Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) picked an unusual fight Monday: he wants another Republican to challenge him in next year’s primary election.
Not just any Republican. Coffman wants to do battle with Tom Tancredo—the firebrand conservative former congressman who used to occupy Coffman’s seat in the House of Representatives.
“Come after me,” Coffman said to Tancredo in an interview Monday for Balance of Power. “We could define what the Republican party is for a generation to come.”
Coffman says he decided to propose the challenge after a recent 9NEWS interview in which Tancredo defended a group called VDARE, which serves as an online platform for racist and white supremacist viewpoints (examples of this are listed at the end of this article).
“I think Tom Tancredo started out as being very focused on immigration reform, but that has somehow degenerated over the last few years into supporting a group like VDARE, or being part of a group like VDARE, which flirts with white supremacy. That’s not what I want in the Republican party,” Coffman said. “VDARE is a white supremacist organization. It’s an organization that focuses on white nationalism.”
Tancredo has openly advocated for a more conservative candidate to challenge Coffman in a primary—and Coffman wants to do battle with Tancredo, as a national test case to demonstrate who’s brand of Republicanism truly symbolizes the heart and soul of the GOP.
“He’s going to have one of his friends do that, one of his white supremacist friends, try and run against me, “ Coffman said. “Why not him?”
Reached by phone Monday, Tancredo said he’s not interested in personally challenging Coffman. He’s more interested in the 2018 race for governor, where there’ll be an open seat as Gov. John Hickenlooper reaches his term limit.
“If I wanted to be in Washington, I guarantee I would still be in Washington,” Tancredo said. “[Coffman’s] feigned concern about the Republican party is the most hypocritical thing.”
Asked if he was implying that Coffman is a RINO (a political pejorative that stands for “Republican In Name Only”,) Tancredo went further.
“[Coffman] is a turncoat, not a RINO. He is unprincipled,” Tancredo said. “What does he care about the Republican party? He’s moved as far away from it as he can in the last several years.”
Explaining why he’s not interested in turning his dislike for Coffman into a run against him, Tancredo also pointed out that he doesn’t live in Coffman’s district, though that isn’t a legal requirement to run.
Coffman says it would be a “competitive” primary because some GOP voters would be drawn to Tancredo’s hardline positions on immigration and dangled the prospect that “[Tancredo] will get more attention, probably, running against me because it will truly be a national race. All eyes in this country will be focused on this race.”
Tancredo recently told 9NEWS he switched his voter registration back to Republican so he can be a candidate in a GOP primary for governor and said there’s a 50/50 chance he’ll run. He previously left the party after his failed 2014 run, arguing in part that the party establishment wasn’t conservative enough.
“[Tancredo] wants the attention and so I believe he is going to run,” Coffman told 9NEWS, casting Tancredo as a spoiler. “He could cost Republicans an opportunity for the governorship.”
Tancredo represented Colorado’s sixth district in Congress from 1999-2009, a job he vacated after a failed campaign for President in 2008. Coffman was next to win the seat and has held on to it despite the fact that the district was redrawn after the 2010 census to be a competitive toss-up district.
Tancredo also ran for governor in 2014 and lost the primary despite help from Democratic groups hoping to be able to run against him in the general election. The Republican establishment supported Bob Beauprez instead.
In explaining his motivation for a possible 2018 governor run on Balance of Power, Tancredo said he was disappointed that Republican elected officials in Colorado didn’t publicly defend VDARE when the group had its reservation for un upcoming conference in Colorado Springs canceled by the venue.
Tancredo also defended VDARE generally (he sits on the group’s board) and countered the idea that it promotes white supremacy.
“To talk about race in America is not a sin, and even if you talk about it in terms that might upset you, does not mean that it is something that it is as malicious as you want to make it out to be,” Tancredo said.
That echoes the official line from VDARE, which styles itself as a place for intellectual discussion on matters of immigration which is not “white supremacist,” but rather is simply not bashful about openly discussing race.
But, in fact, the website consistently publishes content promoting the view that white people are superior or more important than other races-- and other races are a threat to whites.
Headlines and articles published by VDARE on its website include:
· “Baylor Football’s Black Rape Culture, Pushed By White Coaches, Protected By White Administrators”
o The opening paragraph charges Baylor University officials with “unleashing a ‘rape’ culture at Baylor University via the recruitment of black high school football players to the campus” and argues that “in a more civilized time, college football was a sport played by actual student-athletes… whose starters and substitutes were white men.”
· “Do We Need More Hispanics?”
o Predictably, the article argues we do not need more Hispanics, arguing“Hispanics who manage to stay in school do as poorly as blacks” and asks “what sort of citizens do Hispanics become? Even after they are naturalized, they remain emotionally attached to their homelands.”
· “Was It Really Such A Good Idea To Let SMART Asians In?:
o An article that juxtaposes with the one above, arguing that Asian people are a threat to whites because they are too intelligent. The article quotes people from an immigration debate in the 1920’s who worried that Asian peoples’ intelligence might be a threat to white people and argues “Those old boys were on to something.”
· “The (Young) White Man’s Burden in Iraq and Afghanistan Combat”
o This article promotes the idea that there is a “sacrifice” gap between white and minority military service members and concludes “it’s almost as if white men are more likely to volunteer for and succeed in the most dangerous and demanding assignments”
· “Unarmed Black Teens Kill More People Than Cholera”
o An article which uses questionable methodology to come up with a number of deaths supposedly attributable to unarmed black teenagers and compares that figure to deaths by cholera, a highly curable disease. The author uses this quasi-intellectual exercise to argue that “unarmed black teens are dangerous” and represent a “Third World criminal population” in America.
· “Saboteurs Even In The Border Patrol–Are They Hispanic?”
o This article is part of a series of posts that paint corruption within the border patrol as being driven disproportionately by Hispanic agents through the not-so-sophisticated technique of looking for Hispanic-sounding last names. “There is a small cadre of America hating agents,” this article argues. “Mostly a segment of the Hispanic presence in the USBP. Not to denigrate Hispanic USBP agents, but generally, those who oppose the USBP mission are Hispanic, women, Blacks, or homosexuals. And are also more likely to be corrupt.”
· “Dallas, Like America, Is Running Out of White Kids to Solve Its Problems”
o Which argues that “America’s big educational problem is that it’s running out of white children” and cites Dallas as an example, owing in part to the assertion that “white people don’t breed well in captivity. Dallas County is only 18% white children.”