Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District was the site of the deadly 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting and close to the 1999 Columbine massacre. Right now, the Sixth is represented by Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, but a Democratic House candidate thinks he can beat Coffman in November by running a campaign to end gun violence.
Attorney and Army veteran Jason Crow still has to win his primary on June 26, but he has the backing of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the gun control advocacy group started by former Rep. Gabby Giffords.
Democrats have been eyeing CO-6 for years, and the district is on the DCCC’s “red to blue” list to flip this year. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the district D+2, and Hillary Clinton won it by 9 points in 2016. Yet Coffman, the incumbent Republican, has managed to hang on to his seat since he was elected nearly a decade ago.
Crow thinks he can beat Coffman by aggressively campaigning on an issue Democrats have shied away from in the past: gun control.
“It’s now gotten to the point where this constant flow of shootings in the country has now impacted people where we think about this all the time,” Crow told me in a recent interview. “Loud noises happen in a crowd and at public events, and instead of people thinking about, ‘Maybe someone dropped something,’ people think about a gun.”
Crow is quick to mention his background as a hunter and his extensive military experience when he’s talking to constituents who are skeptical of gun control efforts.
“I say, ‘I grew up a hunter and I know about firearms,’” he said. “I’m not coming to this issue as somebody that’s never used them and doesn’t know anything about them. I’m not trying to take away law-abiding citizens’ gun rights, and I’m not trying to take away the Second Amendment.”
In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting in February, Coffman has had some tense town halls with angry constituents on the issue of gun violence. Crow is seizing on that political wave.
His first ad, called “Enough,” hit Coffman for taking money from the National Rifle Association, and highlighted the fact that his young children are starting to take part in active shooter drills at their elementary school…