Coffman flies by Democratic challenger in CD 6

Pilot Flerlage blames Democratic Party leadership for bumpy ride

By Jimy Valenti
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Republican Mike Coffman easily cruised into his second term representing the 6th Congressional District. He defeated Democrat John Flerlage who blames the state’s Democratic leadership for not fighting along side him.

Coffman garnered 66 percent (201,797) of the vote to Flerlage’s 31 percent (95,224) and Libertarian Rob McNealy’s 3 percent (8,494) to secure victory in the 6th — a district encompassing Denver’s southern suburbs including Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Parker and Castle Rock.

Flanked on stage at the DoubleTree Hotel in Greenwood Village by his mother and wife Cynthia, Coffman said the election was a referendum on President Obama and his congressional allies.

Congressman Mike Coffman fires up the crowd of supporters gathered at the Republican Party election watch headquarters in Greenwood Village.
Photo by Pete Heacox/The Colorado Statesman

“It is a referendum on whether the Congress should continue down this reckless path of out-of-control spending or whether our nation should return to fiscal discipline and the American people have spoken,” he told the enthusiastic crowd.

In his victory speech, Coffman recalled the 2006 midterm elections where Republicans were sent home across the country. He vowed to not let that happen again in two years by adhering to conservative principles of limited government.

Talking to The Colorado Statesman from a bus on his way to the San Francisco airport, Flerlage, a Delta Airlines pilot and former U.S. Marine, said he was astounded by the lack of teamwork in Colorado’s Democratic Party and by their poor interaction with the national Democratic Party.

Flerlage asserted that until the state party adheres to a bottom up philosophy, Democrats would not win CD 6 — a district controlled by Republicans since its inception in 1982.

“Its an every man for himself mentality,” Flerlage said of Colorado’s Democratic leadership.

Flerlage acknowledged that the district’s numbers were against him from the start. Republicans and unaffiliated voters currently outnumber Democrats. As of Nov. 1, the district had 197,909 Republicans, 136,237 unaffiliated voters and 118,946 Democrats. Flerlage also credited a national momentum favoring Republicans and Coffman’s strong standing within his party as reasons for coming up short.

Coffman outraised Flerlage $855,277 to $151,480 and the Congressman finished up the campaign with $422,267 cash on hand. Flerlage said he knew fundraising would be an issue when he announced his candidacy in January 2009.

“At first I thought the tough economy would dry up fundraising, but there was money out there,” Flerlage said. “It was a lack of confidence in our efforts that was the problem and that goes back to poor [Democratic Party] leadership.”

He said he is proud of a 21-month campaign that had no missteps, no FEC complaints and no accusations of an inflated or false resume. Next week Flerlage will host a staff appreciation dinner to thank his closest volunteers and supporters. Flerlage said he couldn’t imagine running for office again.

“My supporters just threw their whole heart and soul into it and to not get any reward for it, is hard to ask people to do that again,” Flerlage said.

Jimy@coloradostatesman.com