As the Primary Election closes in for a Democratic candidate to take on Aurora Republican Mike Coffman, I fear for Levi Tillemann’s safety.
Tillemann is one of two Democrats battling it out to take on Coffman in the November mid-term election for the Aurora area’s 6th Congressional District.
Tillemann, scion of the former Lt. Gov. Nancy Dick family, is the underdog in the race, as he has unhappily and regularly pointed out.
Like his Democratic opponent, Jason Crow, Tillemann got the bug to run for Congress and recently moved to Aurora to give it a shot.
Beating Coffman has been a long shot for several years.
Prominent Democrats, such as former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and former state Senate President Morgan Carroll, have both had the hats they threw in the purple 6th CD ring handed to them by the five-term Coffman, in shreds.
So you can see that it takes a special kind of optimism, courage, or foolhardiness, to take this race on.
I’ll let you decide where Tillemann scores on that scale.
Tillemann and Crow started the path to the Democratic nomination about the same time last year. But Crow, who has serious military creds, captured the attention, and cash, of the national Democratic Party.
Whereas Carroll and Romanoff had serious Dem values, support, and all the right things to offer the left and even the middle, when it came to standing up against Coffman’s long military career, they got nada.
Crow, a Denver-cum-Aurora lawyer with a nice family and an even nicer storied military career, rang the bell for the Democratic National Congressional Committee. Did I mention Crow’s military service career? No need. You’ll hear plenty about it.
Tillemann, who was an Department of Energy advisor during the Obama Administration was locked out of the DNCC running from the get go. Alas, he has nothing more military than a sensible haircut.
He wasn’t having it.
Tillemann offered up phone recordings with famous Dem Congressman Steny Hoyer, who essentially told him, yeah, politics sucks, kid. Move along.
When that got him only brief and fading newspaper ink, he upped his game.
A few weeks ago, Tillemann said he would commission a poll. If the poll results rebuked the DNCC story that Crow was the only guy to beat Coffman and warrant DNCC support before a local primary election, it was game on. If the poll upheld what he said was the DNCC’s dubious claims, Tillemann said he would drop out.
So he got another splash of newspaper ink, highlighting his claim that the poll showed he, too, could send Coffman home for good.
He wouldn’t, however, release the entire poll to the press, and took dings for that. Once again the media attention clearly didn’t meet his expectations. Tillemann needed something else to draw the spotlight.
He’s no schmo. Schooled at Regis, Yale and Johns Freaking Hopkins, multi-lingual, clever, dedicated and at least initially successful as an entrepreneur, he exudes smart.
So how smart is it to make a political commercial about arming teachers in schools where you have someone spray your face with pepper spray, for a long, long, long, long time?
It got my attention. I can never unsee it.
He starts out the commercial with the perfectly-legal-minority-recent immigrant and a new member of Aurora Public Schools board making the case for objecting to Trump and NRA pushes to arm teachers to ward off school shootings.
Tillemann suggests that not only are pistol-packing teachers dangerous and ineffective, they’re expensive. It’s much cheaper and just as effective to arm teachers with cans of Mace, he says.
I won’t debate the wisdom of such a move right here, other than to raise the same objections I have against arming teachers. In the chaos of a mass shooting, it’s hard to get killers to separate themselves from the fleeing masses and stand still close enough to get a good shot with anything.
But if you’re wondering how effective it would be to give a serious dose to a gunman at close range, Tillemann completely and thoroughly gives a graphic answer you just have to see for yourself.
With a camera rolling full on, Tillemann has an unseen accomplice spray him in the eyes with what appears to be an entire can of foamy, gooey pepper spray. It seems to go on forever.
Then, Tillemann spends the rest of the commercial kind of writhing in blinded agony as he repeatedly dunks his head in very soapy water and blasts his face and eyes with a running garden hose.
The poor guy’s eyes are wildly inflamed. He soaks himself right down to his wife-beater, and he talks about how cheap and effective pepper spray is.
No doubt you can make quick work of a politician this way. An shooter armed with a shotgun? I don’t know. How much are Tasers?
So Tillemann launched this irresistible video four days ago. Other than drawing some pretty predictable response from pithy Republicans and remarkably callous Democrats, it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.
With two weeks left until Primary Election Day, I dread to think what could top a face full of Mace.
I’ll wager, however, neither Crow nor Coffman would give themselves an appendectomy on Facebook live to show how seriously troubled the American health care system is.
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