Mike Coffman

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Mike Coffman
Mike Coffman.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 63)
Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Cynthia Coffman
Alma mater University of Colorado, Boulder
Religion Methodism
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 "Mike" 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

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


Coffman began his political career serving as a member of the Colorado House of Representatives from 1989 to 1995. 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

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



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]

During the general election, 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. Incomplete registrations require voters to either re-register or provide extra identification when they go to vote.[9] 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.[10] On October 30, 2008, the court approved a preliminary injunction allowing purged voters to participate in the 2008 election.[11] Bernie Buescher, Coffman's successor as secretary of state, replaced Coffman as defendant in the case in January 2009.[12] 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.

The Denver Post endorsed Coffman on October 10, 2008.[13] In November, Coffman defeated Democrat Hank Eng, an Appleton, Wisconsin City Common Councilman, 61%–39%.[14] Governor Bill Ritter designated State Representative Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, to succeed Coffman as Secretary of State.[15]


Coffman defeated Democrat John Flerlage 66%–31%.[16]


In redistricting, Colorado's 6th congressional district was made more favorable to Democrats than previously. Aurora was added to the district.[17]

Democratic State Representative Joe Miklosi challenged Coffman.[18] 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."[19] Coffman apologized several days later saying that, "I misspoke and I apologize”, and “I have confidence in President Obama's citizenship and legitimacy as President of the United States."[20] In September 2012, Coffman, alluding to a Washington Post article by Jack Anderson about the timing of the Carter administration's attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, said that he had a "fundamental concern" that President Obama would similarly use the military in an attempted October surprise conspiracy. Coffman stated, “I’ve always been concerned about any president using the military unnecessarily for political reasons, regardless of who that president is.”[21]

Coffman defeated Miklosi 48%–46%, a difference of 6,992 votes. At the same time, Obama defeated Romney in the district 52%–47%.[22] Miklosi won the Arapahoe County part of the district 48%–45%. Coffman made up the deficit by winning Adams County 46%–45% and Douglas County 60%–35%.[23]


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. [24] He faced Democrat Andrew Romanoff in the general election. Coffman won 52%–43%.


Coffman is running for re-election in 2016. No Republicans have filed to run against him in the primary election. Democratic State Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll is the only Democrat who has filed for the primary.[25]


Military and veterans affairs

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."[26]

Coffman introduced the Veterans Paralympic Act of 2013 (H.R. 1402; 113th Congress) into the House on March 25, 2013.[27] It is a bill that would help fund disabled veterans who want to compete in the Paralympic Games.[28]

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.[29]

On March 14, 2014, Coffman introduced the Gulf War Health Research Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4261; 113th Congress), 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). The bill would make the RAC an independent organization within the VA, require that a majority of the RAC's members be appointed by Congress instead of the VA, and state the RAC can release its reports without needing prior approval from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.[30][31] The RAC is responsible for investigating Gulf War syndrome, a chronic multisymptom disorder affecting returning military veterans and civilian workers of the Gulf War.[32]

Coffman was the first congressman to call for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign after misconduct at multiple VA facilities was revealed.[33] On May 30, 2014, Shinseki resigned as Secretary.[34][35]

In 2016, Coffman co-sponsored a bipartisan bill to abolish the Selective Service System, which is the process the Pentagon uses to draft young men into war. If passed, the bill is projected to save $23 million annually.[36]


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.[37]

Social issues

Coffman is anti-abortion, supports the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, and supports maintaining access to birth control for women.[38] In early 2014, Coffman announced that he no longer supports personhood laws.[39][40]

Coffman opposes federally mandated background checks for gun purchases.[41] He supported the 2012 renewal of the Violence Against Women Act.[42]

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.[43]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

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.[44]

Coffman is a Methodist.[45]


  1. Mike Coffman (R), WINNER U.S. Representative – CO6, Election 2012, Wall Street Journal
  2. "Mike Coffman Full Biography". Mike Coffman U.S. Representative. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  3. http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/ElectionArchives/1996/General/1996StateSenateResults.pdf[dead link]
  4. "Full Biography". House of Representatives. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  5. "Our Campaigns – CO Treasurer Race – Nov 03, 1998". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  6. "Our Campaigns – CO Treasurer Race – Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  7. "Our Campaigns – CO Secretary of State Race – Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  8. "Our Campaigns – CO District 6 – R Primary Race – Aug 12, 2008". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  9. Kim, Myung Oak (October 14, 2008). "Voting forms ruled incomplete for lack of check mark". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on October 15, 2008. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  10. "Lawsuit alleges voters in Colorado illegally purged from rolls". CNN. October 27, 2008. 
  11. "Order Approving Parties' Stipulated Preliminary Injunction" (republished by the Moritz College of Law). October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  12. "Notice of Substitution of Party by Defendant Michael Coffman" (republished by the Moritz College of Law). January 21, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  13. "Editorial: Coffman's financial skills needed in D.C.". Denver Post. October 10, 2008. Archived from the original (republished by Mike Coffman for Congress) on October 29, 2008. 
  14. "Our Campaigns – CO – District 06 Race – Nov 04, 2008". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  15. Kim, Myung Oak (December 19, 2008). "Buescher first Dem to become secretary of state since 1963". Rocky Mountain News. 
  16. "Beyond the Results: House". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 7, 2011. 
  17. Hoover, Tim (November 12, 2011). "New map may shake up Colorado congressional races". The Denver Post. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  18. Lee, Kurtis (July 29, 2011). "Not your average Joe launches congressional campaign". The Denver Post. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  19. Clark, Kyle (May 16, 2012). "Coffman Speech in Elbert County". Denver Post. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  20. Southall, Ashley (May 24, 2012). "Republicans Apologetic After Raising Issue of Obama’s Birthplace". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2012. 
  21. Lee, Kurtis (September 4, 2012). "Coffman says his "fundamental concern" is Obama might use military for political gain". Denver Post. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  22. "Daily Kos". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  23. "Our Campaigns – CO – District 06 Race – Nov 06, 2012". Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  24. "Live election results: June 24". Washington Post. June 25, 2014. Retrieved July 3, 2014. 
  25. Matthews, Mark (January 27, 2016). "Mike Coffman outpaces Morgan Carroll in fundraising to finish 2015". The Denver Post. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  26. Sherry, Allison. "Coffman's proposed military cuts face strong opposition." Denver Post, April 21, 2011.
  27. "H.R. 1402 – Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved December 9, 2013. 
  28. 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. 
  29. Philipps, Dave (6/2/14). "Path cleared for Coffman measure to protect vets". The Gazette. Retrieved July 3, 2014.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. Coffman, Mike (March 14, 2014). "Bipartisan Bill on Gulf War Health Research". House Office of Mike Coffman. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  31. Kennedy, Kelly (March 14, 2014). "Congress seeks independence for Gulf War illness board". USA Today. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  32. "Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses: Illnesses Associated with Gulf War Service". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. n.d. Retrieved May 9, 2012. 
  33. Stokols, Eli (May 27, 2014). "Romney endorses Coffman in competitive C.D. 6 race". Fox 31 Denver. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  34. "Embattled VA chief Shinseki resigns". USA Today. May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  35. "Veterans Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns". CNN. May 30, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014. 
  36. Matthews, Mark (February 10, 2016). "Mike Coffman, Jared Polis want to abolish the military draft". The Denver Post. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  37. Foley, Elise (January 8, 2014). "House Votes To Strip Deportation Relief From Dreamers". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  38. Murray, Jon (August 14, 2014). "Mike Coffman, Andrew Romanoff tangle on immigration, trade barbs". The Denver Post. 
  39. "Shadow Of Abortion Looms Over Colorado Campaigns". CBS Denver. AP. October 26, 2012. 
  40. Stokols, Eli (March 25, 2014). "Coffman follows Gardner’s lead, flips fast on personhood". KDVR. 
  41. "Parents Of Aurora Victims Slam Rep. Mike Coffman". CBS Denver. April 23, 2014. 
  42. Murray, Jon (September 17, 2014). "Gay Republicans honor Mike Coffman, while Democrats challenge his record on issues". Denver Post. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  43. Stokols, Eli (April 9, 2014). "Coffman comes out in support of LGBT anti-discrimination measure". April 9, 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2016. 
  44. Whaley, Monte (4 November 2014). "Cynthia Coffman easily wins Colorado AG's race". Denver Post. Retrieved 5 December 2014. 
  45. "About Mike Coffman". Mike Coffman for Congress. Archived from the original on July 24, 2008. 

External links

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