GOP Leaders Can’t Persuade Coffman to Stay Out of 6th CD

The latest from the jockeying to replace Tom Tancredo in the 6th Congressional District … An insider source tells me that high-ranking party officials met with Secretary of State Mike Coffman yesterday in an attempt to dissuade him from entering the primary.

Should Coffman resign, Gov. Ritter gets to appoint his replacement – figured to be Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, whom Coffman defeated in the statewide election last November. The fox then would be guarding the electoral henhouse. Coffman’s great initiative to ensure all Colorado voters have valid identification? If he leaves office to run, you can be sure it won’t be a top priority for Gordon.

But Coffman sees things differently, I’m told. Scorned by the GOP leadership last year in his bid for governor, he’s determined to take his distinguished record of public service and military service and translate it into an immediate run for Congress. In other words, my source says he has rebuffed the pleas of party leadership. And little time is left for the big decision: the caucus is scheduled for February 5, only 97 days away by my reckoning.

I certainly have a lot of respect for Coffman, having met him on several occasions. (Anyone who’s ever been to a Republican event in Colorado would have a hard time missing him.) No doubt Coffman would make a great Congressman, but so would some of the other contenders. State Senator Ted Harvey would be giving up a safe seat that could be filled by another conservative Republican (I’ve been told that State Senator Tom Wiens likely won’t run), and Wil Armstrong currently holds down no seat. These are the political realities of the moment.

Having declined the persuasive attempts of state GOP leadership, Coffman may listen to the party’s grassroots – especially residents of the 6th Congressional District. Is having a Congressman Coffman, as opposed to a Congressman Harvey or Congressman Armstrong or some other Republican, worth handing over the Secretary of State’s office to the Democrats? Coffman needs to hear your answer, and soon.

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