AURORA | Partisan guns being rolled out by candidates for Aurora’s 6th Congressional District can fire up the base, but not a whole lot more, according to one political expert.
Democrat state Sen. Morgan Carroll drew the big gun Monday announcing that President Barack Obama has endorsed her campaign to unseat GOP incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman.
“I’m proud to endorse Morgan Carroll for the United States House of Representatives,” Obama said. “Over the last eight years, we’ve made tremendous strides towards making our nation safer, stronger, and fairer, but it’s clear that to continue this progress, we need to send more commonsense leaders like Morgan Carroll to Congress to get things done for the middle class. Morgan Carroll is a champion for Colorado families — fighting for good-paying jobs and better wages, and isn’t afraid to take on the tough fights, like defending a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, passing tough campaign finance and lobbying reform laws, making sure we keep our sacred promises to our nation’s veterans and their families, and addressing the crushing burden of student loan debt felt by so many Colorado students. Morgan Carroll is the kind of tough and smart leader who will build on all we’ve accomplished and take our nation forward, and that’s why I know Coloradans can count on Morgan Carroll.”
Seth Masket, political science professor at the University of Denver, said the good words can help to motivate friendly voters, but they don’t do much, if anything, to change minds.
“Any effect is going to be pretty small in a general election,” Masket said. Political heavyweights slugging for fellow party members are seen as just that by most voters. “It’s something Carroll can tout in mailers, but it’s something that really can only help with voter turnout and fundraising.”
Coffman rolled out his own partisan praise last week, announcing the endorsement of area Republican mayors and county commissioners.
“Mike has been a strong advocate for Aurora,”said Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan. “He has made protecting Buckley AFB, and completing the V.A. Hospital critical priorities during his service in Congress. Mike deserves another term.”
“Over the last two election cycles, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have spent millions of dollars trying to smear Mike’s record,” said Coffman Campaign spokeswoman Cinamon Watson. “It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.”
In a letter to supporters, his campaign said they knew it was coming, and one reason is because of the Affordable Care Act.
“No surprise there,” Coffman campaign fundraiser JD Key said in a letter Monday. “Coffman wants to repeal and replace Obamacare; Morgan Carroll is the last politician on the planet who thinks Obamacare is working.”
Masket said Obama makes for a safer heavyweight than a more traditional coattails boost from a presidential contender, such as Hillary Clinton.
For months, Coffman’s campaign has sought to tie Carroll to Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Meanwhile, Carroll’s campaign has tried to anchor Coffman to Donald Trump. Coffman was relatively quiet about Trump until August, when in a paid ad he worked to distance himself by saying he didn’t “think very much” of Trump. After the Billy Bush video tape scandal erupted in early October, Coffman joined a chorus of Republican lawmakers insisting that Trump step down as nominee.
If the race is closer this time, it could come down to whose base is more obliged to vote for their candidate, Masket said. As of Monday, Democrats in Arapahoe County boasted 139,462 voters. Republicans had registered 118,852 voters.
In that case, an energizing presidential endorsement could help.
Carroll said the endorsement was “one of the highest honors of my life.
“Barack Obama is certainly the greatest president of my lifetime: coming to office during the worst economic and political crisis in nearly a century, he led us to the largest period of job growth in American history. Barack Obama fought for tough banking reforms to ensure that Wall Street greed could never endanger the livelihoods of middle-class families, pushed for a historic climate change agreement in Paris, and passed a health care reform law that has provided coverage to 20 million Americans who wouldn’t otherwise have it.”