U.S. Rep. Coffman expresses political optimism under an emerging rainbow

Congressman Cory Gardner, whose sprawling 4th Congressional District encompasses most of the rural Eastern Plains as well as the larger cities of Fort Collins, Greeley, Loveland and Longmont in north-central Colorado, also represents the eastern half of Arapahoe County, which is part of the reason he dropped by the Greenwood Village home of Arapahoe County GOP chairman Joy Hoffman on the weekend afternoon of Aug. 24. But the main reason for Gardner’s appearance at this well attended barbecue — aside from the fact that the energetic representative seems to be at just about every political event that’s held in his expansive district — was to make some introductory remarks about the special guest of honor that day, House colleague Mike Coffman.

The Yuma native was in the midst of relaying some unsettling news to the couple hundred Republicans gathered for U.S. Rep. Coffman’s annual summer fundraiser. Unfortunately, Gardner relayed with tongue in cheek, the anticipated rainbow following the sudden downpour that afternoon had been cancelled. Apparently, he divulged, Democrat Andrew Romanoff wanted to tax it.

The crowd laughed.

But then, lo and behold, Gardner looked out across the large yard with festive tables dotting the landscape as a couple guests pointed to the brightly colored arc that had formed overhead in the skies.

CD 6 U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, joins in saying the Pledge of Allegiance at a fundraiser barbecue in Greenwood Village.

“Well, okay, there is a rainbow over there,” Gardner backtracked. “But please remember that if anything happens, a Democratic Congress would try to tax that pot of gold, so just watch out.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is all smiles as a brightly colored rainbow emerges behind him following the afternoon rainstorm that briefly interrupted his campaign party in Greenwood Village.

For the next few minutes, Gardner embarked on a flattering tribute to Coffman, who is already facing a spirited challenge more than a year before the 2014 election. Democrat Andrew Romanoff has officially announced for the CD 6 seat and he is campaigning almost fulltime.

Dorothy and Frank Southworth didn’t move from their seats under this large tree even though the rainstorm sent many other guests scurrying for better shelter on the patio of the Hoffman’s house. The Southworths don’t look any worse for their experience. Frank, a former state representative, ran for Congess against Democratic incumbent Pat Schroeder in 1974.

Here’s a capsulized account of Gardner’s glowing remarks about Coffman:

Arapahoe County GOP Chair and hostess Joy Hoffman has once again provided her spacious backyard in Greenwood Village for Coffman’s annual barbecue.

• “As a member of the Armed Services Committee, as a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee he is a man who has put it all on the line to make sure that those men and women who’ve served in uniform are taken care of, that our promises that we have made to them are fulfilled.”

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, with his wife Jaime and their son Thatcher (22 months)) and 9 year-old daughter Alyson. The visiting congressman offered introductory remarks before Coffman addressed the gathering.

• “He’s a great leader on economic issues, he understands business, he understands we need to get our debt under control, he understands that we cannot continue to have a government that’s growing. But he also understands what hard work means and he knows that this upcoming election is going to be a tough fight.”

Centennial City Councilman Ken Lucas joins Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky and state Senator David Balmer at U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s barbecue in Greenwood Village on Aug. 24.
Photos by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

• “The fact is we have to re-elect Mike Coffman to the United States Congress once again if you’re going to keep that majority in the House of Representatives, if we’re going to keep the gavel out of the hands of Nancy Pelosi, and if we’re going to hold Barack Obama accountable, if we’re going to make sure that we find answers to, in his words, ‘scandals he doesn’t even believe are real…’ Because people deserve answers, whether it’s the IRS or it’s Benghazi… Mike Coffman is holding them accountable, holding their feet to the fire.”

• “When you go in to the National Republican Congressional Committee and you look at the list of people who are doing the most work, the people who are working the hardest to make sure that we retain a majority that stands for freedom of the free markets, making sure we keep the House of Representatives, at the top of that list is your congressman, Mike Coffman. He’s a fighter, he’s doing it each and every day.”

Before launching into comments about his own efforts to win re-election to a fourth term, Coffman paid back the compliments. “Cory Gardner, really a leader in the Republican Party, not just here in Colorado but in Washington D.C. and I think you’re going to watch for his name in the future. There are much bigger and better things ahead for Congressman Cory Gardner here in our fight for freedom.”

Coffman got down to his own political fate. “We are in for a real fight, I don’t think there’s a question about that,” the Republican officeholder acknowledged.

“The president wants the House of Representatives back so he can make the last two years of his presidency look like the first two years of his presidency with Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House,” Coffman opined.

As for challenger Romanoff, “That the Democrats from Washington D.C. called and recruited my opponent to move into this district to run against me — and he didn’t exactly move in before he announced he was running — he moved in after he announced that he was running… that, I think, is an expression of his commitment to the 6th Congressional District.”

Coffman continued, “This is really about whether or not America goes down the path of becoming a European social welfare state with high taxes and a persistently high unemployment rate and a sluggish economy, or we move back to freedom in the free enterprise system and get back the prosperity that we’ve known historically and we’ve lost.”

He added, “In the 2012 election, this was a battleground district and a battleground state and Barack Obama was able to have an organization on the ground about a year before the election going door to door, and unfortunately our nominee didn’t get the nomination until August right before the election and wasn’t able to put that kind of ground force down. I think we’ve got an opportunity this time around to really go toe to toe with the Democrats from the beginning.”

Coffman referenced the approximate $790,000 worth of TV and cable ads purchased by opponents regarding the issue of climate change.

“They’re not honest,” Coffman said. “I mean, I’m for ‘all of the above’ strategy. [I’ve] supported wind, supported solar, I just don’t support the Solyndras of the world and I think that energy independence is important to America. And if anybody knows that, I do — five overseas assignments, four of them in the Middle East.

“I want this country to move forward and not be dependent upon the Middle East,” he continued. “We are headed in that direction despite this administration trying to stop us. So again, it’s going to be a tough fight, it is a fight for freedom.

“…I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail,” he concluded.

— Jody@coloradostatesman.com

See the Aug. 30 print edition for full photo coverage

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