Big Line Updates: Democrats Appear to Have Slight Advantage

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we're updating The Big Line on a weekly basis. Remember: Percentages listed indicate our view of the win/loss outcome only (we are not attempting to guess margin of victory).

You can always access the full Big Line 2014, but below we provide a bit more detail about our thoughts on various races.
 

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (62%)
Cory Gardner (38%)
Senator Mark Udall has seen his momentum slow down of late, but that probably has more to do with the natural tightening of this race as October draws near. Public polling in Colorado has become about as reliable as a Ouija Board, though if the final outcome is within the general margin of error of most voter surveys, the data is largely irrelevant anyway. For Congressman Cory Gardner, the one thing that has yet to change remains his biggest problem: He just has too many bad votes on too many important issues. Gardner's campaign also seems to have no idea how to go after Udall effectively; they've been changing tactics like the rest of us change socks.

When all is said and done (or insert cliche of your choice), we always come back to the same question: If you had to gamble everything you had on predicting the winner of this race, would you really choose Gardner?

Neither would we.

 

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

This race continues to be one of the stranger contests we can remember because of its relatively low profile. Republican Bob Beauprez hasn't run a particularly strong, or interesting, campaign thus far — but perhaps it's enough to ask that his campaign doesn't crater as completely as it did in 2006. Governor John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, has been largely invisible for the last few months. No matter how you look at the race, it's hard to envision Beauprez actually ending up in the Governor's Mansion.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Cynthia Coffman (51%)
Don Quick (49%)
We've had Quick at the top of the Line for a very long time, so what's different? Nothing, really. In fact, it will be hard (post-election) to explain the outcome of this race no matter what happens in November. If this race were taking place in a bubble, we'd give the edge to Quick. But if Democrats win seats for Senate and Governor, history suggests that voters will split their ballot and pick Republicans for other statewide spots.

 

CD-6
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)
There may still be a "Coffman" in elected office come January; for the first time in 25 years, we don't think it will be Mike. In their third debate of the campaign, Democrat Andrew Romanoff completely demolished Congressman Mike Coffman. One debate does not a campaign make (or something like that), but the momentum in this race is unmistakably on the side of Romanoff. Coffman's campaign has been insisting that their guy is ahead in internal polling numbers — just don't ask for proof.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

 

VIDEO: Mike Coffman Rejects Climate Change

We discussed this during our Live Blog of last night's CO-6 debate between Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff, but you really need to see the video yourself as a visibly-uncomfortable Coffman rejects the issue of climate change outright. Coffman's answers came during the "Yes or No answer" segment of the debate:

Here's the transcript of the exchange:

MODERATOR #1 (Denver Post reporter Jon Murray): Mr. Coffman, do you believe humans are contributing significantly to Climate Change?

COFFMAN: Um…No.

MODERATOR #1: Mr. Romanoff?

ROMANOFF: Yes

MODERATOR #2 (Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett): Mr. Romanoff, do you think we can reverse Climate Change?

ROMANOFF: Yes

MODERATOR #2: Mr. Coffman?

COFFMAN: Don't know.

MODERATOR #2: Um, what? Sir?

COFFMAN: [long pause] No.

Coffman's answers to these two questions were not entirely unpredictable, but the Congressman was definitely uneasy — and a bit unsure of himself — in giving his answers. It was a strange way to answer a couple of questions that any pre-debate preparation should have covered repeatedly, so why was Coffman caught so off-guard?

Coffman vs. Romanoff, Round 3: Live Blog!

CD6Debate-Dpost1

Insert candidates here.

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. Tonight we're at the auditorium in the Denver Post building for CD-6 debate #3 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff. (we covered Round 1 in Highlands Ranch with a Live Blog on Aug. 14.)

*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:
Andrew Romanoff beat the absolute crap out of Mike Coffman tonight. It was almost unfair — Romanoff pummeled Coffman at every opportunity, while the incumbent largely just stood there quietly. This was stunning. Truly.

We can't get over Coffman's inability to hold his tongue completely. When Romanoff talked about Coffman's personal attacks, Coffman immediately responded…with personal attacks. Really, really, really weird.
 

7:04
Closing arguments.

Romanoff goes first, says time for a change in Congress.

Coffman says Time magazine recently named him one of the most effective Members of Congress(?). "God Bless you for being here tonight, and God Bless the United States."

7:00 pm
Coffman gets to ask his final question of Romanoff. He flips through his notes for a moment, seemingly forgetting what he wanted to ask.
 

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Romanoff Breaks Down Issues in Clear Language

People are naturally cynical about politicians. Sometimes that cynicism is justified, and it can often result from a politician's inability to speak to voters about issues in a way that is relatable to them.

Elias Isquith of Salon magazine recently interviewed Democrat Andrew Romanoff about his effort to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. There are several interesting parts to Isquith's wide-ranging interview with Romanoff, but one particular exchange stood out to us as a great example of why Romanoff is such a difficult opponent for Coffman. Take a look at how Romanoff answered a question about Coffman's support for shutting down the government last October:

When Congressman Coffman and his colleagues in the House voted to shut down the government a year ago, that inflicted real damage on Colorado, and I suspect on every other state — and people remember.

To give you some examples: If you were doing medical research at the campus here in Aurora, it’s called the Anschutz Medical Campus, and you can’t get a grant continued and you have to turn patients away because of the government shutdown, you remember. If you’re an employee at the local Air Force base, also here in Aurora, and you don’t know whether you’re going to have a job in the morning because your own congressman shut down the government, you remember. If you’re a senior who doesn’t know whether your Social Security check is going to arrive because your congressman shut down the government, you remember that pretty clearly. [Pols emphasis]

I actually just had this conversation, literally the question you’re asking me, at … one of the doors I was knocking on over the weekend in our district. And a woman asked me, she said, “Why are we paying you guys?” Meaning Congress. “If I don’t do my job,” she said, “I don’t get paid. And I certainly don’t get a vacation or a raise.” And it’s a really basic question. It’s an excellent point, I thought. If Congress operated on a pay-for-performance level, they’d be broke.

So it’s very hard for me to understand, and very hard for my neighbors here to understand, why we’re paying a guy who can’t even keep the government functioning, much less advance the priorities that we happen to share … I’d be thrilled if Congress voted to increase the minimum wage, addressed the student loan crisis; it’d be terrific if Congress took action to close the pay gap between men and women, and certainly it would be a great success if Congress took action on immigration reform.

With just a few sentences, Romanoff clearly outlined how and why the government shutdown directly related to voters and residents in CD-6. Romanoff's straightforward way of speaking about issues and their local relevance draws an incredibly sharp contrast with Coffman and his love of word salads.

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.

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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?