Mike Coffman

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Mike Coffman
Mike Coffman official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2009
Preceded by Tom Tancredo
Secretary of State of Colorado
In office
January 9, 2007 – January 3, 2009
Governor Bill Ritter
Preceded by Gigi Dennis
Succeeded by Bernie Buescher
Treasurer of Colorado
In office
March 27, 2006 – January 9, 2007
Governor Bill Owens
Preceded by Mark Hillman (Acting)
Succeeded by Cary Kennedy
In office
January 3, 1999 – June 9, 2005
Governor Bill Owens
Preceded by Bill Owens
Succeeded by Mark Hillman (Acting)
Member of the Colorado Senate
from the 27th district
In office
December 12, 1994 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Bill Owens
Succeeded by John Andrews
Member of the Colorado House of Representatives
from the 40th district
In office
January 1989 – December 12, 1994
Preceded by ???
Succeeded by Gary McPherson
Personal details
Born Michael Coffman
(1955-03-19) March 19, 1955 (age 62)
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cynthia Coffman
Alma mater University of Colorado, Boulder
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
 United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1972–1978 (Army)
1979–1994, 2005–2006 (Marines)
Rank US-O4 insignia.svg Major
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War
Iraq War

Michael Howard Coffman (born March 19, 1955) is the U.S. Representative for Colorado's 6th congressional district, serving since 2009. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the Secretary of State of Colorado (2007–2009) and as Colorado State Treasurer (1999–2005 and 2006–2007).

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Michael Coffman was born on March 19, 1955 at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to Harold and Dorothy Coffman, and is one of five children. His father served in the United States Army at Fort Leonard Wood, and after 1964, at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado.

In 1972, Coffman enlisted in the U.S. Army, and was assigned to a mechanized infantry battalion. The following year, he earned a high school diploma through an army program. Leaving active duty for the U.S. Army Reserve in 1974, he entered the University of Colorado, under the G.I. Bill graduating in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in political science.[1][2] He also studied at Vaishnav College in Chennai, India, and the University of Veracruz in Mexico for a year. Upon graduation from the University of Colorado, Coffman transferred from the Army Reserve to the United States Marine Corps in 1979, becoming an infantry officer. In 1983, he transferred from active duty to the Marine Reserves, serving until 1994. In 1983, he created an Aurora, Colorado-based property management firm, serving as senior shareholder until 2000.

State politics[edit]


Coffman began his political career serving as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1989 to 1994. Shortly after winning re-election in 1990, he took an unpaid leave-of-absence from the statehouse during his active duty service in the Persian Gulf War, during which he saw combat as a light armored infantry officer. In 1994, he retired from the U.S. Marine Corps after 20 years of combined service to the Army, Army Reserve, Marines, and Marine Reserve. In 2006 he returned to active duty in the Marines where he deployed to Iraq for combat service. Upon return from his deployment, he retired from the Marine Corps once again. When State Senator Bill Owens resigned his seat to become state treasurer, the party's vacancy committee named Coffman the replacement in December 1994. In 1996, he was elected to a full term to the Colorado State Senate unopposed.[3] He became the Chairman of the Finance Committee.[4]

Statewide offices[edit]

In 1998, Coffman was elected as State Treasurer of Colorado with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee Jim Polsfut.[5] In 2002, he was re-elected with 56%, defeating Democratic State Senator Terry Phillips.[6]

He resigned from that post in 2005 in order to resume his career in the U.S. Marines, and serve in the War in Iraq, where he helped support the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, which oversaw two national elections, and helped establish interim local governments in the western Euphrates Valley. In 2006, he completed his duty in Iraq and was re-appointed as State Treasurer. He served that position for only a few months because in November 2006, he was elected Colorado Secretary of State with 51% of the vote, defeating Democratic State Senator and Minority Leader Ken Gordon.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



Coffman announced that he would run for the U.S. House seat being vacated by retiring Republican Tom Tancredo in 2008 in Colorado's 6th congressional district. Three other candidates decided to run in the Republican primary for the open seat: Wil Armstrong (son of former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong), State Senator Ted Harvey, and State Senator Steve Ward. Coffman won the August primary with a plurality of 40% of the vote, beating runner-up Wil Armstrong by seven points.[8]

The Denver Post endorsed Coffman on October 10, 2008.[9] In November, Coffman defeated Democrat Hank Eng, an Appleton, Wisconsin City Common Councilman, 61%–39%.[10] Governor Bill Ritter designated State Representative Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, to succeed Coffman as Secretary of State.[11]


Coffman defeated Democrat John Flerlage 66%–31%.[12]


In redistricting, Colorado's 6th congressional district was made more favorable to Democrats than previously. Aurora was added to the district.[13] Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi challenged Coffman.[14] Coffman defeated Miklosi 48%–46%, a difference of 6,992 votes.[15]


Coffman ran for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He won the Republican nomination in the primary election on June 24, 2014, unopposed.[16] He faced Democrat Andrew Romanoff in the general election. Coffman won 52%–43%.


Coffman ran for re-election in 2016 as the Republican nominee against Democratic State Senator Morgan Carroll. He defeated Carroll in the general election, winning 51% of the vote to Carroll's 42%.[17] In July 2016, the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity announced plans to launch a major advertising campaign opposing Carroll.[18][19]

Coffman faced protests and jeering at a town-hall meeting in February 2017. The protesters questioned Coffman about his political positions and whether he would hold President Trump to account.[20] Coffman left the town-hall meeting early, and later said that "partisan activists showed up only to disrupt the event".[20][21]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]

He has voted with his party in 96.0% of votes so far in the current session of Congress.[22][23] Despite this, for the 114th United States Congress, Coffman was ranked as the 25th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives (and the most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Colorado) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).[24]


Coffman opposes abortion.[25] He has voted to defund Planned Parenthood.[26] In early 2014, Coffman announced that he no longer supports personhood laws.[27][28]

Donald Trump[edit]

Coffman did not endorse Donald Trump, the Republican Party's nominee for U.S. president in 2016.[29] In August 2016, he ran an advertisement promising to "stand up” to Trump. The ad represented the first time a House Republican used explicitly anti-Trump messaging in paid advertising. It is rare for incumbent members of Congress to run advertisements attacking presidential nominees of their own party.[30] Coffman also released a version of the commercial which featured him speaking Spanish.[31] He criticized Trump for his attacks on the parents of Captain Humayun Khan.

In February 2017, he voted against a resolution that would have directed the House to request 10 years of Trump's tax returns, which would then have been reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.[32]

Economic stimulus of 2009[edit]

Coffman voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was a stimulus package intended to save and create jobs, and provide temporary relief programs as a response to the Great Recession.[33] Coffman cited a nonexistent Congressional Budget Office study to justify his vote against the stimulus package.[34] Coffman later claimed that "the Congressional Budget Office estimates have been changed or suppressed".[35]


Coffman opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gases.[25]


Coffman is in favor of a "full repeal" of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[36] In January 2017, he voted in support of legislation that began the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act.[20]

LGBT rights[edit]

Coffman opposes same-sex marriage.[25]

In 2014, Coffman signed on as a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits discrimination in hiring and employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.[37] Later, in 2016, he expressed his support for provisions which would allow federal contractors to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. Later in 2016, he flip-flopped again; now opposing those provisions.[38]

Michael T. Flynn controversy[edit]

After it had been revealed in February 2017 that White House National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn had been covertly communicating with Russian officials and lying about the nature and content of those communications, Coffman said that he did not think that Flynn should be investigated any further after the congressman called for Flynn to resign.[39]

Military and veterans affairs[edit]

In 2011, Coffman proposed a half billion dollars in cuts to military programs such as education reimbursements, the Selective Service and the military's health plan, TRICARE, saying that the programs "have been neglected for a long time. Every dollar wasted is a dollar not going to our war fighters. What they do is important to this country, and we should focus on them."[40]

Coffman introduced the Veterans Paralympic Act of 2013,[41] which funds disabled veterans who want to compete in the Paralympic Games.[42] The bill was signed into law by President Obama in 2013.[43] In response to a 2013 Gazette report about veterans with mental health conditions, such as Post-traumatic stress disorder, being stripped of medical benefits, Coffman sponsored a 2014 amendment that would allow servicemen with mental health issues who were discharged because of misconduct to appeal for medical discharge instead.[44]

Coffman introduced the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014, a bill that would alter the relationship between the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses (RAC) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).[45][46] Coffman was the first congressman to call for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign after misconduct at multiple VA facilities was revealed.[47] On May 30, 2014, Shinseki resigned as Secretary.[48][49] In 2016, Coffman co-sponsored a bill to abolish the Selective Service System.[50]


Coffman has voted in favor of legislation that would end birthright citizenship, established by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.[51]

In August 2014, Coffman broke ranks with the Republican Party and voted against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.[52] In October 2015, Coffman and Democrat Tammy Duckworth co-sponsored the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act, which would provide undocumented immigrant children an opportunity to serve in the U.S. military and gain a path to citizenship.[53][54]

Collins opposed President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, stating: "While I’ve supported heightened vetting procedures, I have never, nor will I ever support a blanket travel ban, for people solely based on ethnic or religious grounds."[55]

Questioning Obama's citizenship[edit]

During a campaign fundraiser in Elbert County on May 12, 2012, Coffman expressed doubt that President Barack Obama had been born in the United States and declared that: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."[56] Coffman apologized several days later saying that he had misspoken and that he had "confidence in President Obama's citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States."[57]

Parental leave[edit]

In 2009, Coffman voted against legislation that would give four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.[26]


EMILY's List, a political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women, endorsed Coffman's 2016 U.S. House opponent. It criticized Coffman for allegedly "co-sponsoring a bill to redefine rape". PolitiFact.com rated the claim "Mostly True", writing that "Coffman did co-sponsor the bill to redefine a ban on federal funding for abortions to exempt 'forcible rape.' Yet he later voted on the floor for an amended version that had removed the 'forcible' modifier from the bill."[58]

Social issues[edit]

Coffman supports the Supreme Court's decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, but supports maintaining access to birth control for women.[59]

Coffman supports nationwide reciprocity of concealed weapons permits and opposes universal background checks for gun purchases.[60] He supported the 2012 renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.[61]


Coffman has repeatedly voted to repeal the inheritance tax on property valued above $5 million.[62]

Voting rights[edit]

During the general election of 2008, when Coffman was Secretary of State of Colorado, several groups accused the secretary of state's office of improperly marking 6,400 voter registration forms as incomplete, because they failed to check a box on the form, required by legislation sponsored by then Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, a Democrat, in 2006.[63] Incomplete registrations require voters to either re-register or provide extra identification when they go to vote.[63] Soon after the accusations were made, Common Cause filed suit against Coffman, in his official capacity as secretary of state. The secretary of state's office denied wrongdoing, and Coffman said he believes his office was correctly applying the law.[64] On October 30, 2008, the court approved a preliminary injunction allowing purged voters to participate in the 2008 election.[65] Bernie Buescher, Coffman's successor as secretary of state, replaced Coffman as defendant in the case in January 2009.[66] The bulk of the litigation was settled in January 2010 after changes to Colorado's election regulations, and the remaining portions were decided in January 2011.

In September 2016, Coffman became co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2015, legislation that would restore some protections in the 1965 Voting Rights Act that have been stripped by the United States Supreme Court.[67]

Personal life[edit]

Coffman's wife Cynthia Coffman was elected Colorado Attorney General in 2014. She previously served as Chief Deputy Attorney General in the office of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, and as Chief Counsel in the office of then-Governor Bill Owens.[68] They filed for divorce in June 2017. [69]

Coffman is a United Methodist.[70]


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  14. ^ Lee, Kurtis (July 29, 2011). "Not your average Joe launches congressional campaign". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
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  16. ^ "Live election results: June 24". The Washington Post. June 25, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 
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  19. ^ Sapin, Rachel (July 19, 2016). "Coffman outpaces Carroll again in quarterly CD6 fundraising, holds big cash lead". Aurora Sentinel. Retrieved 3 August 2016. 
  20. ^ a b c "Rep. Coffman issues statement after contentious meeting". FOX31 Denver. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  21. ^ "GOPer Who Vowed To Stand Up To Trump Flees Constituents At Community Event". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
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  28. ^ Stokols, Eli (March 25, 2014). "Coffman follows Gardner’s lead, flips fast on personhood". KDVR. 
  29. ^ Foley, Elise (August 4, 2016). "Republican Congressman Runs Ad Saying He Doesn’t Like Donald Trump". Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  30. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (August 4, 2016). "Republican releases ad promising to ‘stand up’ to Trump". Politico. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  31. ^ Watkins, Eli; Raju, Manu (August 4, 2016). "GOP congressman on Trump in ad: 'Honestly, I don't care for him much'". CNN. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  32. ^ "These are all the Republicans who don’t want you to see Donald Trump’s tax returns". indy100. 2017-02-28. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  33. ^ "Coffman calls Obama's stimulus ‘agenda-driven,’ says it won't stimulate economy". Columbine Courier. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  34. ^ "Coffman cites nonexistent CBO study as reason to vote against stimulus". The Colorado Independent. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  35. ^ "Coffman spokesman responds on rationale for voting against stimulus". The Colorado Independent. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  36. ^ "Colorado's GOP Congressmen: Time for a reality check, full repeal of Obamacare". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  37. ^ Stokols, Eli (April 9, 2014). "Coffman comes out in support of LGBT anti-discrimination measure". KDVR. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Standoff brewing over LGBT issue in defense bill". sunherald. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  39. ^ says, Alice Wren. "Coffman Responds To Firing Of Michael Flynn". Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  40. ^ Sherry, Allison. "Coffman's proposed military cuts face strong opposition."The Denver Post, April 21, 2011. Archived April 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ "H.R. 1402 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  42. ^ Coffman, Mike (September 27, 2013). "Coffman statement on The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act". House Office of Mike Coffman. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  43. ^ "H.R.1402 - VA Expiring Authorities Extension Act of 2013". Congress.gov. 
  44. ^ Philipps, Dave (June 2, 2014). "Path cleared for Coffman measure to protect vets". The Gazette. Colorado Springs. 
  45. ^ Coffman, Mike (March 14, 2014). "Bipartisan Bill on Gulf War Health Research". House Office of Mike Coffman. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  46. ^ Kennedy, Kelly (March 14, 2014). "Congress seeks independence for Gulf War illness board". USA Today. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
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  49. ^ "Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns". CNN. May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  50. ^ Matthews, Mark (February 10, 2016). "Mike Coffman, Jared Polis want to abolish the military draft". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Mike Coffman on Immigration". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
  52. ^ Foley, Elise (January 8, 2014). "House Votes To Strip Deportation Relief From Dreamers". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  53. ^ "H.R.3698 - Military Enlistment Opportunity Act of 2015". Congress.gov. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  54. ^ Stokols, Eli (May 20, 2014). "Coffman to push for military DREAMers bill already dismissed by GOP leadership". KDVR. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  55. ^ Blake, Aaron (January 31, 2017). "Whip Count: Here’s where Republicans stand on Trump’s controversial travel ban". Washington Post. 
  56. ^ Clark, Kyle (May 16, 2012). "Coffman Speech in Elbert County". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  57. ^ Southall, Ashley (May 24, 2012). "Republicans Apologetic After Raising Issue of Obama's Birthplace". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  58. ^ "Emily's List attacks Coffman on 'forcible' rape and abortion rights". Retrieved 2016-09-22. 
  59. ^ Murray, Jon (August 14, 2014). "Mike Coffman, Andrew Romanoff tangle on immigration, trade barbs". The Denver Post. 
  60. ^ "Parents Of Aurora Victims Slam Rep. Mike Coffman". CBS Denver. April 23, 2014. 
  61. ^ Murray, Jon (September 17, 2014). "Gay Republicans honor Mike Coffman, while Democrats challenge his record on issues". The Denver Post. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  62. ^ "Mike Coffman on Tax Reform". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved 2017-02-18. 
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  64. ^ "Lawsuit alleges voters in Colorado illegally purged from rolls". CNN. October 27, 2008. 
  65. ^ "Order Approving Parties' Stipulated Preliminary Injunction" (PDF). October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  66. ^ "Notice of Substitution of Party by Defendant Michael Coffman" (PDF). January 21, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  67. ^ Hutchins, Corey (September 12, 2016). "Mike Coffman quietly signs onto the Voting Rights Amendment Act". Colorado Independent. Retrieved 24 September 2016. 
  68. ^ Whaley, Monte (November 4, 2014). "Cynthia Coffman easily wins Colorado AG's race". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 5, 2014. 
  69. ^ Paul, jesse (June 20, 2017). "Cynthia and Mike Coffman have filed for divorce after 12 years of marriage". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 20, 2017. 
  70. ^ "About Mike Coffman". Mike Coffman for Congress. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Owens
Treasurer of Colorado
Succeeded by
Mark Hillman
Preceded by
Mark Hillman
Treasurer of Colorado
Succeeded by
Cary Kennedy
Preceded by
Gigi Dennis
Secretary of State of Colorado
Succeeded by
Bernie Buescher
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Tancredo
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Colorado's 6th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jason Chaffetz
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Gerry Connolly