Who’s Perry Haney, Again?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Perry Haney, running again to be a “career politician”.

So who is this Perry Haney guy who’s going to challenge Morgan Carroll for the CD6 Democratic nomination?

1. A Chiropractor, who has had his medical license restricted in two different states (IA and CO) because of unnecessary massage therapy, and overcharging patients. Pols, 12/13/1, quoting from the IA board findings.

2. A “moderate Democrat” who has donated $16,000,mostly to Democratic legislators or committees since 2009. He contributed to Scott McInnnis’ run for Governor in ’09. TRACER, contribution search.

3. Someone with no facebook presence at all, as Nancy Cronk noted in the #1 post. He seems to get around to Democratic fundraisers, and is mentioned by others, but has no social media presence of his own. This always raises a red flag for me; I interpret it as the track of someone who doesn’t want to be bound by past history. Facebook search

4. A perennial candidate for CD6,  Perry ran in 2012, and loaned himself $370,000 to do so. Pols, 2/2012 article

5. Haney flirted with the idea of running in CD3 in 2012. He ended up running, then dropping out of the running for CD6 , after he received a campaign finance complaint from Call’s CRCC . Haney had  raised substantial monies without committing himself as a candidate. Pols, Legal briefs on file with FEC.

6. A guy with good credit, apparently, as he took out a $1 million loan to self-finance the CD6 campaign. FEC page for Perry Haney. Morgan Carroll has no finances on file with the FEC as of July 17, 2015.

7. A candidate that Colorado Republicans love to write about (because otherwise, you see, they would have to write about Morgan Carroll). Colorado Peak Politics.

8. A candidate with no identifiable issues or positions, except that he’s “tired of career politicians in Washington”, and “thinks CD6 deserves better”. I agree.  To start with, we need a real Democrat, not just a Republican Lite contender like Perry Haney.

After briefly wrapping himself in the Planned Parenthood logo, Coffman back to hating the organization

(Naturally – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman came out swinging against Planned Parenthood yesterday, telling KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, “It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood.”

Then why did Coffman feature a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad just last year, Caplis should have asked Coffman. Coffman’s 2014 ad stated that Coffman “was praised for protecting women from violence” and showed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo on the screen.

Judging from yesterday’s radio interview, Coffman has a list of longstanding grievances against Planned Parenthood, and Caplis would have done his listeners a favor by asking Coffman what they are. What was Coffman thinking of when he said Planned Parenthood has done “one thing after another?”

When Coffman’s ad ran last year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded by pointing out that Coffman “voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings.”

In 2011, Coffman voted against Planned Parenthood funding, as part of a House resolution to the federal budget billHR 36, which prohibited  making funds available  “for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”

For most of his political career, Coffman maintained his ardent opposition to abortion,even in the cases of rape and incest, as well as his support for personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, which would have outlawed all abortion and some forms of birth control.

However, in 2013, Coffman flipped, and his office stated that the Congressman supported giving rape victims the option of having an abortion. Coffman has never explained what motivated this change, leaving everyone to conclude that he was trying to shine himself up for women voters in his swing district. Hence, his unauthorized use of the Planned Parenthood logo in the ad.

Coffman made his comments about Planned Parenthood in response to Caplis’ question about recent allegations by conservatives against the organization, which it has denied.

Kopel shows independence in praising Morgan Carroll

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Last week on Colorado Public Television’s Colorado Inside Out, Dave Kopel showed real independence, not allegiance to the ideology of the Independence Institute, where he works, when he called Democrat Morgan Carroll  “formidable” and a “really excellent” candidate to take on Republican Rep. Mike Coffman next year.

Kopel, who also praised Coffman, has a reputation as an arch conservative, but he also has an admirable independent streak. And it was good to see him calling the Aurora congressional race like he sees it, rather than caving to the Coffman backers who undoubtedly swarm around Kopel’s office.

Kopel (Watch at 7:35 here): She is a formidable candidate. Her political skills are not only the ones she’s developed in her own life, but her political DNA is about as powerful as you can have in Colorado… The Carroll family has been involved, usually as winning candidates, in Colorado politics since the 1930s. So she is going to be very strong. And Mike Coffman works very hard. So I think you can look at this as a national A plus versus A plus marquis match up of really excellent candidates on both sides.

Kopel, who’s a regular guest on the Channel 12 public affairs show, is best known nationally as a fierce opponent of gun control measures. He’s been involved in Second-Amendment cases across the country, and even before the U.S. Supreme Court. He’s an expert on a wide range of topics, including the Virgin Mary.

Carroll formally announced her run against Coffman earlier this month.

Colorado Republicans Freak Out Over Iran Nuclear Deal

Negotiations_about_Iranian_Nuclear_Program_-_the_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_and_Other_Officials_of_the_P5+1_and_Ministers_of_Foreign_Affairs_of_Iran_and_EU_in_LausanneAs the New York Times reports:

Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States said they had reached a historic accord on Tuesday to significantly limit Tehran’s nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions.

The deal culminates 20 months of negotiations on an agreement that President Obama had long sought as the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency. Whether it portends a new relationship between the United States and Iran — after decades of coups, hostage-taking, terrorism and sanctions — remains a bigger question.

Mr. Obama, in an early morning appearance at the White House that was broadcast live in Iran, began what promised to be an arduous effort to sell the deal to Congress and the American public, saying the agreement is “not built on trust — it is built on verification.”

Leading Jewish progressive advocacy group J Street praises the agreement in a statement today:

The deal is complex and multi-faceted, and it will take some time to analyze all its features. However, from what we have seen so far and what we have learned from President Barack Obama and the negotiators, this agreement appears to accurately reflect the parameters set forth in the April 2 framework.

It also appears to meet the critical criteria around which a consensus of US and international non-proliferation experts has formed for a deal that verifiably blocks each of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.

We congratulate President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the other members of the P5+1 for having the resolve, determination, patience and persistence to bring such a difficult negotiation to a successful conclusion.

It will be important for Congress to carefully review this agreement on its merits and at the same time be mindful of the likely consequences of its rejection: a collapse of diplomacy and international sanctions as Iran pushes forward with a nuclear program unimpeded. [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Don’t tell any of this “diplomacy” stuff to GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who is vowing to help scuttle the deal:

“The economic sanctions should be strengthened and only relaxed when Iran stops engaging in state-sponsored terrorism,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran. “From my experience in the region, watching Iran fund terrorist attacks against my fellow Marines, I have learned that Iran cannot be trusted. I will stand with our ally Israel in opposing this agreement when it comes before Congress.”

Meanwhile, House freshman class president Rep. Ken Buck is more or less having a nuclear meltdown of his own via Twitter:

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Colorado Rockies shortshop Troy Tulowitzki won’t campaign for a final spot in the Major League Baseball All-Star game next week. Let’s Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Recall petitions have been approved in Jefferson County for an effort to remove three right-wing Board of Education members who have accomplished little aside from angering the community since their election in November 2013. The petition drive for the recall of Ken Witt, Julie Williams, and John Newkirk formally kicks off tonight at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

► A Colorado appeals court heard arguments Tuesday about whether or not bakers have the right to refuse to make cakes for same-sex weddings. From the Denver Business Journal:

Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal nonprofit organization representing the cake shop, said a key point in the case is whether an artist should be compelled to create a product for something the artist finds offensive.

Judge Berger quizzed Tedesco about that point. Is it about a cake? Or a fancy wedding cake? Or is the case about same sex marriage?

It’s about being compelled to make a piece of art to celebrate something you don’t believe in, said Tedesco.

Many legal observers have another opinion here: Choosing whether or not to obey the law is not “freedom of expression.”

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 7)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Today is 7/7/15, which is not nearly as cool as 7/7/14. Let’s Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Democrats have their “top-tier recruit” in the fold for CD-6 with today’s announcement that state Sen. Morgan Carroll will challenge incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman in 2016. Rachel Sapin of the Aurora Sentinel got the early scoop:

“The theme of the campaign is going to about real results,” Carroll told The Aurora Sentinel in an interview Monday. “Congress has been paralyzed. It’s a crisis of confidence to get anything done.”

► Carroll’s decision to run in CD-6 brings a renewed spotlight on the Coffmangate scandal. As The Hill reports today:

Republicans in the state have appeared in disarray in recent weeks amid allegations from the state party chairman Steve House that Cynthia Coffman blackmailed him in an attempt to get him to resign. 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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BREAKING: Morgan Carroll Runs For Congress

UPDATE #3: The campaign of Rep. Mike Coffman responds with a mind-numbingly lame message about Nancy Pelosi. From a fundraising email:

We already know Nancy Pelosi is salivating at the idea of replacing me with their handpicked liberal candidate.

—–

UPDATE #2: The Hill’s Martin Matishak notifies D.C., “Dems get top-tier recruit for competitive Colorado seat.”

—–

UPDATE: What a difference a good candidate makes:

Fasten your seatbelts, readers, this is now 2016’s biggest race.

—–

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

The Aurora Sentinel’s Rachel Sapin nailed a big scoop early Tuesday morning–Colorado Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll is running for GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s swing Sixth Congressional District seat in 2016:

“The theme of the campaign is going to about real results,” she told The Aurora Sentinel in an interview Monday. “Congress has been paralyzed. It’s a crisis of confidence to get anything done.”

Carroll, 43, said she would best describe herself as a populist, with a focus on how leaders in Washington, D.C., have not fixed middle-class issues such as soaring student loan debt, affordable healthcare, immigration reform and affordable higher-education opportunities. She said her campaign contrasts against Coffman’s tenure because given the choice to take the side of the average person or a big government or corporate interest, she has and always will side with the everyday residents in the district…

Working her way up to leadership positions in the both the state House and Senate, she became Senate president as Democratic Majority Leader in 2013. Her career has focused on many measures protecting the rights of individual homeowners or residents at the expense of developers, homeowner associations, employers and government agencies. She said that mission has been her life’s work.

Today’s announcement includes a well-produced campaign launch video:

Having represented Aurora in the Colorado legislature for ten years, there are few lawmakers in either party who can match Carroll’s deep ties to the district she is running to represent. Meanwhile, Mike Coffman’s headlong run to the center since his district was remade in 2011, formerly running as a hard-right Tom Tancredo mold conservative Republican, indicates clearly the danger an authentic progressive candidate poses. We’ve said for many years now that the right Democratic candidate, running in the right year, can expose Coffman’s reinvention as a political contrivance–and deny him the remarkable freedom he has enjoyed up to now to be all things to all people.

As of today, Morgan Carroll represents the best chance Democrats have had, and may ever have, to prove us right. We’ll update through the day with statements and coverage.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 6)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Seriously, you can stop lighting fireworks now. Let’s Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Douglas County officials are looking toward their next step in defending their nonsense “voucher” program after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled last week that programs were discriminating on religious grounds when they weren’t flat-out stealing taxpayer money. As Eric Gorski writes for the Denver Post:

In rejecting the vouchers, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice cited Colorado’s “stark constitutional provision” forbidding the use of public money to fund religious schools. That, she wrote, is exactly what the Douglas County initiative does, essentially working as a “recruitment program.”

Legal experts agree the U.S. Supreme Court typically does not get involved in state constitutional questions. But they differ on whether the circumstances of the Douglas County case put it in a different league.

Heather Weaver, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, an original plaintiff, said there is “really no grounds” for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

► In the “Ship’s That Already Sailed” department, opponents of LGBT rights and same sex marriage are planning a couple of idiotic ballot measures for 2016. We’d encourage the political geniuses behind these measures to take another look at just how dramatically these issues have shifted over the last decade. If you’d rather not read words, check out this amazing graphic from the New York Times.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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Vulnerable Mike Coffman Lays Low As Challenge Looms

Mike and Cynthia Coffman. And dog.

Mike and Cynthia Coffman. And dog.

For the last two weeks, a member of the Coffman family has dominated political headlines in Colorado, though not the Coffman most people think of. When we last left off with GOP Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora, he was vowing to repeal Obamacare in the wake of last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, and hurrying to pivot to “jobs and the economy” in response to the court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage equality–but still not getting anything like the press his embattled wife was receiving.

Which we fully assume he considers to be a good thing.

Just before the “Coffmangate” blackmail scandal involving Rep. Coffman’s spouse Attorney General Cynthia Coffman broke open in the middle of June, Mike Coffman’s remarks on a radio talk show comparing the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS made the rounds with no small degree of controversy. But since then, we’ve seen very little in the way of earned media for Rep. Coffman beyond those brief statements, regarding either the overbudget Aurora VA hospital has had spent so much time grandstanding on as an election issue, or anything else.

And naturally, he’s had nothing to say about his spouse’s political implosion.

But the world moves on: just today, Mike Coffman’s name was mentioned again as one of the most competitive races in the Mountain West for 2016. Roll Call’s Rothenblog:

Coffman’s decision to seek re-election puts a wrench into Democratic plans to take over his open seat. But that doesn’t mean the party will give him a free pass. President Barack Obama won the 6th by 6 points in 2012 and 9 points in 2008, but Coffman easily dispatched former state Speaker Andrew Romanoff, 52-43 percent, in 2014. State Sen. Morgan Carroll has been mentioned on the Democratic side but the field is still fluid. As far out of reach as this race seems for Democrats, it’s probably the type of district the party has to win in order to get the majority in 2016…

After Andrew Romanoff’s unexpected shellacking at the polls in 2014, the second win for Rep. Coffman over resurgent Democratic opponents since his congressional district was remade into a closely divided battleground in 2011, conventional wisdom might have declared him safe. But the CD-6 electorate in 2014 seems to have almost uniquely punished Romanoff for running an uninspiring centrist campaign, sending him to defeat by a greater margin than overlapping Democratic candidates in other races. In 2012, low-budget underdog challenger Joe Miklosi came far closer to defeating Coffman than Romanoff did, a result that demonstrates the potential in this district for a candidate who can turn out the Democratic vote–or at least not demotivate base Democrats like Romanoff did with his milquetoast “balance the budget” message. And above all, the difference in the electorate between the 2012 presidential elections and last year’s midterms gives Democrats hope that 2016 may be the year Rep. Coffman’s number comes up.

Bottom line: Mike Coffman has proven a resilient incumbent, able to reinvent himself in dramatic fashion to appeal to a very different electorate than the hard-right conservative voters who originally elected him to Congress. But he has also benefited circumstantially from weak opponents, and a strong “Republican wave” in 2014. A combination of his starkly opposed past positions on the issues, continuing predilection for embarrassing verbal diarrhea like the ISIS/VA crack or his declaration in 2012 that President Barack Obama “is just not an American,” and the growing possibility of the right challenger in the right year, means that no matter how handily he was re-elected in the last election, Rep. Coffman remains vulnerable in the next one.

That perennial vulnerability is why Coffman chose not to run for the U.S. Senate next year, with his negatives potentially attracting much more attention in that marquee statewide race. His best career option, as we long expected he would decide, was to fight to hold CD-6–considered vital to either side’s aspirations for control of Congress.

The problem is, in 2016 Democrats may finally have the right combination of circumstances and human capital to take Coffman out.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (June 25)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Happy belated St. Jean-Baptiste Day to our Canadian friends. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The United States Supreme Court has ruled to uphold federal subsidies related to Obamacare. As Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 6-3 majority decision:

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.

This is a win-win decision politically — for both parties. The decision is obviously beneficial for Democrats who supported Obamacare, but it also allows Republicans to continue to crow about the horrors of health care legislation — which they are doing already — without having to do any actual governing on their own.

Turnover among staff in the Jefferson County School District is up 50% over the previous year, attributable almost entirely to the antics of the right-wing majority and (not so) Superintendent Dan McMinimee.

► Colorado Pols continues to be your home for the latest news on The Coffmangate Scandal. We’re still baffled that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman would put her career on the line to help former state Sen. Ted Harvey get a real job. Elsewhere, a group of conservative talk-radio hosts have resigned from KLZ-560 AM, claiming that station management is interfering with their “coverage” of the coup attempt against State Party Chair Steve House. “I guess they didn’t realize they don’t own the radio station,” said Crawford Broadcasting President Don Crawford, Jr.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Coffmangate Update: Nothing Changed, Coffman Still in Serious Trouble

UPDATE #2: Conservative opinion site RedState has a lengthy story and interview with Steve House up today that’s worth a read–in which this blog is referred to as the “Daily Kos” of Colorado.

An audio interview performed by former federal agent, and current Vice Chair from Adams County, John Sampson with Julie Naye – the alleged mistress, and her close friend, Lana Fore, was published by the state’s version of Daily Kos yesterday. In the interview Naye adamantly denies the allegations of having an affair with Steve house, and damn if she doesn’t sound convincing. In fact, even the lefty outlet that published the audio noted that if she is lying, she is incredibly good at it.

As it stands now, barring any additional evidence provided by the accusers, it appears that Steve House has been falsely accused by some of the most powerful Republicans in Colorado.

We doubt that’s a compliment, but Kos does get a lot of traffic.

Original post follows…

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Coffmangate: Ted Harvey is a Live Grenade

Ted Harvey and Cynthia Coffman in House of Cards likeness.

Ted Harvey and Cynthia Coffman in “House of Cards” likeness.

One of the central curiosities surrounding the Coffmangate scandal is that all parties involved in the alleged coup attempt against State Republican Party Chair Steve House have continually refused to go into any detail about why they were so intent on forcing House to resign after less than three months on the job. While details are scarce, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman did offer a strange statement of sorts yesterday in an interview with the Denver Post that is worth further examination:

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman talked publicly for the first time about what led her to meet with House and tell him he had lost her confidence. She said he was being untruthful and leaving the party open to potential litigation.

“He had promised people jobs and turned and maligned those people and made up false accusations to justify not offering them employment,” Coffman told The Denver Post. [Pols emphasis]

She said that happened in more than one instance.

It is unclear exactly how prevalent this issue may have been with House, but one of the people Coffman is undoubtedly referencing is former State Senator Ted Harvey. Let’s go back to last week and House’s original bombshell statement alleging attempted blackmail:

The rumors started last night [Monday, June 15], when I was scheduled to meet with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. When I arrived to our meeting, I was surprised to see that former Congressman Tom Tancredo and Pueblo County Chair Becky Mizel were also in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was initially unknown to me and I believed it was a routine strategy discussion by the Attorney General and myself. Congressman Tancredo confronted me about not hiring former state Sen. Ted Harvey as the Party’s executive director, and demanded that I resign my post. If I refused to meet their demand to resign, they threatened that a potential lawsuit may be filed and that false rumors that I have been unfaithful to my wife would be made public. [Pols emphasis]

Back on March 14th, when House was officially elected Republican Party Chair over incumbent Ryan Call, Colorado Pols reported that Harvey was set to be named as the new Executive Director of the State GOP. Harvey was overheard (repeatedly) telling Republicans that he would assume the ED role as soon as the following Monday (March 16). Harvey did not ultimately get the top paid job in the State GOP, in part because Harvey spoke up too soon and made it appear as though House might have made a promise that he should not have made.

Now, let’s go back to Coffman’s statement to the Denver Post that attempting to oust House was, at least in part, because he may not have followed through on promises to elevate the likes of Harvey. If the attempted coup against House was at least partially motivated by employment promises to Ted Harvey — and it certainly appears that way — then it leads to even greater concerns about the judgment of Cynthia Coffman and her merry band of extortionists.

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

Former Republican State Sen. Ted Harvey

It is possible that House and the Colorado GOP could face some sort of civil lawsuit from Harvey if he can prove that he was offered a job that he never received. But if House and the Colorado GOP had hired Harvey as Executive Director, they would have been walking into an entirely different legal minefield.

As we noted in January, Harvey is the registered chair of The Stop Hillary PAC, a fundraising organization that may not exactly be on the up-and-up. Harvey’s involvement with The Stop Hillary PAC puts him in the company of notable “SCAM PAC” founders such as Washington D.C.-based lawyer Dan Becker. As Politico reported in January, Becker’s previous PACs have been known to spend less than 12% of their fundraising efforts to fund political advertisements and other actions, while essentially pocketing the rest of the money for “operating expenses.”

If House and the State GOP had hired Harvey to be the Party’s Executive Director, they would have opened the door to a much more extensive list of legal problems. Can you imagine the illegal coordination charges that the GOP would be facing if the same guy in charge of a national Stop Hillary PAC — potentially a scam in itself — was also concurrently running operations for the Colorado Republican Party?

Was Cynthia Coffman not aware of this massive conflict of interest? Or was she unknowingly advocating for something that would place the Republican Party in significant legal trouble? Perhaps this is one reason why Coffman and others have been reluctant to get into details about their concerns with House and not hiring Harvey: Those details actually hurt their argument for getting rid of House.

Maybe House promised Harvey the ED job, and maybe he didn’t; either way, Republicans should be glad it never happened.

Need a Coffmangate Refresher? Catch up with these links:

The Strange Story of the Coup Attempt Within the Colorado Republican Party

Cynthia Coffman’s Political Career is Over. Done. Kaput.

Cynthia’s House of Cards: Dial ‘B’ for Blackmail

Mystery Character #4 Revealed in Coffmangate Scandal

EXCLUSIVE: Coffman-gate Scandal is About to go Nuclear

Right-Wing Blog Unwittingly Confirms Steve House Blackmail (Now, With Audio!)

EXCLUSIVE: Coffman-Gate Scandal is About to Go Nuclear

Cynthia Coffman

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman may soon be waving a white flag instead.

MONDAY UPDATE: We’ve heard from a number of people regarding a potential special election, which we originally noted could be held in November 2015. Should Cynthia Coffman resign in the near future, State Statutes indicate that Gov. John Hickenlooper would appoint a temporary replacement Attorney General until the State Senate reconvenes in Jan. 2016 (the Senate is required to approve an appointment), and a special election for the final two years of Coffman’s original 4-year-term would be held in November 2016.

Original post follows (6/20/15 at 4:38 pm):

—–

The “Coffman-Gate” extortion/blackmail scandal was first coming to light late last Monday evening, and by Tuesday afternoon it was already clear that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman had essentially ended her political career by stabbing former ally Steve House in the back — twice — over a span of about 12 hours. When we wrote that Coffman’s political career was over, we figured that she’d likely finish her four-year term before declining to run for re-election or finding herself defeated in a Republican Primary in 2018.

We may have been too optimistic. It now seems possible that Coffman will not make it through the summer as Attorney General…and that might be the least of her concerns.

Player #4 Has Entered
Apparently there is a fourth person who was heavily involved in the alleged extortion attempt of House; as of now, only Cynthia Coffman, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, and Pueblo County Republican Party Chair Becky Mizel have been publicly named. It would be a logical guess to say that former state Sen. Ted Harvey will be pulled into this before long — Harvey’s desire to be appointed Executive Director of the State Party has reportedly been a key piece of the extortion attempt — and perhaps he is the so-called “fourth person” now involved.

Federal Investigation Coming?
Behind the scenes, there has been a flurry of action involving the “Coffman-Gate” scandal over the past few days. We’re hearing that all parties involved are lawyering up in anticipation of a full-fledged criminal investigation — perhaps even a federal investigation (the FBI often handles investigations involving high-level elected officials, and we are talking about the top law enforcement officer in Colorado here). We’re still trying to gather details about the exact nature of a potential investigation, but it would almost certainly involve Coffman.

It now seems possible that Coffman will not make it through the summer as Attorney General…and that might be the least of her concerns.

The fact that everybody is scurrying for legal representation may indicate that someone involved in the extortion scandal is trying to make a deal ahead of any potential prosecution. It also explains why Coffman, Tancredo, and Mizel were being so cagey all week about the exact nature of their “grave and serious concerns” regarding House’s leadership of the State Party.


Significant Evidence
We’re also hearing that there is “significant evidence” (our phrase) that could elevate this case even further. From what we understand, there is a sizable amount of evidence indicating that the alleged extortion scheme was much more elaborate than has been reported. Depending on the type of evidence available, we could be talking about serious felony charges.


November Special Election Possible

Coffman’s political career is over — it’s really just a matter of how and when at this point. Coffman would almost certainly have to step down as Attorney General if she is facing felony charges, and replacing her would not be as simple as an appointment by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Coffman hasn’t even reached the 6-month mark of her first term in office, so her resignation would likely trigger a new, special election in November for Attorney General. Both Republicans and Democrats would likely have to find candidates and put together a full-on campaign sprint for the rest of the year.

 

We’ll continue to update this story as it develops, but you heard it here first on Colorado Pols.

Pay No Attention To Mike Coffman’s Buddy Ben Carson

coffmannotanamericanThe Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reported Friday afternoon:

Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman paid Republican Ben Carson $15,000 to speak at a fundraiser, according to a Wall Street Journal story reporting that the GOP presidential candidate and his wife earned between $8.9 million and $27 million in a recent 16-month period…

Democrats thought that they had redrawn the seat after the 2010 census to make it competitive enough to kick out the Republican but Coffman has moderated his views on immigration reform and other issues.

The DCCC says the speech is another reason to be skeptical of the shift.

“After years of running to the right, embracing the birther movement and paying the extremely controversial Ben Carson thousands of dollars, Mike Coffman has been attempting a fake moderate rebrand to keep his seat. Voters will see right through that,” said Tyler Law, press secretary for the Mountain West Region of the DCCC.

But as Rep. Mike Coffman’s spokesman Tyler Sandberg was quick to respond, zing!

Responded Coffman spokesman Tyler Sandberg: “They said that all last cycle and their No. 1 recruit in the country got steamrolled by 9 points.”

The swing between a Democratic-leaning electorate in presidential election years and a more conservative electorate in midterm elections is a well-established phenomenon all over the country, and can be easily seen in the very different election results here in 2012 versus 2014–or for that matter, 2008 versus 2010. In 2012, Coffman barely survived against an underfunded Democratic opponent, which raised hopes that Coffman would be ousted in 2014. But a strong national “GOP wave” combined with a surprisingly weak Democratic candidate in the form of uninspiring technocrat Andrew Romanoff allowed Coffman to outperform other Republicans substantially within the highly competitive Sixth District.

In 2016, the game will be very different for number of reasons, and Democrats should not be deterred by previous results in terms of how to go after Coffman. The 2016 electorate will be more receptive to Democratic hits on Coffman than they were last year, and that means crazy stuff that Ben Carson has said over the years–that Obamacare is the “worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery,” even worse than 9/11–will be more of a liability to Coffman than last year.

And that’s before Carson goes nuts on the presidential campaign trail, which is more or less guaranteed.

So, Uh, Now What? Republicans Look for Answers With Coffman Out

Congressman Mike Coffman told the Denver Post on Monday that he will not challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016 and will instead focus on re-election in CD-6. Coffman’s decision to stay out of the race is big news for the same reason a flawed Coffman was the GOP’s top choice to run for Senate in the first place – Republicans don’t have another option. There was no “plan b” last week, and there’s no “plan b” today.

So…now what?

It is a question that even the most seasoned and well-connected Colorado politico can’t answer with much certainty—but that doesn’t mean we won’t try! Where do Colorado Republicans go from here?

“Republicans don’t have a candidate yet, and nobody knows whether they will end up with a strong recruit or a weak one.”

— Political Analyst Stu Rothenberg, the Greeley Tribune.

First, Do No Harm

Coffman has served in elected office for 26 years, and you don’t have a career like that without making smart choices about when and where to run. Make no mistake: Coffman would not have turned down a Senate run if he truly thought that he could win. Opportunities like this – to be handed your Party’s nomination for a U.S. Senate seat — don’t come along often. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with Coffman at least twice in the last few months to personally convince him to run in 2016.

Coffman was unquestionably the GOP’s first and best choice to run for Senate this cycle. There’s no disputing this. That Coffman declined to run, despite recruitment efforts from local and national Republicans, will force GOP strategists to make some difficult decisions. With Coffman out of the picture, Republicans have to get pragmatic about their level of commitment to beating Bennet next year. Republicans struck gold with Cory Gardner in 2014, but can they really do it again two years later? Only once in the last 40 years have incumbent senators from the same state and same political party lost re-election in consecutive election cycles.

This question is not just about candidate recruitment – it is about whether Republicans are committed to finding the resources for their Senate candidate no matter who wins the nomination. The most important goal for Colorado Republicans in 2016 is to create an environment in which the GOP candidate for President can win in Colorado. Republicans need Colorado’s electoral votes more than they need another GOP Senator, and that reality will dictate the allocation of resources and money. It was just five years ago when the ridiculous Dan Maes ended up as the GOP nominee for Governor against Democrat John Hickenlooper. Republicans didn’t have anyone capable of defeating Hickenlooper in 2010, but Maes was such a terrible candidate that he hurt other candidates up and down the ballot. (more…)