AURORA, Colo. — Colorado congressman Mike Coffman has taken his discomfort with his party’s presidential nominee to the airwaves.
The ad, posted Thursday morning, opens with Coffman speaking directly to the camera, saying: “People ask me, ‘What do you think about (Donald) Trump?’ Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”
He adds: “And I certainly don’t trust Hillary (Clinton.)”
Coffman represents District 6, a bellwether district that includes all of Aurora, the southern Denver metro area including Centennial, Littleton and Highlands Ranch, and northern metro areas including Brighton and Henderson.
Coffman, who has represented the district since 2009, is running against Democrat Morgan Carroll. The district is comprised of more moderate voters, suburban mothers and Hispanics — all voting blocs Trump has struggled with.
As he notes in the ad, Coffman is a Marine and before that, he was also in the Army reserves.
He is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the country, as he was last cycle when he pulled off a hard-fought win against Democrat Andrew Romanoff.
The new ad shows he has made the calculation to distance himself from Trump’s controversial candidacy, at a point when the Republican nominee has gone through one of the most difficult periods, taking on a Gold Star family and refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or Sen. John McCain in their primaries.
Although many members of Congress have distanced themselves from their party’s nominee, Coffman’s ad represents one of the first ads where a candidate outright declares their opposition to the top of their ticket.
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, one of the most vulnerable sitting Republican senators, has also run a starkly anti-Trump campaign. He went up with an ad in June saying he had “bucked his party to say, ‘Donald Trump is not fit to be commander in chief.’ ”
Coffman’s ad came as the latest signal that the Republican Party is significantly divided over Trump, despite Trump’s declaration Wednesday that his campaign had “never been so united.”
A Fox News poll released Wednesday showed Trump down by 10 points in a head-to-head matchup with Clinton nationwide. A swing-state poll taken before the party conventions and Trump’s feud with the Khan family showed the Republican down eight points in Colorado.
Carroll said voters should not look at Coffman’s ad as being “anti-Trump.”
“He won’t tell anybody if he is voting for Donald Trump,” Carroll said. “He has to distance himself from Donald Trump’s record because his record is Donald Trump’s record.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ad in response.
Coffman’s campaign said the ad shows Coffman will stand up for his constituents regardless of who is president.