Pelosi and Dem PACs Meddling in Colorado
Stand up for your beliefs, right? If you are a conservative in a right-of-center state like Colorado, that should be simple enough. "The truth will make you free," as it is written in the Bible.
Of course, in politics, that is a lot easier said than done, as Joe Coors, Republican candidate for Congress in Colorado's 7th congressional district, is now finding out. The former president of CoorTek and great-grandson of Coors Brewing founder Adolph Coors is discovering that getting his conservative message to the voters of his north and west Denver congressional district is expensive and challenging. The challenge is mostly coming from a liberal incumbent, Democrat Ed Perlmutter, who walks and talks like a moderate, at least when he is in Colorado. Perlmutter also has rich friends from the far left who are happy to come to Colorado and spend their money on ads that attack Joe Coors.
Since the beginning of September, Nancy Pelosi's House Majority PAC, the government unions AFSCME and SEIU, and a Planned Parenthood-funded PAC have funneled a total of over $2 million worth of negative ads and mailers in the district, accusing Joe Coors of everything from being an outsourcer of jobs to being -- gasp! -- a "one-percenter." The FEC website literally shows pages and pages of outside groups coming to this Colorado district to occasionally praise Perlmutter, but mostly to trash Joe Coors.
The ad war in Coors' Denver district has been so lopsided that one local pundit has speculated that the money spent here may have diverted negative ad money away from neighboring races, possibly saving the campaigns of Republicans Scott Tipton (Colorado's 3rd) and Mike Coffman (Colorado's 6th).
And can you blame Nancy Pelosi and the unions? In a transparent election, Perlmutter would be a sure loser in a right-of-center district like Colorado's 7th. But since his initial election in 2006, Perlmutter has been a strong supporter of Nancy Pelosi and public employee unions. Perlmutter has voted to raise taxes; he has also voted in favor of the Obama-proposed $787-billion stimulus bill, cap and trade, union card check, and ObamaCare -- or, in other words, just about everything his Colorado constituents oppose.
Although his stump speech incorporates a few references to moderate things he has done in office, like helping get a local VA hospital built, there is not much about Perlmutter that is moderate except his rhetoric. In a candidate debate in September, I counted four times he mentioned "bipartisanship" or the phrase "reaching across the aisle" in an answer to a single question!
But even Perlmutter's recent congressional votes have been liberal. Last month, Perlmutter voted to oppose the "Stop The War On Coal Act" and also against overturning the Health and Human Services rules that enable welfare recipients to get welfare without looking for a job.
Perlmutter has been rated near the bottom of the list of the Club For Growth's Congressional Scorecard, with a lifetime rating of 5%, and both the NRA and the National Right To Life Committee have given Perlmutter a support score of 0%. Citizens Against Government Waste has rated Perlmutter "hostile," with a score of 13%. It is Perlmutter's record of voting with the House Democrats 88% of the time, his extreme pro-choice positions, and his 100% score from The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that has resulted in the recent ad buys.
Coors has hit back with ads emphasizing jobs and accusing Perlmutter of "gaming the system" by arranging a government guarantee for a family-related venture. "Our paid media plan has been robust and has gone nearly head-to-head with the Perlmutter campaign and their Washington allies," Coors Communications Manager Michelle Yi recently told me.
The Coors website also features a number of ads highlighting local citizens and their disappointment with Perlmutter and Obama policies in general. "A major emphasis of our media plan was to introduce Joe Coors to the voters and to inform them of the differences between Joe and Congressman Perlmutter. "While Joe spent his career creating jobs right here in the district, Ed Perlmutter has watched jobs leave while he served in Congress," Yi said.
And as opposed to the specifics-challenged Perlmutter website, the Coors campaign website has specified the stark differences in the positions of Coors and Perlmutter: ObamaCare, the Obama stimulus, card check, the Reins Act (to limit agency overreach), Nancy Pelosi as speaker, budget transparency, the Keystone XL Pipeline, cap & trade, exploration of energy on federal lands, lifting the Gulf drilling moratorium, Dodd-Frank, and other issues. Coors recently told me that thanks to Perlmutter's and the Obama administration's policies of the past three and a half years, Colorado's official unemployment rate remains above 8%, and the median household income in Colorado has decreased 10%, so the voters could be eager for a change.
Will the Coors punch-back be enough? An internal poll from the Coors campaign in August showed a strong lead over Perlmutter, but Cook Political Report currently shows this district to be "likely Democrat," so the current status of the races is anyone's guess. Lately, the Denver-area rallies for the presidential candidates have been decidedly more populated by Romney supporters, and there has been news that the Obama team may be pulling out of Colorado. If true, this would affect Colorado congressional races.
Anyone wanting to make a last-minute contribution to the Joe Coors for Congress campaign may do so here. The Coors website is also a good place to sign up for other ways to help the campaign, like phone-calling potential voters and joining with other supporters in going door-to-door. Ms. Yi recently told me that any help from the voters in Colorado's District 7 will make a world of difference. She emphasized the local phone numbers, which are 303-526-0811 for the Golden office and 720-350-4629 for the Adams office.
Tom Thurlow is an attorney who practices law in the San Francisco Bay Area and manages the blog napawhinecountry.com. He lives in Napa County with his wife Martina and daughter Rachel.