Election 2018Hot Sheet

Coffman launches first campaign ads, highlights battleground district’s diversity

Author: Ernest Luning - August 21, 2018 - Updated: August 21, 2018

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, right, an Aurora Republican, is pictured in a TV ad released in August 2018 highlighting the 6th Congressional District’s diversity. (Via YouTube)

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman launches his first television ads Wednesday with two spots featuring testimonials from members of the battleground 6th Congressional District’s diverse communities, Colorado Politics has learned.

The ads, part of the Aurora Republican’s initial $1.4 million ad reservation and set to air on cable and satellite TV, amount to the first salvos in what will again be Colorado’s most expensive congressional race — and a contest that could determine which party holds the majority in the U.S. House after the midterm elections.

Coffman’s Democratic challenger Jason Crow has yet to announce his ad reservation for the fall campaign, but on Tuesday Politico’s Morning Score newsletter reported that End Citizens United, a liberal organization devoted to reforming campaign finance law that has endorsed Crow, reserved more than $750,000 for TV and digital ads in the suburban district starting Sept. 6. The group earlier named Coffman to its list of top House targets.

“There isn’t much to like about politics these days. There’s a lot of shouting, not much listening. But my representative, Mike Coffman, is different,” says Chinese-American businesswoman Suzy Zeng in the 60-second Coffman ad. (Watch the ads below.)

“Mike Coffman listens and cares. And unlike others, Mike works to be part of the solution, to end the dysfunction and to bring people together,” she says, noting that the five-term Republican belongs to the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus. “Mike isn’t afraid to challenge his own party,” she adds. “He voted against the health care bill because it did not protect people with pre-existing conditions.”

The other, 30-second ad features leaders in the district’s Ethiopian community touting Coffman’s work in Congress .

“He fought for us when nobody would,” one man says. A woman adds: “Mike Coffman is for us, and we are for him.”

Last month, Coffman sponsored a successful House resolution condemning the Ethiopian government’s use of force against peaceful protests, as well as the government’s habit of putting journalists and opposition leaders in jail and detention camps.

Coffman’s campaign manager Tyler Sandberg told Colorado Politics the ads represent his boss’s approach to governing and point toward how  the Army and Marine Corps veteran keeps confounding skeptics by winning in a Democratic-leaning district.

“Mike Coffman has defied the naysaying of pundits and analysts for a very long time and for a very simple reason — Mike enjoys an unprecedented coalition of support across communities and cultures and traditional partisan political barriers,” Sandberg wrote in an email. “It is a base of support that is as deep as it is wide. The Coffman coalition is made up of retirees fed up with how much Washington spends, of law enforcement leaders who deeply value Mike’s focus on protecting kids and communities, of veterans who know Mike is a Marine who will be a fighter for them, and of Asian, Hispanic and African-born Americans, all of whom know that Mike Coffman is bringing people together to address the issues important in their communities.

“Our first ads of the cycle tell the story of the Coffman coalition. It is a coalition like none other in Colorado, and probably the nation.”

The Aurora-based 6th District, which encompasses parts of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, is the state’s most diverse. Nearly 20 percent of its residents are Hispanic or Latino, around 10 percent are black and close to 7 percent are Asian and Pacific islander, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent estimates. Fully 15 percent of the district’s residents were born outside the United States — the most of any of Colorado’s congressional districts, just edging out the Denver-based 1st Congressional District.

Outside groups have already reserved more than $4 million in fall TV advertising. The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC aligned with Nancy Pelosi, booked $1.76 million in the Denver market — potentially including some spending in another congressional race — while the GOP’s Congressional Leadership PAC has reserved $2.3 million worth of ads to defend Coffman.

Crow spent more than $200,000 on TV ads in June on the way to winning the nomination over Democratic primary opponent Levi Tillemann.

The Coffman ads were produced by Colorado-based Ascent Media, which was responsible for Coffman’s award-winning 2016 ad “One of Us,” which also featured a diverse cast of supporters.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.