If you were to peruse a certain liberal broadsheet you might think that the Democrat redistricting map submitted to the court yesterday makes CD6 Congressman Mike Coffman nervous about his re-election prospects. To believe that BS, you'd have to ignore his entire political past. It's that sort of misjudgment of political realities that only further boosts Coffman's confidence in his ability to take any challenger, especially no-named nobodies like Joe Miklosi.
To start with, Mike Coffman has never lost an election in his career. Not one, ever. Not even when he ran for Secretary of State in the Democrat wave year of 2006 when Bill Ritter took the Governor's race by nearly 16 points. That statewide election, like his victory in the State Treasurer's race in 1998, gives Coffman name ID no matter where the lines get drawn. There isn't a single Congressional candidate in Colorado who can claim that advantage.
One of the toughest parts for incumbents after redistricting adds or subtracts voters from their current districts is introducing themselves to their new constituents. Coffman, more so than any candidate in the state, will not have to worry about being a blank slate to voters for his opponent to draw on.
This advantage can't be understated.
A second and important advantage that Coffman possesses is a highly successful track record as a fundraiser. Over the years, Coffman has raised millions upon millions for Republican candidates, committees and causes. While he hasn't had the need to fundraise for himself in recent cycles, taking nearly 2/3 of the vote in 2010, he hasn't been a slouch in the campaign cash department either, directing his efforts towards raising money for others.
Coffman has been so successful in the electoral department that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) tapped him in March to become a regional director for Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
Even if Coffman didn't have a national fundraising apparatus in place and a long history of spanking Democrats in November of even years, his resume placed up against his only declared opponent, Rep. Joe "No Boundaries" Miklosi, makes clear why Coffman is so confident.
As Coffman told The Denver Post's prolific political scribe Lynn Bartels, he is no stranger to combat:
“Whatever happens, I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran and I look forward to running a tough race in whatever congressional district I’m in,” he said.
A shrinking violet Coffman is not. While Miklosi is no fresh face to political warfare, having helped Andrew Romanoff engineer the takeover of the Colorado State House in 2004, his resume looks better applying for a campaign consultant gig than being the name on the ballot.
With Coffman, voters will have a Marine Corp combat veteran, a small business owner and a rising star on the House Armed Services Committee — an important assignment to a district that could contain the only military base — Buckley Air Force Base — in the Denver Metro area.
On the other hand, all Miklosi has to offer up is a lifetime as a political hack for hire and some recent nonprofit work on the side for when he's not in session at the Capitol. Miklosi has laughably tried to claim business experience through work with Aristotle Industries, which is a political database company.
That's like calling working at a medical marijuana dispensary experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Anyone with Google can see through that spin.
Also upping Coffman's confidence is the fact that Miklosi has quickly become a journalistic punchline after he flat out admitted to a willingness to move wherever he needed to in order to live in the district. His 'carpetbagger concession' earned him the snarky nickname "Joe Miklosi: No Boundaries" from the Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning.
Miklosi's years as a political hack did earn him some cache for the campaign, as he predicted CD6 would be competitive in an email in July to liberal donors. Longtime observers of Colorado politics knew something was up when Miklosi declared for CD6. Political operatives don't generally run for office as sacrificial lambs. Guess Al Yates gave Miklosi the heads up about the map the Democrats were submitting to the court before they let Brandon Shaffer know his campaign was already over.
But unfortunately, Miklosi has challenged one incumbent who relishes the fight. If anything, a tighter race in 2012 for Coffman will make him all the stronger to take on Mark Udall in 2014.