Never mind that he doesn’t live in the District, Senate President John Morse (D-Camaro) is reportedly chatting up power-brokers in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) about the possibility of challenging Rep. Mike Coffman in 2014, according to our sources.
Last cycle, Morse was also looking at challenging Coffman, according to Lynn Bartels, but ultimately decided to let Joe Miklosi take the lead on losing the race.
Not living in the district he is seeking to represent would not be new for Morse. In 2006, when he first ran for State Senate he moved into a condo inside the district only days before the deadline to qualify for the district. Candidates must live in a legislative district for at least one year prior to the election.
As a Congressman, Morse would be eligible for a healthy pay raise, jumping from his current salary of $30,000 to $174,000 as a Member of Congress. This may be a consideration for Morse, who was investigated by an Ethics Committee in 2011 for claiming official per diem on days he was playing golf, having dinner with lobbyists and attending political fundraisers.
The Ethics Committee empaneled to investigate Morse, and appointed by then-Senate President Brandon Shaffer, had a Democratic majority and decided not to pursue the charges based on a technicality. But it’s not every day the Senate President decides to formally investigate his own #2.
Morse’s per diem party wasn’t the only ethical lapse that led to formal complaints. In 2010, Morse was investigated for violating Amendment 41 for his sweetheart rental deal, where he paid $500 a month for an apartment in Denver — which he creepily told Fox 31’s Eli Stokols was his “Passion Pit” — that was worth many times that.
The ability to get sweet rates on rent, or mortgages in Congress’s case, may also be a consideration for Morse, as Countrywide Financial was found to have given “preferential treatment” to Members of Congress on their mortgages.
According to our sources, Morse is “definitely interested” in looking for a next political step. Morse is serving in the final two years of his second four-year term in the State Senate.