DENVER — The Truth Check team continues to look at the candidates and their commercials in the 2018 midterms. Every advertisement that claims something — we will research and determine if the candidates are actually telling the truth.
You can watch our previous “Truth Check” segments here and you can read our criteria and standards here.
The latest Truth Check involves the highly competitive Colorado 6th Congressional District Race between incumbent Mike Coffman and Jason Crow.
This race is particularly interesting because Coffman, a Republican, is in a district that went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. While Coffman won his race by more than 30,000 votes some believe an “anti-Trump wave” could negatively impact the sitting Congressman. Wednesday’s commercial is produced by the DCCC, a group based in DC devoted to electing Democrats to Congress nationwide.
Coffman supported the White House Agenda 96% of the time
Exact quote in ad: “I’ll stand up to him – plain and simple – instead Coffman voted with Trump more than any Colorado Member of Congress 96%.”
Reason: The commercial is correct because their source is reputable according to the Truth Check standards.
HOWEVER, IMPORTANT CONTEXT IS NEEDED.
We should begin by saying the advertisement uses footage from Coffman’s 2016 campaign in which he argued he would “Stand Up” to President Trump if he is elected.
Enter FiveThirtyEight, a website which tracks Members of Congress and their voting record.
The website only looked at votes in which the White House took a position.
While Coffman’s score is 95.6%, it should be noted many of the Congressman’s votes were on non controversial issues like including:
- Expanding Private Care Options for Veterans
- Making Targeted Attacks on Law Enforcement Officers a Federal Crime
- The Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Package
The Truth Check believes it’s important to note Coffman’s opposition to President Trump’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Coffman voted to sabotage health care and The Affordable Care Act
Exact quote in ad: “Coffman voted for Trump’s plan to sabotage our health care.”
Reason: As we previously mentioned, Coffman actually voted against The American Health Care Act of 2017, the GOP effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
This commercial doesn’t mention that instead they are referring to Coffman’s vote on HR 1, which was the Republican tax cut plan. It is true that bill eliminated the individual mandate to have health insurance because it eliminated penalties. The Truth Check does not believe however that amounts to a “sabotage” since many other tenants of the Affordable Care Act remain in place, like protections for pre-existing conditions and the ability to stay on a parent’s plan until a child is 26.
Coffman’s tax vote threatens Social Security and Medicare
Exact quote in ad: “He voted for Trump’s tax giveaway–threatening Social Security and Medicare.”
Verdict: Not Exactly.
Reason: For one the Truth Check believes Social Security and Medicare was at risk prior to the tax cut being passed. Democrats believe since the law hurts the deficit, entitlements are inherently at risk.
Republicans counter by arguing the tax cuts will create economic growth — allowing Social Security and Medicare to be better funded in the years to come.
The Truth is the true impact is impossible to be measured at this point since the tax cut is still relatively new; we will revisit when clearer facts emerge.
Coffman didn’t stand up to Donald Trump – plain and simple
Exact quote in ad: “Coffman didn’t stand up to Donald Trump – plain and simple. ”
Reason: The Truth Check believes Coffman’s record when it comes to the Trump White House is not “plain and simple.”
It is true Congressman Coffman has sided with the President on issues like taxes. It is true he more often than not sides with the White House on votes in the House. However he has also opposed him on major issues like net neutrality, the Affordable Care Act, sanctioning Russia, and even immigration.
The Truth Check believes major issues like healthcare and immigration should be given greater weight than issues that attract bipartisan support.