Election season is here, and that means that, unless you live in some sort of Netflix-induced coma, you're getting blasted with nonstop political ads. And if you're in the Denver TV market, you're probably getting treated to an extra slew of them, thanks to a hyper-competitive congressional race close by.
In the perennially competitive 6th Congressional District race between Republican Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Jason Crow, we've been treated to a spectacle of this-guy-is-the-devil ads. But in a fever-pitched race with huge national implications — perhaps a race that could decide whether Democrats or Republicans control the House of Representatives in January — some of these ads go too far. Here are the worst of the worst.
4. "Take The Cough Out of Congress," League of Conservation Voters on behalf of Crow
The first 23 seconds of this ad are perfectly normal, filled with fairly run-of-the-mill candidate-bashing. But it's the final few seconds where this LCV ad gets.... silly. The narrator pronounces Coffman's name with an emphasis on the "Coff," and the spot ends with:
"Say no to Mike COFF-man. Take the cough out of Congress."
Really? This is the best of what two years of opposition research and thousands — no — millions of dollars came up with? What swing voter is suddenly changing their opinion based on that?
3. "Hypocrisy," Coffman attacking Crow
This quick fifteen-second ad attacks Crow for demanding "extreme new gun control," quoting a pro-Coffman sheriff in Douglas County, while also having worked at a law firm that lobbied on behalf of gun interests. But Coffman overlooks the amount of money he has received from gun interests.
Not only that, it's an empty attack based on Crow's employer that doesn't focus on any solutions. Indeed, "hypocrisy" abounds.
2. "(CO-06) Failed," Congressional Leadership Fund on behalf of Coffman
This particularly ugly ad was widely picked apart by local media, and for good reason. It attacks Crow for not doing enough for veterans while serving on the Board of Veterans' Affairs. It also blames Crow for mismanagement at the VA hospital while he served on the board, but those two aren't intertwined and have nothing to do with one another, as CBS 4's Shaun Boyd pointed out. "Neglecting veterans," as the ad says Crow did, is a false characterization of actions by someone who has received awards for his pro bono legal work on behalf of veterans.
Crow is a Bronze Star recipient and a decorated Army Ranger, and Coffman served two tours of duty in Iraq. Clearly, the GOP is concerned about Crow's army credentials appealing to veteran voters, but this was the wrong — and dishonest — way to go about attacking them.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
1. "Mike Coffman Sides With the NRA," Giffords PAC on behalf of Crow
This may be the worst political ad we've seen in a while. This ad from a gun-control group, supported by former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (who was shot in the head in 2011 but survived), creates a "fictional" text conversation between a girl named Emily and her mother, in which the girl texts her mother "I love u. Tell Dad I love him."
Problem is, this almost exactly mirrors what really happened in 2006 when sixteen-year-old Emily Keyes was shot and killed in a 2006 school shooting at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey. Keyes's family asked for the ad to be taken down, and after some initial waffling by both the Giffords PAC and the Crow campaign, it was taken off the air. But the damage had already been done.