The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins took a risk last week and tried figure out U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s stance on a very specific immigration issue.
If you’re a reporter, you know that’s going to cause a serious headache before you start, because it’s so hard to sort out where Coffman stands on any specific immigration-related bill or proposal. That may sound like an opinion, but it’s a fact.
In this case, Hutchins, who profiled Coffman’s race against Democrat Morgan Carroll last week, knew the Aurora Congressman, in 2011, co-sponsored bill that would have eliminated the requirement, under the Voting Rights Act, for some jurisdictions to provide ballots in different languages.
As recently as 2014, Coffman remained opposed to the dual-language ballot requirement. What’s his position now, Hutchins wanted to know.
Here’s Hutchins story:
Asked last week whether Coffman still holds that position, his campaign spokeswoman Watson did not answer directly. Instead, she said, “Rep. Coffman is co-sponsor of H.R. 885, the Voting Rights Amendment Act.”
The measure currently counts 15 Republican lawmakers as co-sponsors, according to its public bill-tracking web page at Congress.gov. As of today, Coffman’s name does not appear, and the last congressman to sign onto the law was Ryan Costello, a Republican who was added on July 14. Costello is up for re-election in the swing state of Pennsylvania.
“The co-sponsor list will be updated tomorrow to include Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado,” said Nicole Tieman, spokeswoman for Sensenbrenner. “That will be the only change to the best of my knowledge.”
Trouble is, if you read H.R.885, it doesn’t answer Hutchins’ question about whether Coffman’s position has changed. He could favor the bill but still stand behind his position that he wants to save money by not requiring local jurisdictions, with significant populations of non-English speakers, to provide ballots in multiple languages.
You’d be excused for thinking Coffman is deliberately obfuscating things, because, as Hutchins explains above, it looks like Coffman signed up as a co-sponsor after receiving Hutchins’ questions.
Hutchins reports: “Asked in two separate emails when Coffman became a sponsor, his spokeswoman Cinamon Watson did not answer, nor did she respond to a request to talk about it on the phone.”
So, despite the best efforts by a reporter to lay out the facts, we’re forced to conclude (maybe) that Coffman remains opposed to dual-language ballots, but he’s making it appear as if he doesn’t. Until a reporter gets Coffman to respond, that’s where things stand.