Wednesday, January 16, 2013

CO-06 Shaping Up As A Pivotal Congressional Race For 2014-- Primary Could Pit Ex-Speaker Andrew Romanoff Against Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll


Rep. Su Ryden, Sen. Morgan Carroll, Rep. Rhonda Fields
Memorial Day Ceremony in Aurora

Campaign strategists in both political parties agree that-- all things being equal-- the most endangered incumbents are the ones who win reelection with less than 50% of the vote, despite all the advantages of incumbency. It's usually just a matter of the right opponent coming along before they're history. Every congressional incumbent in Colorado was reelected in November, despite President Obama's 51-46% win over Romney in the closely fought swing state. Obama took 26 counties-- including all the population centers-- and Romney won 38, mostly rural ones, like tiny Sedgewick with 1,200 votes and much bigger (land-wise) Moffat, with less than 6,000 voters. Denver (280,000 voters), Arapahoe (250,000 voters), Boulder (179,000 voters), and Adams (170,000 voters) all swung for Obama. But Democrats were unsuccessful in dislodging vulnerable Republicans Scott Tipton, Corey Gardner, and Mike Coffman and didn't even run anyone against right-wing fringe lunatic Doug Lamborn. But the only one of Colorado's 7 incumbents to fall below 50% in reelection was Coffman. He only took 150,587 (49%) votes against Joe Miklosi. And on the same day President Obama won the district with 51.6% of the vote. The next closest call for a Republican was Scott Tipton's 53% win (where President Obama only got 45.8%). There's no one who doesn't think CO-06 will be an electoral battleground in the 2014 midterms.

The district, which encompasses much of Denver's southern and eastern suburbs, including Aurora, Littleton and Centennial, will be crucial for Democrats, who will have Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall seeking reelection. National Democrats, particularly the DCCC, view former (2005-'08) state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff as their strongest possible contender against Coffman. For a DCCC fave, Romanoff is relatively progressive-- though he has some problems with Hispanic and labor constituencies because of his uneven record in the state House. He also wants to be courted and anointed and seems to have a hard time making up his mind. Some people in Colorado view Aurora state Senator Morgan Carroll, currently the Senate Majority Leader, as an even more attractive candidate-- more progressive and with a better shot at beating Coffman.

With Joe Miklosi having decided to not run against Coffman again in 2014, it could well turn into a 4-way primary pitting Romanoff, Carroll, state Rep. Rhonda Fields and former state Rep. Karen Middleton. Here's part of the article planted by the DCCC this week with clueless and lazy Inside the Beltway hacks:
Romanoff said he wasn’t diving into the race just yet, but the 46-year-old ex-legislator is eager to get back into government.

“I haven’t made much secret of the fact that I’d like to return to public service and that’s one path I’ve looked at,” he said. “I haven’t made any decision.”

Without elaborating at length on his thinking about the race, Romanoff said Congress had damaged its already-ugly reputation with the “fiscal follies the last month or so.”

“That didn’t improve Washington’s standing here anymore than it did anywhere else,” he said.

National Democrats are enthusiastic about the prospect of a Romanoff 2014 campaign. Democratic polling early in the 2012 cycle-- in December of 2011-- showed that Romanoff would have been the strongest possible challenger to Coffman that year, according to a source. One senior party strategist praised Romanoff as a potential war-horse nominee against a key Republican opponent.

“Congressman Coffman’s narrow 2012 win makes him a ripe target in 2014 and an Andrew Romanoff candidacy means Democrats have a strong, top-tier recruit with experience fundraising and a track record fighting on issues important to middle class voters in suburban Colorado,” the strategist said.

A decade ago, Romanoff was among the Democrats who led Colorado Democrats back to power after a thrashing in the 2002 state elections. He won former President Bill Clinton’s endorsement in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary but ultimately fell short against appointed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

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