AURORA | Two days after his Democratic challenger tied him to Donald Trump’s attack on a disabled reporter, Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman launched his own salvo Thursday in the increasingly nasty 6th Congressional District race.
In an ad that went up Thursday and is expected to air on local television stations and online, Coffman’s campaign calls former state Sen. Morgan Carroll a “sleazy” personal injury lawyer and accuses the Aurora Democrat of crafting legislation to help the law firms where she once worked.
“Morgan Carroll, state senator, and Morgan Carroll, personal injury lawyer — we can’t trust either one,” a woman’s voice says at the end of the 30-second spot.
Cinamon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Coffman campaign, said Carroll’s legal career warrants attention.
“For months, Morgan Carroll has gone to pains to hide the fact that she is a personal injury lawyer. At several points she’s actually called herself a civil rights lawyer,” she said in an email. “The voters have a right to know that Morgan Carroll, the personal injury lawyer, unduly influenced the official behavior of Morgan Carroll, the state senator.
“The allegation that she’s passed laws to benefit herself or lawyers is categorically untrue,” said Carroll campaign spokesman Drew Godinich. “Actually, this is the height of hypocrisy. Carroll has never received an ethics complaint from either the bar association nor the state legislature. Coffman can’t say the same thing.”
Godinich said Coffman was once admonished for ethics violations when he was Colorado secretary of state for hiring employees in 2007 with partisan businesses to fulfill state contracts.
“What’s true is that (Carroll) is a trial attorney,” he said. “The rest is mud and spin.”
As for connections between her votes as a state lawmaker and her work as a lawyer, Godinich said the Coffman campaign was reaching. One of the measures they cite, he said, was a Republican-backed bill which made it more difficult to sue doctors and nurses, not easier.
Carroll, who represented Aurora in both the state House and state Senate before running against Coffman, has been a lawyer since 2000. In an ad released by her campaign Sept. 20, Carroll said her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease was the inspiration for her career in law.
Godinich said that for her first 10 years she ran a law firm with her mother focused on disability issues.
After that, Carroll took jobs at two high-profile personal injury firms in Denver, first with the Sawaya Law Firm for two years before moving to Bachus and Schanker in 2012.
At each stop, Godinich said Carroll’s focus has been disability law. She stopped actively practicing at Bachus and Schanker to campaign for Congress, but Godinich said he wasn’t sure exactly when she stopped practicing law.
Carroll’s campaign on Tuesday started airing their first attack ad, which attempted to link Coffman to Donald Trump’s mocking of a handicapped reporter.
The campaign is expected to be the most-watch Congressional race in the state, and experts have said that it will likely take a nasty turn as Election Day nears — with Trump and Hillary Clinton likely playing major roles in the race.