Democrats are already hiring campaign operatives for 2018, including in Mike Coffman’s district

It’s not just you. This is actually really early to do this.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman addresses the crowd as the victor at the 2016 GOP watch party at the Double Tree Hotel in Greenwood Village on Nov. 8, 2016.  (Jessica Taves/For Denverite)election; republican; campaign; vote; voting; politics; colorado; copolitics; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado;

We just had an election, but the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is hiring people in 20 Republican-held districts to start getting ready for 2018.

The Washington Post reports that the DCCC has rolled out “March into ’18” to try to capitalize on the energy from repeated protests against the first weeks of Donald Trump’s administration and turn that into political action.

It’s not just you. This is actually really early to do this.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the committee’s chairman, told the Washington Post the move was “unprecedented.”

“We’ve seen women and people gather around America to march for progress; now we’re asking them to run for office, to volunteer and to vote,” he said. “I can very safely say that the DCCC has never done this this early, and I don’t know of any other of the campaign committees that have launched an initiative like this this early.”

The targeted districts include suburban districts in swing states, like the Sixth Congressional District held by Rep. Mike Coffman, and districts where the Republican didn’t have a Democratic challenger this year but Hillary Clinton beat Trump.

The Sixth has proved elusive for Democrats, though. A lot of people thought Coffman was vulnerable both because his district had been redrawn to be much more diverse and Democratic since he was first elected and because of Trump’s supposed negative coattails.

But though Trump lost Colorado by 5 points, Coffman outperformed expectations — or perhaps former state Sen. Morgan Carroll underperformed. She got just 43 percent of the vote, to Coffman’s 51. The best a Democrat has done in that district was state Rep. Joe Miklosi in 2012.

Coffman managed to distance himself from Trump during the campaign — particularly in the last month when he said that Trump should withdraw and that he wouldn’t vote for him. He also ran campaign ads promising to hold Trump accountable if he won.

Brandon Rittiman from 9News captured the issue going forward pretty well with this exchange. Conservative commentator Kelly Maher pointed out the ways Coffman has already criticized Trump, and Ian Silverii of ProgressNow Colorado said it’s weak sauce.

A lot will depend on what happens during the next two years.

“Nobody’s had a good off-year election since 2006, whether it was us or them,” Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican and former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Washington Post. “When you do things, you create opposition, so it’s going to be a much tougher environment.”

And Democrats are hoping fortune will favor the prepared.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.