Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we'll be updating The Big Line on a weekly basis.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado:

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

We don't see either Udall or Gov. John Hickelooper losing in November, but for the first time, we have Udall as a slightly bigger favorite in his respective race. Gardner's campaign has been an absolute mess, and national politicos and reporters are coalescing around the idea that Udall is in the driver's seat now.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

We have this race tightening a little as Gov. Hickenlooper works his way out of a summer-long campaign funk. For Beauprez, this comes down to a lack of time — too much needs to happen in the next 4-6 weeks for Beauprez to have a realistic shot at knocking off Hickenlooper.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has not had a good month, but he's still favored to beat Democrat Betsy Markey. Meanwhile, we have the AG and SOS races as toss-ups at this point, primarily because it's difficult to determine whether any of the candidates can do much to control their own destiny; the amount of money pouring into the races for Senate, Governor, and CD-6 will make it nigh impossible for lower-tier statewide candidates to get their message out.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior of late. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff has nudged ahead as Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

New Romanoff Ad Rips Coffman on Abortion

A press release from Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff puts incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman on the hot seat over banning abortion and the Personhood ballot measures:

Romanoff's third TV ad, released today, focuses on Congressman Mike Coffman's long history of denying women the right to choose, supporting the Personhood amendment, and restricting reproductive rights. The ad features Karen, a resident of Colorado's 6th Congressional District, who emphasizes the personal nature of making these decisions and the importance of these rights.

"This is a matter of fundamental freedom.  Women should have the right to make their own health care choices," said Romanoff. "No one should have to surrender her most personal decisions to a politician, an employer, or anyone else."

"These are incredibly personal decisions that every woman must make for herself, but Congressman Coffman has pushed an agenda that takes these decisions out of our hands and puts them into his," said Denise Baron, spokeswoman for the Romanoff campaign.  "For 25 years, he's attempted to restrict our rights by voting to criminalize all abortions, outlaw common forms of birth control control, and restrict access to health care."

Last week, Congressman Coffman launched the first TV ad of his campaign, a brazen attempt to whitewash his decades-long opposition to women’s equality. The Romanoff campaign, along with state leaders, local activists, and CO-06 voters, launched a social media campaign to highlight the more than 50 votes the congressman has taken in the past four years to perpetuate gender discrimination and restrict women's rights.  Romanoff's new ad highlights Rep. Coffman's votes and actions to restrict women's reproductive rights. 

A big research dump of Coffman's anti-choice votes follows after the jump. Republicans surely aren't happy to see this ad, hitting on an issue they're as tired of as they are fearful: but there's a distinct lack of angry responses as of this writing from Coffman's campaign.

The reason may be simple: drawing further attention to this issue just makes it worse.

(more…)

Countdown Coffman: Mike Coffman Likes Saying Words

Jorge Ramos Rep. Mike Coffman

Jorge Ramos, left, and Rep. Mike Coffman (not left)

Colorado's Sixth Congressional District was the focus of a piece that appeared on "America With Jorge Ramos" on Fusion TV. For those unfamiliar with Jorge Ramos, he is often cited as the most popular Hispanic news anchor in America, in part due to his position as lead anchor with Noticero Univision. Ramos has a very direct interview style that attempts to get right at an issue, and those skills were on display during interviews with both Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

The "America With Jorge Ramos" story includes both interviews as well as a feature-style look at the race in CD-6. There are interesting moments in each interview — particular the confidence shown by Romanoff when asked about the race overall — but the standout once again is Coffman (and not in a good way). Whether it is during a debate or in video segments that show the candidates side-by-side, Romanoff comes off much more personal, engaging, and honest. Coffman, by comparison, appears fidgety and uncomfortable with his own words, as you can read from an early exchange in the Ramos interview:

Ramos: Do you support, right now, immigration reform in the House?

Coffman: "I do. I just think there's gotta be a middle path to this. I believe in a step-by-step process. We can have a comprehensive approach without having one massive bill. But we've got to move forward."

Good Gravy! Is there a better example of parsing phrases — not even just words — in a more meaningless fashion? Last July, Coffman wrote an Op-Ed for the Denver Post in which he said, "The time has come for comprehensive immigration reform." Coffman now says that comprehensive immigration reform is bad, which is a complete reversal. Ramos did his homework on this issue and was aware of Coffman's changing rhetoric, which came to a fantastic conclusion above when Coffman just tried to fit every buzzphrase he could think of into one answer…saying absolutely nothing in the process.

Coffman looks much better when he just gives a straightforward answer to a straightforward question a little later in the interview:

Ramos: So did you change your mind on immigration?

Coffman: "Yes."

Of course, this is a very truthful answer to a somewhat limited question. The question should have been, "So are you still changing your mind on immigration? Coffman could still have truthfully answered 'Yes,' though that is exactly his problem right now. Mike Coffman is saying anything about everything (or everything about anything, if you prefer), and he's clearly hoping that voters are too stupid or too preoccupied to notice. It is often a telling sign about the direction of a race when incumbent candidates such as Coffman just start taking every position on an issue; that means you're (a) not confident about what you're selling, and/or (b) not confident that voters like how you are selling it. But what if voters do see what's happening?

Candidates that have discovered their path to victory don't usually find it necessary to reach out in every direction at once.

 

Boehner Back to Denver to Raise Money for Countdown Coffman

aeiucircbrownpalace

House Speaker John Boehner hosted a fundraiser at the Brown Palace hotel back in May, which attracted plenty of outside attention.

As Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported yesterday:

House Speaker John Boehner is coming to Denver Tuesday to campaign for one the GOP’s most endangered members, Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Coffman faces a challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in one of the most competitively drawn seats in the country. Tickets for the fundraiser range from $2,500 to $250.

This election cycle, Coffman is the only GOP incumbent defending a House seat that could go either way, according to top political pundits such as Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg.

Apparently Boehner is a fan of the Brown Palace hotel. Boehner was in Denver back in May to do a Coffman fundraiser, though presumably this visit will not again include former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Coffman is fighting for his political life this election season, and getting a second visit from the big orange man himself is another in a long list of signs that Countdown Coffman is well and truly underway.

Mike Coffman Explains Why Koch Brothers Story is Important

Riccardi-Coffman-Tweet

Associated Press reporter Nick Riccardi didn’t miss the relevance of Rep. Mike Coffman’s donor-access admission.

Media outlets from across the country are jumping on the leaked audio from a secret Koch Brothers retreat this summer in which a few high-profile Republican candidates — including Rep. Cory Gardner — are heard getting all gooey in praising the infamous Kochs for their financial commitment to Tea Party and Republican politics. But before you dismiss this as another round of nonsense partisan politics, there's a very real reason why this story is so important (and why it is getting so much attention): Republicans have been very open about the quid pro quo that is taking place between big donors and politicians.

Exasperated Mike Coffman

Did I say that out loud? Aw, crap.

Check out this clip of Rep. Mike Coffman from a CD-6 candidate debate in Aurora on Aug. 15, in which the incumbent berates challenger Andrew Romanoff over the latter's refusal to accept PAC money…while making the clear point that Coffman donors get preferential treatment (full clip after the jump — fast forward to 00:45 for the specific statement). That campaign donors are often granted more access to politicians is nothing groundbreaking — but talking about it so openly is pretty odd.

Coffman's re-election campaign has benefited greatly from a heavy dose of television ads paid for by Americans for Prosperity, the political organization created and funded by the Koch Brothers. Not only that, but David Koch himself had already maxed out to Coffman's campaign before the end of April (PDF document).

Whether it's Gardner doing the Koch stroke, or Coffman using General Dynamics as an example of a donor who didn't get their money's worth, the key here is that Republican elected officials are openly discussing the fact that they are going to listen to their top donors first and foremost — leaving regular ol' Coloradans somewhere down a very long list of priorities.

As the liberal group ProgressNow asked in a press release this morning, the critical question isn't about where these donations came from; what matters is what donors like the Koch Brothers have been promised in return for their largesse.

 

(more…)

Big Line Updates; Now, with Percentages!

We have occasionally changed the appearance of The Big Line from representing fractional odds to presenting percentages. It's a matter of preference, of course, but as Election Day nears and Colorado Pols attracts more and new readers, we figured now would be a good time to switch again to percentages.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado. For the first time this cycle, we've also added Lines for State Senate and State House majorities, respectively.

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

Gardner has been throwing multiple messages at the wall of late, which is typically the sign of a campaign that doesn't feel confident in the direction it is headed. There's a saying in football that if you are rotating more than one quarterback into the game, then you don't really have a quarterback. If you're a Gardner fan, this is a very difficult question to answer: What is his path to victory here?

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (68%)
Bob Beauprez (32%)

While there has never been a point in this race where it really felt like Gov. Hickenlooper was in trouble, Hick has made enough errors that it has provided Beauprez with an opportunity. Still, Beauprez can't win just by running a decent race; if Hick stops his stumble, there's not enough room for Beauprez to squeeze past in November.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
With so much money going into races for the U.S. Senate and CD-6, there will be little oxygen left in the room for candidates in the other statewide races after Governor. It's difficult to tell at this stage whether any of the candidates will be able to do enough to make their own luck.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (54%)
Mike Coffman (46%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior in last week's debates. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff is now rising steadily while Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 

STATE SENATE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (55%)
REPUBLICANS (45%)

We usually wait until this point in the cycle to attempt handicapping state legislative outcomes, but our analysis is similar to what we anticipated in the aftermath of the June Primary. Tea Party victories in two key Senate districts (SD-19 and SD-22) make winning the majority an uphill battle for Republicans.


STATE HOUSE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (75%)
REPUBLICANS (25%)

The ballot wasn't even completely settled until recently, but the direction of this battle has been clear for some time. Republicans have had difficulty even finding candidates for 2014; the GOP will be lucky not to lose a seat or two at this point.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Countdown Coffman: The End is Near

Exasperated Mike Coffman

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman practicing his “I’m screwed” face.

Last Thursday and Friday marked an important milestone in the race for CD-6 when incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman joined challenger Andrew Romanoff for the first official debates between the two candidates. A few months from now, we may look back at August 14th and 15th as seminal moments – the first glimpse of the end of Coffman’s 25-year political career.

Coffman is facing what is without question the most difficult campaign in a career that began with his election as a State Representative in 1989. He has since been elected as a State Senator, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State prior to advancing to his current Congressional seat in 2008. Coffman has dispatched plenty of challengers as his political star ascended, but never has he faced an opponent the caliber of Romanoff – a charismatic, likable Democrat with strong name ID, serious policy chops, and an ability to raise massive amounts of money for his campaign.

Political pundits across the country consider CD-6 to be among the most competitive races anywhere in 2014, and when all of the checks have been written by supporters and interest groups, total spending should be in the staggering range of $25 million. Money, or a lack thereof, will not be the deciding factor in this race because each side will have no shortage of resources to draw upon. The outcome in CD-6 will be decided instead on other intangible qualities, and after last week’s debates, the countdown is unmistakably visible for Coffman.

In the first debate last Thursday, sponsored by the South Metro Chamber of Commerce (now available online at DenverPost.com/electionshow), Coffman appeared irritable and unsteady next to the more confident and affable Romanoff. But it wasn’t until the next morning, at a debate in Aurora sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, in which Coffman…cracked.

Check out Coffman’s angry response below to a challenge from Romanoff that is virtually identical from the same point made one day earlier. Instead of brushing off Romanoff’s challenge to stop accepting PAC money, Coffman explodes:

Now take a look (after the jump) at this clip from the end of the debate. Coffman scrambles to gather his papers and exit the stage, moving quickly as if his car were being towed outside. This is not the image of a man who feels confident about his position in this campaign.

Should Coffman end up losing his seat in November, it won’t be because of his performance at these debates – that’s not the point we’re trying to make here. What we are saying is that last week's debates may prove to be the seminal moment in which Colorado politicos saw the end of the line for Coffman. Countdown Coffman has begun.

(more…)

Live Blog: Coffman v. Romanoff, Round 1

UPDATE 11:20AM: American Bridge now eagerly circulating what could be the defining moment of today's debate, in which GOP Rep. Mike Coffman forgets something very, very important about his position on abortion rights:

Like we said, this will be in a TV spot very soon. Maybe more than one.

—–

CD6 Debate

Mike Coffman, Andrew Romanoff, Aaron Harber (left to right)

It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again. That's right, friends: It's live-blog time!

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. This morning (yes, morning), we're at the Hilton Garden Inn in Highlands Ranch for the first CD-6 debate between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.


FINAL THOUGHTS:
If campaigns were decided in debates, Andrew Romanoff would be a shoo-in for Congress. He's a much better speaker, much better prepared, and has a general way with the audience that draws people in. Romanoff also stayed on topic and had a few good jabs at Coffman.

As for Coffman, he seemed…off. Coffman stumbled badly on a couple of questions, particularly one about abortion rights. It would be hard to walk away from this debate remembering much of anything from Coffman that was generally positive. His dour, somewhat angry demeanor was a stark contrast to a fresher Romanoff.
 

9:27
Coffman's closing statements.

Says he moved to Aurora 50 years ago. Father was enlisted soldier who dreamed of owning a small business. Says mother and father worked very hard on that business, but it failed. Whenever I see a small business shutter, I often think that there is a family behind it.

This is good stuff from Coffman. Where was this earlier?

Coffman continuing story about Coffman and Co. HVAC that still exists today?

Coffman is telling his life story now. Hard to make transition from military to business life. Says he took savings and built a small business.

Talking way too much about military transition to civilian life; it's a good anecdote, but not worth 2 minutes in a debate.

Finishes with something about finding solutions. Pretty weak close.
 

9:23
Closing statement time. Each candidate gets 4 minutes for some reason.

Romanoff: We've known each other for at least 15 years. We disagree on a number of issues, but not on our love for this country. That's not at issue in this debate.

Says strengthening economy starts with improving access to higher education. Strengthen middle class with equal pay for equal work. New energy economy.

Talks about leading House of Representatives when Republican Bill Owens was governor. "We never shut down the whole government over our issues."

"I respect Congressman Coffman. We take a different view…but I believe he is sincere in his views."

"If you elect me to the House of Representatives, I can't promise I will get everything done. But if we elect the same crowd, nothing is going to change." Great close.
 

(more…)

Romanoff Waxes Centrist In First TV Spot

The Denver Post's Jon Murray reports on Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff's first ad, now playing:

In the ad, the former Colorado House speaker touts a record of balanced budgets, with legislators working across the aisle to make tough choices. The contrast to Congress’ partisan gridlock is clear.

Of course, as Romanoff points out, the state constitution requires a balanced budget each year. He ends the spot by saying “it ought to be the law in Washington, too.” Romanoff has said he supports a balanced-budget amendment…

The ad’s simple lines leave little to pick apart factually, opening with: “It’s really pretty simple. You don’t buy things you can’t pay for. But that’s what Congress does all the time, spending our tax dollars on perks and privileges, while racking up a mountain of debt.” It’s an ad that Romanoff hopes will cast him as financially responsible in a district where he needs to win over plenty of moderates.

A little more from Romanoff campaign spokesperson Denise Baron:

Romanoff’s communications director, Denise Baron, noted the different approaches of the two candidates in this race. “Congressman Coffman and his colleagues voted for a budget that would shift the tax burden onto middle class families, make college more expensive, and force seniors to pay thousands more in Medicare costs. Andrew supports a balanced budget plan that grows the economy, protects Social Security, and puts the middle class first.”

It's not an ad aimed at partisan Democrats, but for the purposes of introducing Romanoff to lay CD-6 voters, that's just fine. The story of Romanoff's background in the Colorado legislature, where the budget must constitutionally balance each year, makes a great counter to trying to pre-emptively hold Romanoff responsible for fiscal profligacy in Washington, DC. It would make a good follow-up for Romanoff to make clear that said fiscal irresponsibility is the fault of Republican tax cuts and wars as much as anything Democrats have done, but that's maybe a better point for later in the cycle.

For today, Romanoff has a well-produced ad up that doesn't go expressly negative, but nonetheless responds squarely to a central Republican talking point. We'd call that a good investment.

Coffman Can’t Spin His Way Out Of Losing To Romanoff Again

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, time to break out the hip waders in the marquee CD-6 race:

Congressman Mike Coffman’s campaign is claiming momentum after winning the June fundraising period over Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff in one of the most competitive House races of the 2014 cycle.

Coffman’s campaign brought in $405,000 between June 5 and June 30, more than Romanoff, who raised $373,000 in the latest reporting period…

The problem is, fundraising performance is generally measured by the quarter.

The press release from Coffman’s campaign didn’t mention that it brought in $742,000 during the year’s second quarter as a whole, which is $100,000 less than the $842,000 quarterly haul Romanoff’s campaign announced Monday. [Pols emphasis]

Mike Coffman's campaign spin notwithstanding, this Q2 of 2014 was the fourth straight quarter in which Democrat Andrew Romanoff has outraised one of the nation's most vulnerable incumbents. Romanoff is almost $400,000 ahead of Coffman now in terms of cash on hand–$2.67 million to $2.3 million. It makes sense, given that Coffman's lackluster fundraising is increasingly casting a shadow on his campaign, that they would try to find some way of spinning this result. In the one month of June, Coffman can plausibly say he barely beat Romanoff.

But as you can see, reporters aren't buying the spin. And when that happens, sometimes the spin becomes the story.

Where Is the “Leveling Point” in CD-6?

The Colorado Pols Leveling Point

Yes, this is absolutely a terrible graphic

We frequently discuss fundraising results here on Colorado Pols, because in politics, fundraising matters more than well…anything, really. You can have all the grassroots and volunteer support in the world, but as many a candidate has found, none of that really matters unless you have enough money to both run a campaign and reach out to voters (largely through television ads).

But as we watch the money continue to pour into the various candidates and issue committees in CD-6, we've started to wonder: When all sides are raising and spending ridiculous sums of money, at what point does the financial piece of ad spending stop moving the needle? In other words, if there is a "Tipping Point" in fundraising, is there also a "Leveling Point?"

As Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post reported today, the race for Congress in CD-6 is getting pretty expensive already:

In an effort to preserve and pick-up as many House seats as possible this November, the National Republican Congressional Committee plans to spend upwards of $30 million in TV ad buys, with the largest buy carved out for the Denver media market.

The NRCC has reserved $3.3 million in TV ad space to aid incumbent GOP Congressman Mike Coffman as he defends his Aurora-based 6th Congressional District seat. Coffman, who is vying for a fourth-term, is being challenged by Democrat Andrew Romanoff, a former speaker of the Colorado House…

By contrast, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to date has reserved $1.4 million in the Denver market this fall to help Romanoff.

Per the most recently-available campaign finance reports, Democrat Andrew Romanoff has about $2.3 million in cash on hand, compared to $1.96 million for incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, but those figures are starting to become largely meaningless as third-party spending levels increase. According to OpenSecrets.org, more than $6 million has been raised by Romanoff and Coffman — the fourth-highest total of any House race in the country. If we include the money already pledged by the NRCC and the DCCC, respectively, we've already surpassed $10 million — and that doesn't include what has already been spent or pledged by third-party groups.

According to Roll Call, the most expensive House race in 2012 was for Florida's 18th District, with combined spending from candidates and outside groups adding up to $29 million; the campaign for Republican Rep. Allen West raised and spent nearly $18 million alone, however, making that race a bit of an outlier. The next four most-expensive races on Roll Call's list were in the $15-17 million range — a figure that the 2014 race for CD-6 should obliterate by about August.

There was some discussion following the 2012 Presidential Race about the idea that both President Obama and Mitt Romney raised and spent so much money that they were almost cancelling each other out on television; what ultimately made the difference, in terms of resources, was probably the Obama Campaign's unprecedented list-building and voter-ID programs. (This would only be true for the General Election, of course, since fundraising is still vitally important during the long and plodding Primary process).

From our vantage point, it is quite possible that campaign spending in CD-6 will end up being a non-factor in deciding the outcome of the race. If that proves true, it will be other intangibles that make the difference in November. It's difficult to try to guess what will ultimately be the next "Tipping Point" in the race, which is where you come in, Polsters. What say you? If the money ends up being about even, what will push one candidate past the other?

 

Cough-Coffman…Mike and Cynthia Voting Story Gets Weirder

On Friday we discussed an odd bit of trivia related to Mike and Cynthia Coffman; while Congressman Mike can vote for Cynthia in the race for Attorney General, Cynthia cannot vote for Mike because she doesn't live in his Congressional District. The original story from Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post included an explanation (of sorts) from a spokesperson with Cynthia Coffman's campaign for AG:

“Cynthia and Mike owned their own homes before they were married,” said Sarah Lenti, a spokeswoman for the attorney general campaign. “Mike works in Washington, D.C., but for the weekends, and Cynthia lives and works in Denver as chief deputy attorney general.”

Lenti added that Cynthia Coffman lives in the home “closest to her work.”

We thought that this initial response to a seemingly minor story was oddly unemotional, since this is the kind of query that can often be deflected with a joke. But now we understand why they may have been more cautious. As a search of public voter records makes clear, Cynthia Coffman has indeed voted for Mike, registering to vote at his Aurora address in November 2007. What neither Coffman has explained, however, it why Cynthia changed her voter registration in March 2011 back to her home in Denver.

We've mapped out the changes in the graphic below. It certainly doesn't appear as though the Coffmans are doing anything illegal — though we see no reason why Cynthia would change her voter registration back and forth so often — but as we've said from the beginning of this story, the whole thing is just…weird.

Coffman Family Voting Tree

If you think this is confusing, you should have seen the pie chart.

Mike Coffman’s Wife Can’t Vote for Him

Cynthia Coffman

Maybe Cynthia Coffman just needs more closet space.

Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post has a fascinatingly odd story about Rep. Mike Coffman and his wife, Cynthia Coffman:

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is in the battle of his political career this November where every vote matters but one vote he won’t receive — at least as of now — comes from one of his staunchest allies: his wife Cynthia Coffman.

Cynthia Coffman, the state’s chief deputy attorney general who is the GOP nominee for attorney general, isn’t a registered voter in the Aurora-based 6th Congressional District her husband represents. Instead, she’s a registered voter in the Denver-based 1st Congressional District [6].

Cynthia Coffman has been a registered voter in Denver since 2011. In 2012, she didn’t cast a vote for her husband, who won re-election to his competitive seat that year by about 2 percentage points.

Lee goes on to quote a spokesperson from Cynthia Coffman's campaign with a weirdly antiseptic explanation about how they lived in different houses before they got married and Cynthia lives in the house closest to her office (Mike Coffman's campaign — shocker! — did not return a request for comment). You'd think that either Coffman would want to interject some humor or emotion at some point here, because it just seems a little strange; why would Cynthia not just change her voter registration to Mike's address? This isn't overly complicated.

 

VA Secretary Shinseki Resigns

As CNN reports:

Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned Friday, President Barack Obama announced.

Obama said he would demand accountability if problems were found at VA medical facilities and accepted Shinseki’s resignation. The two met at the White House before the president announced the development, which came as political pressure mounted for the Cabinet officer to step down.

“I regret he has to resign under these circumstances,” Obama said.

Obama said Shinseki “told me this morning the VA needs new leadership to address” widespread problems in the VA system and that Shinseki “does not want to be a distraction.”

Aurora Sentinel Finds Coffman Votes Don’t Match VA Rhetoric

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Coffman will now take your questions…nah, just kidding.

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is one of many Members of Congress to call for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki as part of the ongoing scandal surrounding care at VA Hospitals around the country. But as Aaron Cole reports in the Aurora Sentinel, Coffman's voting record doesn't exactly match his rhetoric:

Aurora U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, as recently as January voted against a spending bill that would have set aside as much as $100 million for overtime and additional training for claims processors to reduce the growing backlog of veterans waiting for care. Coffman joined 66 other Republicans in the House, including Colorado congressmen Doug Lamborn, Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton, in voting against that appropriations bill. VA officials and the Obama Administration are embroiled in a nationwide controversy over shoddy medical care for veterans…

Coffman did not comment on his vote after repeated requests. [Pols emphasis] The Marines veteran and longtime Colorado politician is running for a fourth term to his 6th Congressional District against former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, a Democrat. The race is predicted to be one of the most expensive and competitive during the 2014 midterm election. Both sides are now targeting VA issues as election fodder.

Locally, Coffman has been critical of the VA’s handling of a replacement hospital being built in Aurora, which is the focus of a controversy about being over budget. Hundreds of millions in funding for the maligned Aurora VA hospital have also been packaged in larger spending bills that have faced opposition by Coffman and other GOP lawmakers. Two large bills that provided nearly $200 million in funding for the hospital in Aurora were opposed by Coffman in the years leading up to this most recent spate of criticism for mismanagement. A funding bill in 2009 for $119 million and a funding bill in 2011 for $42 million set aside for the VA hospital in Aurora were both opposed by Coffman. The 2011 appropriations bill would have been drafted by Republicans in control of Congress.

While it is certainly no real surprise to see Coffman saying one thing and doing another — he is, after all, a man who adjusts ideological positions like the rest of us change socks — but we're perplexed at Coffman's continued inability to deal with the media in an intelligent manner. You'd think Coffman would have learned more from his "Obama is not an American" debacle two years ago, but he and/or his campaign seem incapable of understanding that working with the media is a two-way street.

There are plenty of vanilla responses that Team Coffman could have provided to the Aurora Sentinel, and any of them would have been better than ending up with the sentence, "Coffman did not comment on his vote after repeated requests."

It's difficult to maintain that you have nothing to hide when your default response is…well, to hide.