Two weeks ago we reported on the possibility of a Joe Coors Jr candidacy in the 7th Congressional district against Congressman Ed Perlmutter. Since then we've conducted an informal survey asking conservatives across Colorado what they thought about Coors' chances against the Cartwheeling One. What we heard back was a distinct sense that Coors could give Perlmutter a run for his money.
While the 7th CD was a bit of a disappointment for conservatives in 2010, with Perlmutter winning by 11 points, with the redrawn districts and a candidate like Joe Coors Jr, possibilities abound. One of the great ironies of the redistricting process is that while Democrats thought they were screwing Mike Coffman with a gerrymandered 6th CD, they were putting Ed Perlmutter in a much more precarious position by taking Republican portions of the previous 6th CD and putting them in Perlmutter's district.
Should a regular, run-of-the-mill Republican run against Ed Perlmutter in his new district he probably wouldn't have much to worry about. But with a Colorado Giant like Joe Coors Jr, the path to victory for Perlmutter is perilous indeed.
This strong early showing among these handful of prominent conservatives portends well for how rank and file conservatives will support him. Though, we should note, that does not guarantee support among the grassroots. Colorado conservatives are notorious for their rejection of candidates they feel have been foisted upon them.
A number of sources have said that Coors is ready to get hands on with activists to earn their support — he knows it’s not something that any conservative should ever take for granted. He’s not taking Ed for granted, either. He knows he’s got to chase and earn support.
Jefferson County Commissioner John Odom told us: "I think Joe Coors Jr could be a real threat to Congressman Perlmutter."
State Senator Greg Brophy believes the environment could be ripe for the chance to pick Perlmutter off his Congressional vine, saying "Joe's enthusiasm and name ID, coupled with a strong anti-Obama sentiment spells trouble for Perlmutter."
Adams County Commissioner Erik Hansen, who retains the special distinction of being one of the few Adams County elected officials not under investigation, pointed to the new possibilities offered under the new Congressional map telling the Peak "I think CD7 is now a lot more winnable than before because you lose a highly Democrat portion of Aurora and gain Thornton, which is trending conservative these days."
More than just the new map, multiple sources pointed to Coors Jr's ability to self-fund as a significant strength. With the Obama re-elect hogging all the Democrat donor cash, raising money for Perlmutter will be an especially difficult mission this cycle.
In addition to have the financial means to run a solid race, having a background not in government is a distinct advantage in this anti-incumbent, throw-out-the-bums mentality that is pervasive throughout the electorate. As Perlmutter has been in elected office more or less since 1995, Coor Jr's business experience will be a key point of difference.
That sentiment was echoed by Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who pointed out to the Peak "Joe Coors Jr brings a lot of private sector business experience to the table, and will offer the voters of the 7th Congressional district a sharp contrast to Ed Perlmutter."
GOP strategist and former Treasurer candidate JJ Ament perhaps summed up the peril and promise of a Joe Coors Jr candidacy best, saying "Perlmutter will be tough, and it will take a candidate with Joe’s resources to make a credible attempt." The trick, Ament said, is to "find a way to inform everyone how different Congressman Perlmutter’s reputation in Colorado is from his voting record in Washington."
No doubt Perlmutter has worked hard to paint himself in a positive light back in Colorado. What's important though, is that image of Perlmutter in Colorado simply doesn't line up with his liberal voting record in Congress. With nearly a third of the 7th CD new to Perlmutter, he will be a blank slate, a tabula rasa to many voters, for a strong challenger like Coors Jr to paint on.
If there exists anyone capable of cutting Perlmutter's Congressional cartwheels short, many conservatives see Joe Coors Jr as a top contender.