UPDATE #4: Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio:
"Given Republicans' back room wheeling and dealing, Coloradans will see that Cory Gardner is simply a Ken Buck-radical who is neck deep in Washington sleaze. Gardner is just another reckless House Republican when it comes to dismantling Social Security and Medicare, banning abortion and many types of birth control, and irresponsibly putting our economy at risk to advance his political agenda." Palacio said.
UPDATE #3: 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman:
[Owen] Hill was sharply critical of the announcement that Garner and Buck are swapping races.
"Two weeks ago, Cory tried to push me out of the race," Hill said.
When asked if he worried about upsetting the GOP by not deferring to a sitting member of Congress, Hill replied, "What people should be angry about is that we keep doing back-room, insider deals like this one."
…State Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray), tells 9NEWS he will not be jumping into the race for Gardner's House district.
"I'm not running because I want an office," Brophy said. "I'm running for Governor."
UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols has reaction from Senate candidate Owen Hill:
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) February 26, 2014
UPDATE: Report of a deal involving erstwhile Senate candidates Ken Buck and Amy Stephens, Weekly Standard:
Sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that a tentative agreement has been reached among Gardner, a two-term House member, and two of the current Republican Senate candidates. Ken Buck, a district attorney who lost the Senate race in 2010, will instead run for the House seat currently held by Gardner. Another candidate, Republican state senator Amy Stephens, will also drop her bid.
We would imagine that the falling dominoes here will also have Sen. Greg Brophy looking hard at dropping from the Governor's race and running in CD-4.
Big news breaking from Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post:
Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is planning to drop his re-election bid and run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Udall, the Denver Post has learned.
Gardner is expected to make an announcement in a few days, according to two Republicans who spoke on background.
Gardner is considered a rising star nationally in the Republican Party, and his likely accession into top leadership positions in the GOP-controlled House is one reason he earlier turned down efforts to convince him to jump into the race.
Truly a major development if it happens–Rep. Cory Gardner's previous rumored interest in this race was tempered by the realization that unseating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is a daunting prospect. Some recent polling has shown Udall's popularity taking a hit during the troubled rollout of the federal health care exchange, but Udall remains in front of his pack of Republican opponents. Whether Gardner is starting to believe the GOP's own messaging on Udall, or has simply grown bored with his safe House seat, remains to be seen, but this is a risk that we didn't expect him to take at this point in his career. Everything Gardner has done publicly in recent years has appeared to be aimed at endearing himself to Tea Party Republicans, which is great for inoculating yourself against a potential primary opponent but a horrible idea if you want to persuade general election voters.
We'll update with further analysis and, when available, confirmation. Once confirmed, this will set in motion other events, both in the GOP Senate primary as well as in Gardner's CD-4.