Rumor has it CO Senator Brandon Shaffer, current candidate for CD4, will be deciding this week whether or not to jump into the CD6 race, abandoning his campaign in CD4. My guess is, he’s waiting for CO Representative Joe Miklosi’s numbers to come out from the last quarter. For those who have not been paying close attention, Colorado’s CD4 became less easily winnable as a result of recent Congressional redistricting.
I respect and admire Brandon Shaffer; he is literally one of my political heroes. Not just that – I am indebted to him. I’ve even made calls for his race in CD4 very recently.
Loyal readers on Colorado Pols may remember Senator Shaffer’s unwavering support of Michael Bennet in the 2010 Senate Race. Not only was Senator Shaffer one of just a few legislators who believed in Michael Bennet from the beginning (add State Representatives Karen Middleton and Daniel Kagan, as well as Congressman Jared Polis to that list), but he also took a lot of grief for Bennet at the Boulder Convention and Assembly. I stood by Senator Shaffer then, and always will.
Senator Shaffer courageously sponsored a controversial anti-human trafficking bill written by my friend Beth Klein, as well. Always a diplomat and a statesman, Senator Shaffer had to answer to opponents on both sides of the aisle to defend the bill. I am grateful to him for his courage and strong sense of justice; he acted to protect young street girls and boys who would otherwise have no political voice, and who certainly were in no position to benefit his office financially or politically.
Yet, I support Joe Miklosi for Congress in CD6. Joe has laid the groundwork since the beginning for a successful campaign to oust tea-party darling, Congressman Mike Coffman. An expensive primary in CD6 will not help win the seat for a Democrat. Because of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling, unprecedented amounts of dirty corporate money will be pumped into this Congressional race (You thought you were sick of Bennet/Buck ads in ’10? Just wait!). We need every dime from every Democrat we can scrape together to defeat corporate loyalist Coffman.
My friends and I are deeply invested in this race. While working for MoveOn in 2008, my team and I registered many thousands of new voters across the state, most of whom turned out to elect President Barack Obama. Staffers of then Secretary of State Mike Coffman instructed voter registrars to register voters one way, then Coffman said they did it incorrectly, prompting him to try to throw out more than ten thousand of the registrations. It took a federal investigation to get him to stop.
Coffman’s office has also turned away left-leaning and independent constitutents who have tried to meet with Coffman, telling them, “Congressman Coffman represents those who voted for him”. Add to that the time Coffman’s staffers flat-out lied and told television reporters the crowd of 1000+ pro-health care reform activists we gathered outside his office were in fact, anti-reform tea partiers.
Democrats and Independents alike in CD6 want Republican extremist Mike Coffman out of office as soon as possible. The Colorado Democratic Party could not justify helping us much in 2010; CD6 was considered a lost cause. This year is different; the numbers are in our favor. Winning in CD6 depends on two huge variables: getting out the vote in Aurora, and Mike Coffman’s friend, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, doing his job with integrity. The first variable is within our control. The second takes faith in our political system.
Why Representative Joe Miklosi?
Joe identified CD6 as his next goal long ago – long before Congressional redistricting made CD6 a competitive seat. Joe cares about Veterans, and knows Coffman has failed them. Joe believes in listening to his constituents and working across the aisle when necessary, and Coffman’s record is abysmal at both of those things. Joe cares about the many diverse interest groups in Aurora, and wants to protect their interests; Joe has a solid record in the state legislature to prove it. Joe understands suburban and rural voter’s issues, and has learned the political landscape of our district. He’s met many of us, and we’ve signed on to his campaign.
Joe Miklosi won me over as a supporter a couple years ago when I saw his extraordinary skills as a mediator and consensus builder. At the time, progressive radio talk-show host Mario Solis-Marich was raking Democratic State Senator Morgan Carroll over the coals ruthlessly for her “no” vote on tuition equity; he literally aired slanderous commercials on his radio station at every break. As a friend and supporter of Morgan’s who understood her rational while wishing she would vote “yes”, I was outraged. Those who know Morgan know she is a legal genius – if Morgan says a bill is not written well and violates the State or U.S. Constitution, you can bet your house keys that she’s right. Senator Carroll wanted a bill that was better written and would hold up in court, and was willing to work together as a team to draft a better bill – one that would not only win, but stand.
I called a group of Latina/Latino friends and asked them to meet with Senator Carroll and myself over dinner to talk about what happened on tuition equity and try to rebuild together for another round of legislation. The first meeting was great. The second meeting, with an expanded circle of invitees, was very heated and tense. In stepped Representative Miklosi, someone who cares deeply about the issue and wanted what was best for Colorado, and helped to diffuse the tension and clarify mutual goals. It was at that moment I saw an extraordinary statesman in Joe Miklosi –not your average Joe.
I recently asked my network of 2500 facebook contacts (most of whom are progressive activists in Colorado) if they think Senator Shaffer should primary Representative Miklosi, and those who responded were overwhelmingly against the idea. Those in CD4 said they would feel betrayed, and would ask for their contributions back. Those in CD6 said they were already supporting Joe Miklosi, who has worked long hours since Day One to build relationships, going to many house and senate district meetings and special events.
Money may have started trickling in slowly at first (CD6 residents have a version of learned helplessness, I think), but pundits will discover the pace picked up remarkably in the fourth quarter of 2011. CD6 residents are starting to believe in the political process again, and they… we… are finding our hope in Joe Miklosi. Joe Miklosi has also won the support of many labor unions and nearly every Democratic state legislator in the area.
The 2012 election cycle will see an unprecendented amount of PAC money dumped into Colorado, but the latest incarnation of the eggmendment and the marijuana legalization initiative will get out left-leaning and independent voters in large numbers. Under those circumstances, Democrats tend to do well. I trust Senator Shaffer (and his very capable campaign manager, RBI’s Craig Hughes) will see the wisdom in staying in the CD4 race and giving it all they’ve got. We need to win both Congressional seats in CD4 and CD6, and in 2012, it’s possible to do so. Why? Senator Brandon Shaffer is a class act, and Representative Joe Miklosi is not your average Joe.
Still To Come Very Soon: "Who is Joe Miklosi?"