Mike Coffman, Republican representative of Colorado’s now toss-up Sixth Congressional District, is drawing fire from long-established national environmental group the League of Conservation Voters.
A new ad hitting the Denver market blasts Coffman for his record opposing climate-change legislation and for casting doubt on climate-change science in his public statements.
Part of a $2 million campaign targeting members of Congress in swing districts, the ad likens Coffman to an Ostrich, head buried in the sand. It also refers mockingly to Coffman’s more than twenty-years in public office.
“This is the African Ostrich,” says the voice-over narrator. “Tall, flightless, head in the sand.”
On the screen, ostriches gambol through the savannah, the latin name for the species, Struthio Camelus, runs below them.
Then comes a still of Coffman, in suit and tie, hovering before Capitol Hill.
“And this is Congressman Coffman, also with his head in the sand — on climate change.”
Under Coffman’s photo, the League has labeled him with its own latin species name: Careerus Politicus.
“The American people are tired of Washington politicians like Rep. Coffman ignoring basic scientific facts and standing in the way of action on climate change,” said League President Gene Karpinski in a release announcing the ad campaign.
The League publishes an annual ratings of lawmakers according to their record on environmental issues. Coffman has earned “an abysmal” 6 percent score out of a possible 100 percent. Most of the Democratic members of Colorado’s delegation have notched lifetime ratings in the 90 percentiles. Of Colorado representatives, only Fifth District Republican Doug Lamborn, with a lifetime 5 percent rating, scores lower than does Coffman.
Coffman this summer has drawn attacks first for his past staunch anti-immigration-reform positions and then for moderating those positions in ways that skeptics suggest may be less than sincere.
Coffman first won elected office in 1989 and has served in government almost every year since then. He has been elected to the state House and Senate. He has also been Secretary of State and the State Treasurer.
Coffman was first elected to Congress in 2008 to hold the deep-red Sixth District seat being vacated by hardline anti-illegal immigration crusader Tom Tancredo. He sailed back into office in 2010 on the Tea Party wave and has been struggling to fully win over his new evenly-divided constituency ever since redistricting took effect for the 2012 election. Coffman soon found that tossing off right-wing red-meat comments could win him national negative attention, as happened when he was captured on video telling attendees at a conservative fundraiser asking about President Obama’s birth certificate that he didn’t believe the president was American “in his heart.”
“I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that,” Coffman said. “But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”