What do you do if you’re a House Republican lawmaker running for reelection in an increasingly diverse district? You probably want to consider running an ad like the one released Thursday by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.
One of the few moderate Republicans left in the chamber, Coffman represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District, which wraps around Denver and is home to fast-growing communities packed with Hispanic, Asian and African immigrants.
That’s a problem in a year when Donald Trump is set to top the GOP ticket. Given what the likely presidential nominee has said about immigrants and about keeping Muslims out of the country, voting for any Republican will be a tough sell in many immigrant communities.
That’s what makes Coffman’s new television ad so interesting:
The message stars minorities, especially women — two constituencies tilting far away from Republicans right now in polling across the country. It mentions that Coffman was involved in attempts to revamp the nation’s immigration laws — he was a key player in the House during the 2013 debate — and even includes a short clip of Coffman speaking Spanish.
“Mike’s not like other politicians,” one Hispanic woman says in the ad.
“He’s not like other Republicans,” says an Asian woman.
“I think he’s better,” adds an Ethiopian immigrant.
“Mike’s one of us,” a Hispanic man says later.
“He’s one of us,” another Asian woman says.
Appearing again, the Hispanic woman says: “Mike Coffman es uno de nosotros” — he’s one of us.
You get the idea.
Nonpartisan forecasters consider Coffman’s reelection fight a “tossup” that leans slightly in his direction, in part because presidential election years always bring out more voters. Given the nature of his district, Coffman is a perennial Democratic target, but he’s survived close challenges before.
It’s because of outreach like this. Republicans congressional candidates running in similarly diverse districts across Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New York and Texas may want to take note.