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Ex-Dem joins race to oust Rep. Mike Coffman

9:17 PM, Jun 5, 2012   |    comments
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Kathy Polhemus, a retired non-profit executive who founded Dress for Success, intends to submit signatures to the Colorado Secretary of State Wednesday morning to secure a spot on the ballot.

State Representative Joe Miklosi is the Democrat in the race.

"I think he is beholden to the far left of the party and I do not feel that he has a passionate voice for moderates," Polhemus said. "The middle of the political spectrum has pretty much been left out."

Polhemus says she has been contacted by Miklosi supporters urging her not to enter the race.

"I don't scare easy and I feel a call to service," Polhemus said. Campaign finance filings indicate she has donated $37,000 to her own campaign. Polhemus told 9Wants To Know's Kyle Clark that she is prepared to make an initial investment of $100,000 of her own money to get her candidacy off the ground.

Polhemus was previously a registered Democrat who flirted with a 2004 run for Arapahoe County Clerk. In 2008, she donated the maximum allowed by law, $2,300, to the campaign of President Barack Obama.

Polhemus lives in Englewood, outside the boundaries of the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District. Miklosi moved from Denver to Aurora to claim residency within the district.

Polhemus said she intends to stress issues of financial responsibility that will resonate with independent voters.

"We're headed for a fiscal trainwreck," Polhemus said. "I think I will become a contender if this reflects a mood, a general feeling that the middle of the spectrum isn't represented and needs to be."

The Miklosi camp has tried to capitalize on fallout from remarks made by Coffman at a May 12 fundraiser in Elbert County where, unprompted, he brought up the issue of President Obama's birthplace at patriotism.

"I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that," Coffman said on May 12. "But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."

When 9Wants To Know informed Coffman staffers that the remarks had been recorded and posted online by a supporter, Coffman said he misspoke and issued and apology.

Met outside a fundraiser days later after ignoring interview requests, Coffman refused to elaborate beyond a one sentence statement. Video of the exchange with 9NEWS went viral nationwide.

"Most of these incredible gaffes come at fundraisers," Polhemus said. "I think they say what they think is going to open checkbooks. And I think that happens on both sides. So I feel for Mr. Coffman. I think he stepped into it and probably regrets it."

Both rival campaigns welcomed Polhemus to the race Tuesday night.

"I look forward to having a spirited debate about the issues affecting Colorado's working families, senior citizens and job creators," Coffman said in a prepared statement.

The Miklosi campaign issued a statement reading, "It's no surprise to us that many other people find Congressman Coffman's Tea Party approach lacking in leadership. We welcome a robust debate of Mike Coffman's record by any who want to join us."

It remains to be seen if Coffman will also have a challenger to his right. Incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Tipton, who represents Colorado's Western Slope, is facing a third party challenge from independent conservative Tisha Casida.

Click here for Polhemus' campaign website.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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