The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels catches Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner in yet another…well, if it's not a straight-up lie, we'll be very surprised. Following up on this week's pivotal 9NEWS debate:
Republican Senate hopeful Cory Gardner can’t recall voting for a single Democrat although he was one for eight years.
Yuma County election records show Gardner registered as a Democrat in 1992 and switched his voter registration in 2000 to Republican. If, indeed, he never voted for a Democrat that means Gardner:
* Didn’t vote for Democratic Gov. Roy Romer’s re-election bid in 1994 although Gardner has said one of his proudest moments as a Yuma High School student (which was not his football career, obviously) was getting the governor to come talk to students in 1992 about the lack of education funding for rural schools. A photo in the Yuma Pioneer of the event begins with “Future politician?” in reference to the junior’s successful effort in attracting attention to the situation.
* Didn’t vote for former Fort Collins Mayor Susan Kirkpatrick for Congress in 1998, although he seconded her nomination at the Democratic 4th Congressional District assembly that year. Kirkpatrick said never at any time during that election did he indicate he was no longer backing her…
During Wednesday's debate, Gardner was asked to name a Democrat–any Democrat–that he had ever voted for. This seemed to us like a tremendous softball for the former Democrat, a low bar to validating his supposed willingness to "reach across the aisle" that has been a cornerstone of his new image. You may have noticed that a considerable investment has been made in remaking Gardner from a safe-seat "Tea Party" darling into a "moderate" electable statewide in Colorado.
And he blew this golden opportunity.
Earlier in the day on Wednesday, a story from highly trafficked national online news site Deadspin exploded on social media, featuring quotes from a local source claiming that Cory Gardner had never played high school football despite his claims otherwise on the campaign trail. It was pretty quickly determined that the story was incorrect after Gardner's campaign Tweeted photos of Gardner in his Yuma High School football uniform, and soon the original source had retracted his quotes. The story was wrong, but one of the reasons it caught fire so quickly was how plausible it seemed. Much like Paul Ryan's infamous marathon and 14er-climbing controversies in 2012, it's just really easy to believe the idea that Gardner is lying. Because he lies a lot.
In this case, he almost certainly did lie, because he was an active Democrat for years before, as he told the Post, "I realized the Democratic Party doesn’t represent me or my values or what I believe this country to be." That, or he realized it's kind of hard for Democrats to get elected in Yuma? Either way, now that he's made the deliberate choice to lie about it, it reinforces a much broader narrative: how you can't trust Cory Gardner.