Tags: Colorado 2014 midterm race | Cory Gardner | Colorado Senate race | Gardner versus Udall

Gardner Campaign Closing In on Sen. Udall in Colorado

Thursday, 04 September 2014 07:45 AM Current | Bio | Archive

With Colorado considered a bellwether state for the 2016 presidential race, there is nationwide attention increasingly focused on its U.S. Senate race this year.

Only six months ago Sen. Mark Udall was considered a shoo-in for re-election. The latest New York Times/CBS TV poll among likely voters statewide shows the first-term liberal Democrat edging Republican Rep. Cory Gardner by a slim margin of 51% to 47%. The PPP poll showed their contest a near-tie, with Udall at 44% and Gardner 43%.

"The race is tight and all credit goes to the candidate," Colorado State Republican Chairman Ryan Call told Newsmax, "Cory is charismatic, reform-minded, and very, very difficult for Democrats to paint him in a way that would be harmful."

Much as British Prime Minister David Cameron led his Conservative Party to power in 2010 as a “modernizer” who took certain controversial issues “off the table,” Gardner, 40, is running as a “new kind of Republican.” While pro-life, for example, the two-term congressman unveiled a television spot last week in which he discusses legislation he co-sponsored to make birth control pills available without a prescription.

Referring to his opponent’s vote for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Gardner says in the spot that Udall “wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your health care plan.”

In a second spot, the GOP hopeful walks through a wind farm in Eastern Colorado and underscores his support for an “all-of-the-above” energy agenda: going to traditional energy resources such as oil and natural gas as well wind and solar energy.

As Russian storm clouds gather by the day over Ukraine, House Energy and Commerce Committee Member Gardner has emerged as a champion of Ukrainians in their efforts to stop being at the mercy of the Russian supply of natural gas. His Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act (HR 6) would change the standards from exporting natural gas from just Most Favored Nations to countries within the World Trade Organization such as Ukraine.

“Cory is in no way changing his conservatism,” Call told us, “but only campaigning as a conservative optimist and happy warrior. It’s what I call ‘the conservatism of optimism.’”

The chairman recalled how this has been a winning tradition of Republicans in the Centennial State. Former GOP Sens. Bill Armstrong (who served from 1978-90) and Hank Brown (1990-96) and former Gov. Bill Owens (1998-2006) never trimmed their conservative sails but always campaigned positively and as forward-looking optimists.

But this in no way means Gardner won’t take some hard shots at Udall, son of the late Arizona Rep. and 1976 presidential hopeful Mo Udall. As Call put it, “Sen. Udall cast the deciding vote in the Senate to make Obamacare law and said he would vote for it again today. In a state where 335,000 citizens have so far had their health insurance canceled, you bet it’s an issue.”

Much of the increasing national press interest in the Gardner vs. Udall contest is about Colorado itself. The state seems to shift back and forth from being Republican to Democrat and vice versa, and seems to be genuinely “up for grabs” by either party. The latest voter registration figures how 1,132,035 Republicans in the state, 1,107,600 Democrats, and 1,228,128 independents.

A further sign that Colorado is politically “up for grabs” is the race for governor. The same New York Times/CBS poll that showed Udall narrowly leading Gardner in the Senate race showed a tie in the race for governor: Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper and Republican former Rep. Bob Beauprez with 47% each.

While both statewide contests are uncertain and sure to be very close, their outcome is sure to be watched carefully and analyzed by national strategists of both parties with an eye on 2016.  

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Only six months ago Sen. Mark Udall was considered a shoo-in for re-election, but now GOP Rep. Cory Gardner is catching up in the polls.
Colorado 2014 midterm race, Cory Gardner, Colorado Senate race, Gardner versus Udall
Thursday, 04 September 2014 07:45 AM
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