Saturday, November 12, 2011

Game-Changer: Redistricting Has Turned Tancredo's Old Seat Competitive Enough To Elect Progressive Leader Joe Miklosi


It's probably important to begin by explaining that once Tancredo retired, he was replaced by someone even more bigoted and even more a captor of corporate interests than Tancredo, back-bencher Mike Coffman. This week we got some terrific news out of Colorado regarding the suburban Denver 6th CD. Any fair assessment of the race would now be that our favorite underdog, Joe Miklosi, is poised to defeat ultra-right radical Mike Coffman. The new district lines transform the 6th District from a grossly RED district where radicals like Tom Tancredo and Mike Coffman have ruled the roost-- to a truly competitive district with a near balance between Republican and Democrat registration. In this classic matchup, we are thrilled to get behind our friend Joe Miklosi whose record of accomplishment as a progressive activist and a state legislative leader are a clear indication that he would be far more than just another dependable progressive voter in Washington.

We profiled State Rep Joe Miklosi here a couple of months ago. Joe has worked in the trenches with Progressive Majority in Colorado where he helped recruit and train a farm team of progressive candidates. In 2004, Joe was the Director of the House Majority Project that won back a Democratic Majority in the Colorado House of Representatives for the first time in decades. In 2008, Joe ran for the state House and was elected by a wide margin. He credits his campaign success to old fashion hard work and personally knocking on thousands of doors. Today, Joe “Not your average Joe” Miklosi is in a highly competitive race for a seat in the U.S. Congress. The district gave Bush 60% against Gore and 60% against Kerry. Although McCain only scored 53% when he faced Obama in 2008, Coffman still won the seat with 61% then and with 66% last year. The new district lines change all that-- drastically, with roughly 33% GOP registration, 33% Democratic registration and 33% independent registration-- a classic swing district.
Coffman may want to dust off the Spanish he learned during a stint at the University of Veracruz in Mexico.

Coffman, a Republican, could find himself in a significantly more Latino 6th Congressional District-- going from a district that had been about 9 percent Latino to one that is about 20 percent Latino. It's also a place that is no longer politically safe for a Republican.

Under the map a state judge adopted Thursday, Coffman would be drawn into a district divided almost perfectly in thirds between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters-- and a district that includes the city of Aurora... Republicans howled at the decision but said Friday that they needed more time to decide whether to appeal Hyatt's 78-page ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court.

...Coffman did not respond to requests for comment, but even [Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan] Call agreed the Republican incumbent "will have to work harder."

That work likely will include explaining the congressman's recent support of English-only ballots.

The voters in the new district went for Barack Obama by 8 percentage points in 2008 but were fairly evenly split between Republican Ken Buck and Democrat Michael Bennet for U.S. Senate in 2010.

Joe is a progressive leader. When he was a recent guest on Crooks and Liars, he discussed how growing up in a Christian household has reinforced his progressive values. Miklosi is not timid about confronting his conservative colleagues by quoting the Bible passages meaningful to him. Last year, Joe sponsored the Colorado DREAM Act-- not because his state house district has a large Latino population, but because it is economically sensible legislation and because "America doesn’t punish children for circumstances force upon them."

Again, Joe's running in CO-6, the seat recently held by the extremist Tom Tancredo. In fact, Tancredo handpicked the incumbent Mike Coffman to be his replacement. When Coffman was Colorado Secretary of State, he engaged in reprehensible voter suppression and denied the votes of over 2500 of the state’s citizens-- targeting minority and low-income voters. Thankfully, the Colorado courts overturned Coffman’s actions and permitted these citizens their right vote.

In Congress, Coffman has voted to slash Medicare. He echoed Rick Perry and stated that Social Security is "obviously a Ponzi scheme." He is proudly part of Michelle Bachman’s Tea Party Caucus. Coffman pursues a radical social agenda and strives only to thwart President Obama while providing no leadership of his own. 

Coffman, like Tancredo, has been able to push a radical agenda because CO-6 has been heavily skewed to favor the right. But in the reformed district, Coffman is very vulnerable. 

Scratch a little deeper and this race gets even more interesting. Colorado doesn’t have a statewide Senate race or Governor race this year. Thus, Miklosi will be at the top of the local ticket just behind the Presidential contest-- and Colorado is among the top tier, must win states for Obama. This will be one of the most closely watched and fiercely fought House races in the country, and it could have a significant impact on the Presidential outcome. Fortunately, Joe Miklosi is among the most passionate, gritty, and determined candidates out there. If there is a candidate we want in this race-- it is unquestionably Joe! Please consider helping Joe's campaign here.

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At 11:33 AM, Blogger Average Voter said...

Like it or not, Miklosi has an uphill climb in this new district. As a southeast Denver state rep, he will be viewed as a carpetbagger, since he has never lived, nor represented Aurora. (There is no love lost between Denver and Aurora.)

Coffman was a state representative, then later a state senator, for Aurora before he won three statewide races. He has lived in the city since he was nine years old. People know Coffman. They're just finding out about Miklosi, who really doesn't have much of a record... just a lot of rhetoric.

It doesn't help Joe that Obama is not all that popular in Colorado, Aurora, or the south suburbs of the new 6th... the 'burbs are very GOP. Coffman has a boatload of campaign funds. Miklosi does not. Dems can't afford to give him much because they will have their hands full trying to win the state for Obama.

Coffman, a tireless and veteran campaigner, can win this district handily.


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