DENVER — In the fight for Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, perhaps the biggest House race in the country this year, both campaigns seem to be focusing on the same policy issue: immigration.
After Coffman put more money this week behind a web ad campaign featuring a Democratic lawmaker’s four-year-old quote (since disavowed) that Romanoff “threw Hispanic voters under the bus” during a 2006 special legislative session, Romanoff’s campaign is hitting back with a new web ad of its own.
The minute-long spot is a “greatest hits” of sorts, including a multitude of Coffman statements and votes on immigration-related issues.
Perhaps most devastating is the piece of the ad featuring video of Coffman on the Capitol steps during a Tea Party Express rally introducing his predecessor, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, as “my hero.”
The ad starts with close-ups of young DREAMers before cutting to a slow-motion shot of Coffman as the male narrator reminds viewers that the congressman once referred to the DREAM Act, which would open up a path to citizenship for undocumented young people brought to the country illegally by their parents, as “a nightmare.”
“This is just another sleazy political stunt by Speaker Romanoff to distract from his own much criticized record on immigration,” said Coffman’s spokesman, Tyler Sandberg. “The next time Speaker Romanoff is back in Washington visiting Nancy Pelosi, he should go take all this up with Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez who praised Mike as a guy trying to get an immigration fix done.”
Coffman, recognizing the significant Hispanic population in his redrawn district, has reversed course on immigration over the past two years, signaling his support for comprehensive immigration reform and even sponsoring the ENLIST Act, which would allow undocumented immigrants to get green cards by serving in the U.S. military, along with Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, the author of the DREAM Act.
Gutierrez, Coffman’s campaign is quick to point out, has referred to Coffman as “a proven leader in Congress on the issue of immigration.”
But Romanoff’s campaign portrays Coffman as two-faced, highlighting his vote last year for a proposal, sponsored by Congress’s current Tancredo, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, that sought to end the Obama administration’s deferred action program, which prevents young DREAMers from being deported.
“The same Mike Coffman who says he’s changed when he’s here in Colorado is voting to restart deportations in Washington, DC.,” the ad’s narrator says at the end of the spot. “So the next time Mike Coffman says he’s different, remember: the truth is nothing has changed.”
Romanoff, who supports the DREAM Act, held an immigration roundtable on Tuesday with a group of DREAMers and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.
Sandberg contrasted Romanoff’s appearance with Hoyer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy, with Coffman’s appearance with Gutierrez last month at a press conference in Washington.
“One’s a bipartisan leader and one’s a partisan political stuntman,” he said.
The former Democratic statehouse Speaker has also challenged Coffman to a debate on immigration issues.
“The young people we met today will be architects, physicians, teachers–anything they hope to be,” Romanoff said. “They deserve a Congress that values their dreams too.”