him to Trump in this increasingly diverse suburban district that President Barack Obama twice won.
The GOP congressman has been a perennial Democratic target. In 2012, Coffman won re-election by just 2 points. He expanded his victory margin to 9 points two years later in 2014, a good year for the GOP.
Coffman has made an effort to reach out to his diversifying constituency, running ads this year that touted his advocacy for the Ethiopian community.
Undefeated in four elections at the state level, the latest challenger, Carroll, was a third-generation Coloradan, from a family with a history in public service.
When Coffman was first elected to the House in 2008, he represented a solidly Republican 6th District in suburban Denver — its previous representative was Tom Tancredo, an archconservative nationally known for hard-line stances on illegal immigration.
But Coffman was on the short end of redistricting heading into the 2012 election. Under the new lines, the GOP had only a single-digit percentage point edge in voter registration in the district which was now 20 percent Hispanic.
The saving grace for the congressman is that Aurora, the district center which leans Democratic, is his hometown. He was born at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, where his father was stationed with the Army, and the family lived there for about a year before bouncing between Alaska, Arkansas and Europe.