Roll Call’s Alexis Levinson reports today on growing Democratic excitement in Washington, D.C.–and trepidation from Republicans–about a possible run by Colorado Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll for incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s CD-6 seat:
Coffman has proved resilient over his four terms. He has been a top Democratic target since redistricting reshaped his solidly Republican district into a more competitive one. After a tight race in 2012, defeating his opponent by 2 points, he easily toppled former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff by 9 points last fall…
State Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll, term-limited out of her seat, has emerged as the top choice over the past few weeks. She has met with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and she attended the House Democratic Caucus meeting last week, shadowing Rep. Jared Polis during her time at the Capitol, according to a source with knowledge of her visit. Carroll has a reputation as a strong fundraiser, and represented the area as a member of the state House and while practicing law there.
That profile alone makes her appealing to Colorado Democrats, who say one of the problems the past two cycles was running two white men who were viewed as carpetbaggers.
“With Hillary [Rodham Clinton] at the top of the ticket, having a woman candidate only makes sense,” said Colorado Democratic consultant Laura Chapin. [Pols emphasis]
The only downside Roll Call speculates about with Sen. Carroll relates to her voting record in the legislature, and the likelihood of “gotcha” attacks on votes she’s taken similar to what we’ve seen leveled against Coffman’s last two CD-6 opponents. As we’ve noted, however, the big difference this time is Sen. Carroll’s willingness–even eagerness–to run on her record, and to articulately defend both her career and the progressive ideals she has always campaigned on.
Unlike 2014’s Andrew Romanoff, Carroll is not a Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) “milquetoast” Democrat who will shy away from her principles, and that may be exactly the edge against the aggressively reinvented Coffman that she needs to avoid Romanoff’s fate. It’s worth remembering, and we’ll have many occasions to point it out in the months ahead, that the victories both Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner enjoyed last year were primarily the result of those candidates flanking their opponents on the left–a tactic that Carroll’s unambiguous progressive record renders ineffective.
Sources tell us that as of this writing, Carroll is “leaning toward” entering the CD-6 race. The increasing likelihood of a tough challenge for CD-6 is reportedly giving both Coffman and national Republican strategists pause, delaying what may once have been an easy decision for Coffman to step up to the U.S. Senate race in 2016–though there is debate on this point as well, with some close to the decision maintaining that he has always been unsure about challenging Michael Bennet.
As of now, Coffman and Republican strategists have an additional worry.