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Caitlin Owens / Axios

AURORA, Colo. — Rep. Mike Coffman faced angry liberals from his suburban district right outside of Denver on Wednesday night, asking about everything from climate change to single-payer health care. But Coffman was also answering to dozens of his supporters in the room, who reacted to his answers with hand-held signs, boos and applause.

His experience shows why it's really not fun to be Coffman right now — or any of the other Republican House members from purple districts. (Coffman's went for Clinton in November, and he was sent to Washington after campaigning to stand up to Trump.)

Here's why he's in such a tough spot:

  • A Democrat has already announced a 2018 challenge to Coffman and is regarded as a strong opponent by the party.
  • Obamacare supporters are running TV ads against him for supporting Trumpcare.
  • Coffman is the only member of the Colorado delegation that supported the failed House Obamacare replacement bill, which polled extremely unfavorably across the country. Several constituents grilled him on his commitment to protecting pre-existing conditions (he does).
  • While he dodged several questions about Trump's tax returns and where he stands on the White House's proposed drastic budget cuts, Coffman did publicly disagree with the Trump on what to do about Obamacare exchanges: "I disagree with the president when he says lets let these things implode…well, here's the problem. That's not fair to the people who are on them."
  • It's not just Democrats that aren't happy with him. One registered Republican stood up and told Coffman he was "shocked you declared your intention to vote for the American Health Care Act ... The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land here."

Bottom line: Moderates like Coffman now are faced with what will be likely serious challenges from Democrats next year, but they're also being forced to either side with or against Trump and explain the failed health care bill — dangerous topics when it comes to Republican voters.

Go deeper

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Nor'easter slams East Coast with flooding rain and powerful winds

A residential area in Middlesex County as floodwater from the nor'easter covers streets in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A monster storm was slamming the Northeast with record rainfall and powerful winds over Tuesday night — causing flash flooding that resulted in people having to be rescued in New Jersey and New York roads to close.

Threat level: All of southern New England westward to New York City and northern New Jersey was under the threat of flash flooding and coastal flooding from the nor'easter through Tuesday night into early Wednesday, per the National Weather Service.

14 mins ago - World

Blinken speaks with Sudan prime minister after his release

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke on the phone on Tuesday evening with Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok after the military released him from custody.

Why it matters: Hamdok’s release was a result of pressure on Sudan’s military leader General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan from the U.S. and other countries but also from the different political parties in Sudan and massive protests in the streets.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.