For now, the “bulletproof” congressman

Today's headline in The Denver Post after the congressman's successful re-election on Tuesday.
Today’s headline in The Denver Post after the congressman’s successful re-election on Tuesday.

Two years ago I interviewed an African immigrant who told me an interesting story about Congressman Mike Coffman.

It turns out the young man was quite upset when he opened his ballot and saw Democrat Diana DeGette and Republican Martin Walsh on the ballot.

He made inquiries. Where is my ballot with Republican Mike Coffman’s name? That’s when he learned he lived in Denver-based Congressional District 1 and not Aurora-based Congressional District 6.

Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora.
Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora.

I’ve thought of that interview many times in recent days as Arapahoe County Democrats outpaced Republicans in ballot returns. Sure, it was great for local Democrats but would it be great for Coffman’s challenger, Democratic state Sen. Morgan Carroll?

She became the third Democrat in a row to lose to Coffman since the 6th CD was redrawn to make what had been a conservative district a competitive one.

“Is Mike Coffman invincible?” the headline in today’s Sunday Denver Post asked.

Results from the Arapahoe County election website provide a fascinating glimpse of a swing county that for the most part went blue.

Congressman Mike Coffman and Kristin Strohm of of The Starboard Group at the Denver Rustlers event this year. (SOS photo)
Congressman Mike Coffman and Kristin Strohm of of The Starboard Group at the Denver Rustlers event this year. (SOS photo)

Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet coasted to victory over their Republican opponents, Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn, respectively.

In a crucial state Senate race, Democrat Daniel Kagan easily beat Republican Nancy Doty. In an open state House race, Democrat Jeff Bridges beat Republican Katy Brown.

And in the state Board of Education race in CD 6,  Democrat Rebecca McClellan so far is beating the incumbent, Republican Debora Scheffel. If McCellan wins, Democrats would be in charge of the board for the first time in — oh, so long ago that folks can’t remember when the GOP wasn’t in charge.

But Coffman beat Carroll in Arapahoe County by 3.19 percentage points, according to unofficial returns. He also won in the portions of Adams and Douglas counties that are in his district, giving him an 8 percent lead so far.

Much has been written about how Coffman nearly lost his 2012 race to a relatively unknown Democrat, Rep. Joe Miklosi, after the 6th was redrawn.  Coffman adjusted, reached out, reconsidered his positions. When he’s back in Colorado, he’s always at an event, often ethnic in nature in the melting pot that is Aurora.

“He’s officially bulletproof,” said Eric Sondermann, a Denver-based political analyst, told The Denver Post. “There’s one and only one threat that I can see to Mike Coffman’s tenure in Congress, and that’s redistricting. And that doesn’t happen until just prior to the 2022 election.”