WASHINGTON — A Washington special interest group has targeted several Republicans including Colorado’s Rep. Mike Coffman in a $2 million television advertising campaign accusing the lawmakers of ignoring global warming science.
The League of Conservation Voters says their campaign blitz now airing in the Denver market is intended to draw attention to Coffman and the other lawmakers’ “extreme voting record.”
The ads also target Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Dan Benishek of Michigan, all of whom have a record of supporting energy development.
Coffman is up for reelection next year and will face former Democratic statehouse Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the newly redrawn 6th District, which was previously represented by Rep. Tom Tancredo.
The league has criticized numerous votes cast by Coffman in its annual scorecard, including his support of the Keystone pipeline in numerous votes, the Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, and legislation that waived certain environmental rules to construct a fence along the U.S. and Mexican border.
The ad urges voters to pressure Coffman to act on climate change issues, and compares the congressman to an African ostrich.
“This is the African Ostrich, tall, flightless, head in the sand,” the ad says. “And this is Congressman Coffman, also with his head in the sand — on climate change.”
Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the ad could backfire in a state where energy development provides thousands of jobs and adds significantly to the state’s economy.
The League of Conservation Voters opposes the Keystone pipeline and many other oil, gas and coal extraction projects across the U.S., opposition that often results in onerous government regulations and higher energy costs for consumers, Houlton said.
“It’s really disappointing that Romanoff’s special interest allies out here in Washington are endorsing a plan that increases energy costs on middle class Colorado families,” Houlton said. “This is something that Romanoff is either going to have to accept as his policy position as well, or condemn the ad.”
“There’s certainly a way to balance these things out between the environment, and also not raise energy costs,” Houlton said. “But to go with a cap and trade agenda that Obama has already pushed forward is not the way to do it. We don’t need more government intrusion, and we don’t need higher energy costs on middle-class families.”
The TV ads are part of a larger campaign orchestrated by the White House to advance their climate change agenda while Republicans are back home in their districts during the August recess conducting town hall meetings, Houlton said.
“What’s interesting to me is that we are talking about the same two things we were talking about in (the 2010 election) when Republicans took back the House, and that’s Obamacare and cap and trade,” Houlton said.
“It’s not going to work for them now because these policies are failures,” Houlton said. “We’ve seen time and time again Obamacare getting worse by the day, and no one is willing to pay higher electrical bills because Obama has a war on coal and energy in general.”