AURORA | A steady series of fundraising quarters in which he’s outpaced his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) now has about twice as much cash on hand for the upcoming vote in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District.
Coffman, facing a re-election challenge from outgoing state Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), reported more than $560,000 in funds raised in the latest quarter. Coffman has maintained fundraising leads each quarter over Carroll since she entered the race last year, with those hauls now giving him about $1.6 million cash on hand.
Carroll’s campaign reported nearly $390,000 in the latest quarterly filing to the Federal Election Commission, with about $867,000 cash on hand at the start of July. Despite lagging far behind Coffman’s totals, Carroll has dominated in terms of amassing the vast majority of her contributions from individual contributors.
Both campaigns have slung mud at each other over individual contributions. Carroll’s campaign has been tying Coffman to the Koch brothers, who have donated $10,000 so far to his campaign through KOCHPAC. Coffman’s campaign also received a boost from the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, which has launched a six-figure effort to campaign against Carroll.
Coffman’s campaign in turn has been tying Carroll to Nancy Pelosi, whose political action committee Nancy Pelosi for Congress has contributed $4,000 to Carroll’s campaign so far this cycle.
Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan Colorado political consultant, said who is ahead in fundraising is not necessarily an indicator of who will win the 6th Congressional District.
“Both of those are significant sums of money for congressional races, a sign that Republicans believe this is a challenge and Democrats believe this is an opportunity,” Ciruli said. “Neither the difference in the money nor how quickly it’s coming in is really an indication he’s ahead.”
Ciruli said who contributes to a political campaign also does not make much of a difference to voters.
“I think the public in general is pretty cynical and recognizes that all sides take money from people who want something,” Ciruli said.
Ciruli said the fact that Coffman has beat two other competitive Democratic opponents in a diverse district that is evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and independent voters is one reason he could be considered the frontrunner.
But he said Coffman still has to contend with the overall negative impact Donald Trump is having on the Republican Party, particularly in Colorado.
A July report by Harper Polling showed Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet leading Republican Darryl Glenn in popularity 46 percent to 40 percent. The poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 45 percent to 38 percent in Colorado.
“In normal conditions Coffman should win, but these are not normal conditions,” Ciruli said.
Cinamon Watson, a spokeswoman for the Coffman campaign, has noted that Coffman — who originally endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for the GOP nomination — has not directly endorsed or voiced support for Trump. Coffman has gone as far as to criticize Trump for evading the Vietnam War draft in an April Facebook post, as well as urging him to retract a statement about the Latino heritage of the judge handling the Trump University lawsuit — a statement Coffman called an “un-American slur.”