In "Did You Know Mike Coffman is Running for Congress?," a blog published on October 6, I noted that Coffman, who's hoping to fill Tom Tancredo's old seat in the 6th Congressional District, had been almost entirely absent from the airwaves at that point owing to the impossibility of him losing in what's arguably the safest Republican area in the state.
Of course, a lot's happened since then. Coffman, Colorado's Secretary of State, has been the subject of poisonous press coverage in recent weeks thanks to accusations in court and in the public square that he's purged voters from the rolls in violation of federal law; read details here, here and here. And that's created an opening for his Democratic opponent, Hank Eng. Like every other Dem who competed in this district before him, Eng has been severely underfunded. For most of October, the only evidence I saw of him being in the race at all were yard signs placed on either side of highway ramps at C-470 and Ken-Caryl. But on October 29, his campaign sent out a press release claiming that a poll in Douglas County showed Eng running even with Coffman. And driving home last night, I was shocked to hear an actual Eng commercial on KHOW-AM. In it, Eng juxtaposed his three-plus decades of service in the public and private sectors with Coffman's alleged vote-suppression shenanigans.
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It's still hard to imagine that Coffman will find a way to lose -- but Eng seems likely to make a more respectable showing than any other Democratic candidate in the district before him. Read the aforementioned press release below, complete with links to negative Coffman stories and Eng's television ads. If the latter have run anywhere other than YouTube, it's news to me. -- Michael Roberts
Press Release Hank Eng Pulls Even in Colorado CD-6 Contact: Aaron Cohen Communications Director Hank Eng for Congress
Hank Eng Pulls Neck-to-Neck in Historically Close Congressional Race
For the first time in the history of CD-6, the race for Congress is neck-and-neck. In a poll conducted by Zenmango Media Group, Congressional Candidate Hank Eng has pulled within 5 points of his opponent, current Secretary of State Mike Coffman.
Zenmango Media conducted research between October 25th and October 27th, 2008 via online surveys among 609 Colorado voters residing across the Sixth Congressional District.
"The hard-working Coloradans of the Sixth Congressional District are making their voices heard," said Candidate Hank Eng. "This year is not about political partisanship or choosing sides, and voters in CD-6 are proving that. While my opponent spends these last days in court answering to lawsuits about illegal voter purges and disenfranchising thousands of voters across Colorado, I am working every day to make sure all Coloradans in CD-6 know that they have a real choice this year. And the choice is clear: In 35 years of public and private service I have proven time-again that I have the judgment and ethics to bring real, responsible leadership to Washington -- the kind of leadership that the people of CD-6 deserve. I cannot say the same for my opponent."
Shockingly, Coffman is losing ground in Douglas County, historically one of the most Republican counties in the state. The new poll results show that Hank Eng and Mike Coffman are in a dead-heat, each standing with 41 percent of the vote in Douglas County.
Eng believes that his television ad campaign is working. "This is the first time that the Democratic candidate has been able to reach the airwaves and the new poll numbers show that I have been able to reach out to the constituents of CD-6 who clearly understand what is at stake this year."
Mike Coffman will be in Federal District Court today in downtown Denver. Last week, the Advancement Project brought a class-action lawsuit against Secretary Coffman, charging him for illegally purging voters from the state's registrar and violating federal law that prohibits removing voters from the list within 90 days of the election. While Coffman has been in court, Democratic candidate Eng has been on the airwaves doing regular call ins to drive time talk shows urging people to vote early to avoid disastrous election day lines. Said Eng of the calls, "The most important thing here is that people are enfranchised and able to properly exercise their rights as US citizens, I am calling in to these shows not to advocate for myself but to simply urge people to participate and be on top of the process because of all the problems here in Colorado."
Other interesting figures from the poll include Hank ahead of Coffman amongst women and registered Independents, and Coffman with an incredible 64 percent negative rating.
Links highlighting problems from the Secretary of States office: