2018 PRIMARY: Tillemann orders polling to determine whether he should drop from CD6 race

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AURORA | One poll may determine whether Democrat Levi Tillemann will drop out of the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary race and leave Jason Crow to challenge Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman.

Tillemann said on Friday his campaign has commissioned a poll from Public Policy Polling to determine whether Jason Crow really has significantly more potential to win the general election. If Crow does, Tillemann said he’ll drop out.

Last week, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Ben Ray Lujan told NPR that polling shows Crow, who has the backing from the DCCC, is the only candidate in the race that could defeat Coffman.

But Tillemann said he hasn’t seen those numbers, even after calling on the DCCC to release them.

Political insiders and DCCC officials say the poll Tillemann is referring to was actually conducted by Citizens United and packaged for use by national Democrats. Those poll numbers, they say, are publicly available by Citizens United.

The poll controversy is the latest about national party involvement in the race.

Last fall Tillemann recorded a conversation he had with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer. It was published by Intercept last month and has been at the center of a national conversation on the DCCC’s involvement in primary races.

Polling results could be available as early as Monday, Tillemann told the Sentinel.

Officials from the DCCC were not immediately available for comment.

If the results show that Lujuan is correct, and Crow is the only clear winner in a race with Coffman, Tillemann said he will keep his promise and drop out of the primary. But if the PPP results show Tillemann could also run a tight race with Coffman, the candidate said he’ll call on Crow to drop out and the DCCC to “immediately stop their meddling.”

Crow supporters pointed out that recent Democratic primary caucusing gave Crow 65 percent of the vote going into the June Primary. Both candidates made the primary ballot.

Alex Ball, a spokeswoman for Crow, said Tillemann should focus on running a campaign of integrity instead of dropping out.

“After appearing at so many candidate forums with Mr. Tillemann during this campaign, Jason would welcome another opportunity to debate with Mr. Tillemann at an event sponsored by local media organizations once Mr. Tillemann joins Jason in signing the Clean Campaign Pledge,” Ball said in an email. “It would be a shame if Mr. Tillemann chose to just drop out of the race instead. As Mr. Tillemann decides what to do, Jason Crow will continue running a positive, transparent, people-focused campaign – the kind of campaign that probably explains Jason’s resounding victory at the Democratic Assembly.”

A news release from Tillemann’s campaign blasted the DCCC for its support of Crow in the primary, likening the two to the current Republican administration.

“Integrity used to be considered an asset in pursuit of public office, and getting caught in a bald-faced lie was often enough to end a career. Donald Trump has removed all shame from GOP politicians,” the release said. “We worry Mr. Crow and the DCCC may have contracted that same virus. They seem to believe lying is OK so long as they can get away with it. As Democrats, we must reject this race to the bottom.”