GOP loses Coffman as obvious 2016 Senate candidate

Colorado’s Republican Party had been banking on Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, to run against Michael Bennet in 2016 for Senate. But the GOP got bad news today, when Coffman announced he’s instead vying for re-election to his current job representing the 6th Congressional District in what may be another hot-to-watch battle against likely Democratic state Sen. Morgan Carroll.

Coffman – whose district has been in the spotlight because of snafus and massive overruns building Colorado’s new Veterans Administration hospital — is pledging to run again for his House seat so he can “clean up the VA, where my position as Chairman of the House Veterans Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee has allowed me to shine a light on the culture of bureaucratic incompetence and corruption,” he said in a press release.

Democrats are thrilled about Coffman’s decision because the GOP has no other obvious alternative to Coffman for the higher-stakes Senate race.

“Republicans in Washington are in a full-blown panic, scrambling to find a serious candidate to take on Sen. Michael Bennet,” Colorado Democratic spokesman Andrew Zucker said in a press release. “This ensures what will soon be a crowded GOP primary which will produce a Republican nominee who is out of touch, won’t stand up for average Coloradans and can’t win in 2016,”