DENVER – The 2018 race for Colorado’s 6th congressional district is becoming clearer, as incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman fended off a GOP primary challenger over the weekend and with the district’s Democratic assembly set for Thursday.
Coffman took 75 percent of the vote at Saturday’s Republican assembly for the district, meaning he won’t have a primary challenger this year after challenger Roger Edwards garnered just 24 percent of the assembly vote – below the required threshold of 30 percent.
The Aurora Republican is in his fifth term in Congress and is again expecting a strong challenge from Democrats – challenges he has so far fought off .
But national Democrats and some other election forecasters have predicted that 2018 could be the year that Democrats retake Coffman’s district, and there is sure to be a heavy focus by congressional campaign committees for both parties on the district – something Coffman’s campaign manager, Tyler Sandberg, said the team was ready for.
“The resounding victory for Mike Coffman at the GOP Assembly means we have a united front heading into the fall to take on the millions of dollars that Nancy Pelosi’s Super PACs are planning to spend in this district,” Sandberg told Denver7.
Coffman’s former challenger, Edwards, had based his campaign off similar talking points that Donald Trump used to ride to the U.S. presidency in 2016, and said that Coffman wasn’t conservative enough to serve the district as a Republican.
On the other hand, Jason Crow and Levi Tillemann – the two Democrats still vying for that party’s nomination after attorney David Aarestad dropped out and endorsed Crow last month – have said that Coffman votes too often with Trump and that he’s too conservative for the district.
Democratic voters in the district will get their say on Crow and Tillemann Thursday at the district’s Democratic assembly.
There, the delegates elected at the March 24 county assembly will vote for their preferred candidates. Crow and Tillemann will have to garner at least 30 percent of those votes to make the June primary ballot solely based off the assembly vote.
And Crow will need that 30 percent, as he has not filed to petition his way onto the ballot, as Tilleman has.
Tillemann filed his ballot petitions with the Secretary of State’s Office on March 20. They have yet to be approved. Should the petition be approved, Tillemann would need only 10 percent of the vote at Thursday’s district assembly, but it’s unlikely he will know if the petitions have been approved by then.
The district assembly starts Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be held at Gateway High School, located at 1300 S. Sable Blvd. in Aurora, though people who want to show should arrive early, according to the Arapahoe County Democratic Party.
Both Coffman and the Democratic candidates – should they make the primary ballot – will have to win over unaffiliated voters, which are the state’s largest voting group, as they are now allowed to participate in primaries.
And the issue of Coffman’s perceived support – or lack thereof – of Trump’s actions while in the White House are expected to be a major wedge issue. Sandberg says Coffman is ready for those discussions as well.
“Mike has not been shy in criticizing President Trump or his own party in Washington when he thinks they’re wrong, and his independent leadership clearly is appreciated across the political spectrum,” Sandberg said.