On the heels of his big three-day fundraising event in Jackson Hole, Wyo., this week, House Speaker John Boehner will be back in the Mountain West on Tuesday to attend a campaign fundraiser for GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.
Coffman is facing a challenge from former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff, and many independent pundits see the race as a toss-up.
Though Republicans are virtually assured of retaining the House majority after Nov. 4, Coffman's reelection race is being billed by some as a test of House Republican positioning on immigration reform and the party's appeal to Latino voters.
The Hispanic population in Coffman's district doubled after its borders were redrawn in 2011, according to the latest census estimates. In going from fewer than 9 percent Hispanic to nearly 20 percent Hispanic, the 6th District ticked above the national average in that population share, making Coffman one of just 50 House Republicans whose districts are more Hispanic than the nation as a whole.
National Journal's Josh Kraushaar has noted that since the district was redrawn, Coffman has become a "born-again champion for immigration reform." But though Hispanics now make up one-fifth of the state's population, Colorado has also gotten significant attention from anti-illegal-immigration activists.
As a result, some Republican candidates in the state this year have been caught between catering to their base and maintaining broad appeal in the general election. Boehner, meanwhile, has spoken positively about the need for comprehensive immigration reform but also must lead a GOP Conference with a significant number of reform foes.
The event for Coffman will come after this week's big schmooze-fest by Boehner and other top House Republicans in Jackson Hole, where they rubbed elbows with about 150 party faithful. Most all are donors to the Boehner for Speaker national fundraising committee, aides say.
Among those in attendance were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
One discussion at the event, held by outgoing House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, was on "Stopping the Terrorist Surge, Checking Putin."
McCarthy and Scalise also gave a talk on "A Stronger Economy and a Brighter Future." And National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden spoke about the party's so-called "Drive to 245" House seats"”and what he viewed as the top developing races in the country.
In his own remarks opening the event, Boehner recapped his August bus trip, talked about a Republican lag in House race fundraising compared with Democrats, and encouraged attendees to "spread the word that the GOP needs help to maximize every opportunity," an aide said.