Colorado’s quiet congressional races getting nastier
DENVER — With the presidential race dominating news coverage in Colorado, a swing state that could very well decide who wins the White House, candidates for Congress are having a harder time getting the media to focus on their races.
Although it’s not for lack of trying.
Republicans are attacking Democrat Sal Pace, who’s challenging GOP Congressman Scott Tipton in Colorado’s Third Congressional District, because he filmed a campaign ad featuring him and his dad doing chores around the house in a house that doesn’t belong to either of them.
Candidates staging their ads is nothing new (see: Miklosi, Joe); but Pace may have opened himself up to this attack because of the text that appears at the end of this spot: “Real Life.”
“This is not ‘real life’, this is Sal’s made-for-campaign life that he is trying to pass off to the voters of Colorado,” said Michael Fortney, Tipton’s campaign manager, earlier this week. “The word disingenuous comes to mind when you use a fake house and are doing fake chores in an ad about ‘real life.’ This misdirection is a perfect parallel to Sal’s campaign.”
“Sal Pace has been making up his own facts for a long time, so this latest episode is not a huge surprise,” said the NRCC’s Daniel Scarpinato, piling on in a press release Tuesday.
Looking to find anything to fit the current news cycle’s obsession with Mitt Romney’s comments about how 47 percent of the country doesn’t pay taxes and can’t be convinced that “they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”, Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter dug up some audio of his opponent, Joe Coors, making a similar comment.
“If you’re on food stamps, you might be a redneck,” Coors is recorded saying in audio posted Tuesday on a website, “Who is the Real Joe Coors?” that’s funded by the Colorado Democratic Party.
Coors, meanwhile, is attacking Perlmutter over his votes in the state legislature — 16 years ago.
And, also fitting within the larger narrative of taxes and tax cuts, GOP Congressman Mike Coffman’s campaign is attacking his opponent, Democrat Joe Miklosi, has launched “Joe’s Tax of the Day”, a daily email blast attacking Miklosi for voting in favor of various tax increases and fees while serving in the state legislature.
Thus far, Coffman has pointed out Miklosi’s support for taxes on plastic bags, soda and rental cars.
“Yesterday, families across Colorado had pizza and soda to root on the Broncos,” said Coffman’s spokesman, Owen Loftus, in an email Tuesday. “Unfortunately, they can’t even enjoy that without being hit by one of Joe Miklosi’s taxes.”
Miklosi supported the so-called “Dirty Dozen”, a Democratic-led effort to end 12 tax loopholes in order to close a budget gap in 2010.
Ultimately, none of these campaign gambits, however shallow or sharp, is likely to sway voters to the same degree as the campaign’s television ads.
“In the Presidential campaign, the ads, while ubiquitous to the point of white noise and while requiring bazillions of dollars, are arguably the least important tactic as voters have so many other cues and sources of information,” said political analyst Eric Sondermann.
“However, when it comes to congressional races further down the ballot, ads become the dominant source of voter information, and are overwhelmingly important and often decisive.”