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Denver Post's Coffman, Gardner Endorsements Don't Look at Immigration Record

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From the Denver Post’s last few endorsements, you would never have thought that they used to support immigration reform.

They did — in an editorial published a few days before the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill last summer, the Post wrote,  “the Senate bill is still the sort of comprehensive solution to the current immigration fiasco that this country needs. And it will be a major step forward.”

But this week they endorsed Rep. Cory Gardner for Senate and Rep. Mike Coffman for Colorado’s 6th District, picking two Republicans who have done absolutely nothing to further immigration reform, in two of the nation’s most competitive 2014 races.

Former presidential candidate Gary Hart called the Gardner nod “the worst political endorsement by a serious newspaper in my lifetime.”  Salon jeered that “the paper bemoans Washington gridlock — and endorses a shutdown-supporting Tea Partier to solve it!”  MoveOn is publishing an ad this Sunday deriding the Post for being “fooled” by the likes of Gardner.

Both Gardner and Coffman have been going around saying nice things about immigration reform — and the Denver Post’s endorsements reflect an flippant willingness to take them at face value.  In their respective editorials for Gardner and Coffman, it’s apparently enough that the candidates look like they’re willing to try re: immigration:

[Gardner] has expressed willingness to compromise on immigration despite a fairly hard line over the years.

Coffman’s retooled position on immigration, in which he favors a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, is also a plus in a Republican caucus in which hard-liners have too often prevailed. Coffman himself was one of those hard-liners until forced to defend his seat in a district with a significant Hispanic population. Maybe he can convince more of his GOP colleagues to deal with demographic reality.

Did the Post even look at the record??  Between the two of them, Coffman and Gardner have voted to end DACA and deport DREAMers no less than six times.  Earlier this year, when the GOP House caucus put out its principles for immigration reform — the weakest gesture they could’ve made, that did not contain a path to citizenship for most immigrants, and that did not lead to legislation — Gardner voted against them (Coffman did not respond to the Roll Call query).  Coffman and Gardner, as representatives of a state where the electorate is 13% Latino, could’ve been champions of immigration reform in the House.  Instead, they ducked away from the issue, so much so that America’s Voice ran ads against them reminding voters that the two have done nothing for immigration reform.

Clearly, the talk matters more than the walk to the Denver Post.  From a candidate who once called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and another who still refuses to support a path to citizenship for immigrants, we’re going to need more than an “expressed willingness to compromise.”