Colorado's 6th Congressional District has been a safe Republican enclave -- the sort of place likely to elect current representative Mike Coffman for as long as he cares to serve in Congress. But a judge recently redrew lines to make the district more competitive, thereby giving an actual chance to Democratic state representative Joe Miklosi. And he aims to make the most of it despite calls for a better known Dem, like Andrew Romanoff, to enter the race.
Miklosi declared in July, before the new boundaries were in place, and he stresses that he didn't decide to do so under the theory that such changes were likely. "My campaign was never about the congressional district lines," he stresses. "It was about job growth and making Colorado the renewable-energy capital of the country. That's been my laser focus."
With that in mind, he declines to comment about the possible candidacy of Romanoff, who didn't return an interview-request call from Westword. Instead, he talks about his own viability, as evidenced by support from a large number of his fellow Democratic state reps, and what he sees as growing momentum for his quest.
"I've taken part in dozens of campaign appearances, and the support has been enthusiastic," he says. "People are receptive to candidates for Congress who focus on bread-and-butter issues -- issues like how to get the economy on track and how to create jobs."
Likewise, he says he's hearing plenty of negatives about Coffman. "There's tremendous dissatisfaction, because he's a do-nothing member of Congress. He's focused on Medicare destruction, comparing Social Security to a Ponzi scheme and pursuing a narrow, radical social agenda that doesn't reflect Colorado or our values. He serves on a small business committee where over 103 bills were introduced to help small businesses grow, and he didn't want to sponsor any of them. He'd rather spend his time on English-only ballots, not representing the district -- and he deserves to be fired."
As Senator Michael Bennet recently pointed out, Congress is currently less popular than Paris Hilton. Miklosi understands why.
"People I've talked to -- Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated voters -- just want practical problem-solvers, and that's the kind of leadership style I'm going to bring. I've balanced the budget every year in the state House of Representatives, I've cut my salary to show good faith; I've served on the audit committee that last year performed 52 financial and performance audits and saved taxpayers $47 million.
"I also bring a diverse professional background. I spent six years in business, where I helped start an Internet software company, four years in the non-profit sector, working for the most amazing civic organization in the world, Project C.U.R.E., which ships lifesaving medical supplies around the world, and twelve years of public-policy experience."
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Clearly, Miklosi is attempting to send the message that Democrats don't need a bigger name to take on Coffman -- because he's more than capable of doing the job himself. But he'll likely have to keep repeating his credentials unless or until Romanoff announces that his hat won't be going anywhere near the ring.
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More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Andrew Romanoff's latest fundraising request is a winner."