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HASC's Coffman, Democratic Foe Tussle Over Balanced-Budget Bona Fides

Aug. 21, 2014 - 02:26PM   |  
By JOHN T. BENNETT   |   Comments
HASC member Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Democrat Andrew Romanoff are competing to represent Colorado's 6th Congressional District.
HASC member Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Democrat Andrew Romanoff are competing to represent Colorado's 6th Congressional District. ()
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WASHINGTON — A GOP House Armed Services Committee member locked in a tight re-election fight is demanding his Democratic opponent take down a television ad, saying it inaccurately portrays the foe as fiscal hawk.

HASC member Mike Coffman, R-Colo., is charging that an ad released by Democrat Andrew Romanoff, a former speaker of the state’s House of Representatives, incorrectly portrays Romanoff as a believer in balanced budgets.

In a television ad, Romanoff says as House speaker he supported a balanced-budget amendment. “It’s really pretty simple,” he says in the spot. “You don’t buy things you cannot pay for.

“But that’s what Congress does all the time, spending our tax dollars on perks and privileges while racking up a mountain of debt,” says Romanoff, sleeves rolled slightly and standing before what appears to be a digital image of the Rocky Mountains.

Romanoff was Colorado House speaker from 2005 until 2008, and during that span he claims in the ad that “we balanced the budget every year.”

“Out here, balancing the budget is the law,” he says, beginning to walk off screen. “It ought to be the law in Washington, too.”

The Coffman campaign is alleging the ad attempts to paint Romanoff in the mold of a Republican fiscal hawk, aiming to grab the same turf as Coffman.

Doing so would be a wise play in typically conservative Colorado.

But in a blast email this week, the Coffman campaign highlighted a video from a recent Colorado 6th Congressional District debate. Romanoff’s support at that event of the notion of borrowing money via a bond initiative for infrastructure projects shows he is not as fiscally conservative as he portrays himself.

“You ought to be able to borrow money if you’re gonna repair your infrastructure,” Romanoff said at the debate.

“Mr. Romanoff, take down this advertisement," Tyler Sandberg, Coffman’s campaign manager, said in an email. He said the debate comment and Romanoff’s ad supporting balanced-budget measures is a “absurd” and a “contradiction.”

“No one believes Speaker Romanoff is a fiscal hawk,” Sandberg said, “not even Speaker Romanoff apparently.”

The Romanoff campaign had not responded to a reporter’s request for comment at time of publication.

Real Clear Politics, an independent organization that tracks political races, lists the Coffman-Romanoff race as a toss-up.

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