Congress: Coffman, Other Colorado Incumbents Roll To Re-Election

Photo: Mike Coffman victory speech (AP Photo)
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., gives his victory speech at the Colorado Republican election night party Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman defeated Democrat Morgan Carroll, fending off a well-funded challenger, to retain his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“They threw everything against me but the kitchen sink," Coffman said at a Republican victory party in Greenwood Village. "It didn’t work.”

Carroll conceded defeat at an event in Aurora. She said she was grateful for her support and vowed to keep fighting for Democratic principles.

Coffman, first elected in 2008, used to represent a fairly safe Republican district and was a pretty standard Republican. He worked to balance the budget and help veterans, and took a hard line on illegal immigration. In 2011, redistricting radically redrew the lines and changed the way he did his job.

Crowd asks Mike Coffman during his victory speech, "who did you vote for?" #COpolitics

Congressional District 6 now wraps around the east side of the Denver metro area, covering Aurora and the affluent southeastern suburbs. Its economic and racial diversity is also reflected in its politics, split almost evenly between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, making it among the most competitive in the nation.

"What makes me a better Congressman, because of this district -- what makes me a better person -- is that it has forced me to reach out," Coffman told CPR News recently.

Carroll knew the district well, having represented a big chunk of it as a state senator for eight years. She touted accomplishments that range from expanding background checks on gun sales to stronger protections for homeowners. Part of her pitch in this election was that she’d work across the aisle to get Congress to adopt some of the rules of Colorado’s legislature.

"I like bringing more Colorado to D.C.," Carroll said. "The fact that our bills get a hearing, at least they get a fair debate, at least they get a vote."

But in the end, voters chose to send Coffman back to Congress.

DeGette Wins In 1st District

Ten-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette defeated Libertarian Darrel Dinges and Republican Charles "Casper" Stockham.

DeGette has served Colorado’s 1st Congressional District, a liberal bastion that covers Denver, since first being elected to Congress in 1997, when she took over the seat from Pat Schroeder. She favors raising the minimum wage, comprehensive immigration reform, and adding land to the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Among her committee assignments: the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. In the run-up to the Paris accords, DeGette said addressing climate change is the "issue of our time. We need to take immediate, international action to invest in renewable energy production and reverse the damage caused so far."

Polis Retains Seat In 2nd District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis was re-elected over Republican Nicholas Morse and Libertarian Richard Longstreth.

Polis was first elected in 2008. He was challenged by Republican Nicholas Morse and Libertarian Richard Longstreth in a safely democratic seat. The second district covers the central and north Front Range suburbs, as well as Fort Collins, Boulder, Vail, Idaho Springs and Grand Lake.

Polis favors a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, views climate change as a national security threat to the country, and wants the federal government to stop subsidizing fossil fuel research. He also also opposes turning public lands over to state control.

Tipton Wins in 3rd District

Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, first elected in 2008, beat back challenges from former state Sen. Democrat Gail Schwartz, and Libertarian Gaylon Kent.

Schwartz used Tipton’s incumbency against him during the campaign, tying him to an unpopular Congress and the influence oil and gas donors had on a piece of draft legislation.

His district, which includes big metros like Pueblo and Grand Junction, has the lowest overall education levels (only 30 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher), lowest incomes (median household income is $49,885), and lowest home values (median value of owner-occupied housing units $203,200) of any of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, according to Census data.

Buck Rolls In 4th District

First-term Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck defeated Libertarian Bruce Griffith and Democrat Bob Seay. Buck represents a conservative district that covers a huge swath of the Eastern Plains. He has called human-caused climate change a “hoax,” favors lowering the corporate tax rate, opposes “attempts to restrict the Second Amendment,” and he wants the Affordable Care Act repealed.

Lamborn Cruises In 5th District

Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, first elected in 2006, defeated Libertarian Mike McRedmond and Democrat Misty Plowright. CD5 Runs through the center of the state, from El Paso County west to Salida, Buena Vista and South Park.

Perlmutter Keeps Seat In 7th District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, first elected in 2006, defeated Republican George Athanasopoulos and Libertarian Martin L. Buchanan. CD 7 covers Denver’s western and northern suburbs including Lakewood, Arvada, Westminster, Northglenn and Thornton.