DENVER – Joe Coors has launched his second TV ad of the election season in a bid to unseat Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Lakewood). And like his first, it touts the Golden businessman’s private sector experience.
“Right here in Golden, I helped build the largest technical ceramics company in the world,” the safety-goggle clad Coors says from the CoorsTek factory floor in Golden during the upbeat 30-second spot, “A thousand manufacturing jobs here in the Denver area.”
The more than 100-year old company manufactures, among other things, advanced ceramic body armor components.
The company website includes a testimonial from Marco di Lauro, an Associated Press photographer who was wearing a flak jacket when he was hit in the back with an AK-47 round during a firefight between Taliban and Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan. He survived, in part, thanks to the Colorado-manufactured armor plate inside.
Coors’ emphasis on his business and executive background underscores the campaign’s effort to differentiate Coors’ record of job creation with that of Perlmutter, a three-term incumbent, whose tenure in Congress was preceded by eight years in the state legislature.
The challenger’s campaign got some more good news on Friday when the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) sent out a press release announcing that Coors had achieved “Young Gun” status.
“I’m honored to be the senior member of the Young Guns program,” the 70-year old Coors quipped. “While we differ in age, we all share an energetic desire to go to Congress to change Washington…I’m ready to use my real world business experience to shake things up in Congress.”
The status is part of the larger NRCC “Young Gun” program, which began during the 2007-2008 election cycle. The purpose of the program is to support challenger and open-seat candidates who have meet key internal organizational and fundraising benchmarks. The “Young Gun” classification is the final step in the program, which is preceded by “Contender” and “On the Radar” status.
Both the NRCC and its Democratic counterpart for Congressional elections, the DCCC, have programs that support targeted races around the country.
“Joe Coors has met a series of rigorous goals that will put him in position to win on Election Day,” said NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) in the release. “The momentum behind his campaign is proof-positive that Coloradoans are fed up with President Obama and Ed Perlmutter’s policies that spend too much, tax too much and borrow too much at the expense of hard-working families.”
Coors achievement this early in the election cycle is significant, given that Perlmutter’s last GOP challenger, Ryan Frazier, wasn’t acknowledged by the NRCC during the 2010 campaign until September.
While some observers have wondered privately whether or not the Golden businessman can unseat Perlmutter on positive campaign messages alone, others think Coors strategy so far has struck the right balance.
“Conventional wisdom says you have to first introduce yourself to the voters in a positive way,” said 2010 independent candidate for governor and former five-term Congressman Tom Tancredo. “Then you go crazy [with contrast ads].”
Former GOP Chairman and veteran political operative Dick Wadhams agreed.
“I think it is important for [Coors] to define his own credentials as a candidate right now,” said Wadhams, “but later on he is definitely going to have to draw clear contrasts with Perlmutter.”
For his part, Perlmutter appears to be taking Coors’ challenge seriously.
Earlier in the week, the incumbent Democrat sent out a fundraising solicitation citing Coors’ increasing television presence as a cause for concern.
“I need your help,” Perlmutter wrote, “Your financial support is critical to give me a chance to fight back against Joe’s deep pockets.”
But campaign finance reports suggest that Perlmutter may be the one with the deep pockets – at least when it comes to contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs).
According to OpenSecrets.org, Perlmutter has received more than $900,000 from labor union PAC’s, and contributions from the special interest groups make up more than half of Perlmutter’s donations, according to numbers posted by political blog Colorado Peak Politics earlier this week.
Coors’ new ad begins airing this week. The $400,000 ad buy will put the spot up on both cable and broadcast TV, according to Coors Communications Director Michelle Yi.