Search Results for: gardner

As Corporate Donors Flee, Gardner Backs Cindy Hyde-Smith

The Washington Post reports on the final U.S. Senate race of 2018 in Mississippi’s runoff election, which is also the last battle of Sen. Cory Gardner’s stormy term as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). And there’s a lot riding on the outcome:

For Republicans, the Nov. 27 runoff is a chance for a slight expansion of their majority in the Senate, their one bright spot in this year’s midterm elections. If Hyde-Smith wins and Gov. Rick Scott keeps his lead in the Senate race in Florida, Republicans would have a senate majority of 53 to 47. A loss in Mississippi would give the GOP a 52-to-48 majority, only one up from the current razor-thin margin.

Trump’s campaign announced Saturday that he would hold rallies for Hyde-Smith in Tupelo and Biloxi the night before the election. The Republican National Committee, meantime, has two dozen staffers in Mississippi and plans to send more. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is also sending reinforcements and last week made a $700,000 ad buy…

Concern over the tightness of the race came up last week during a conference call that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo), head of the NRSC, held with Republican donors. In it, he equated the Mississippi race with the party’s ongoing fight over ballots in Florida.

“We take this race very, very seriously,” Gardner said, according to audio obtained by The Post. “We have emptied out the building of the senatorial committee to two places: Florida and Mississippi.”

Unfortunately for Sen. Cory Gardner, if you’ve been following the headlines in this race you already know there’s a problem in Mississippi–beyond the miserable climate and beat-down red state economy. Roll Call:

Half a dozen corporations have asked Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to reimburse their contributions to her runoff campaign.

The companies have been under intense scrutiny in recent days for their financial support of the senator in the wake of her remark that she would be “on the front row” of a “public hanging” at a campaign stop earlier this month. The NAACP has said her comments evoke Mississippi’s bloody history of lynchings…

A Walmart spokeswoman said Hyde-Smith is the first candidate from whom the company has looked to revoke a donation. [Pols emphasis]

Mississippi GOP Senate candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith has made a serious mess of what should have been a no-brainer win for Republicans in one of the reddest states in the nation. The “public hanging” remark needs no further explanation to offend, other than perhaps to note that Hyde-Smith’s opponent is African-American. Hyde-Smith also cracked wise about Mississippi’s history of voter suppression, joking (she says) about how it would be good to make it “just a little more difficult” for liberal college students to vote next Tuesday.

Much like the special election in neighboring Alabama last December which produced an upset Democratic victory, Republicans find themselves suddenly on the defensive due to their own candidate’s self-inflicted wounds. But this time, Gardner is publicly aligning himself with the disgraced candidate and pouring the NRSC’s resources into the race–something he wouldn’t do for Alabama’s Roy Moore–and in doing so, taking custody of Cindy Hyde-Smith’s baggage.

Whatever happens in Mississippi, it’s more for Gardner to answer for when he asks for Colorado’s vote again.

Gardner Praises Trump For Election Wins, While Coffman Slams The Prez For GOP Losses, Including His Own

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Rep. Mike Coffman.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) blamed Trump today for Coffman’s election loss last week, just as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner jumped on the radio to credit the president for GOP wins in key senate races.

Coffman told Vox today:

“I believe, quite frankly, that the president had a strategy of focusing on the Senate at the expense of the House,” [Coffman] said. “That the map had it where that there were red states that Trump carried that had competitive Senate races and what he did was made the midterm a national election and about him….”

“The president’s tone is polarizing,” Coffman said. “It was very difficult to try and make the case, particularly to suburban, college-educated women who were so upset with the president, to vote for me when they felt there needed to be a greater check on President Trump…”

Coffman says he doesn’t see Republicans regaining any territory in the House.

“Good. Luck,” he said, laughing.

Contrast Coffman’s dark view of Trump with Gardner’s sunbeam comments about the president working his tail off for winning GOP senate candidates:

“We bucked history,” Gardner said on KNUS’ Caplis and Kafer Show last week, repeating his previous assertion that “I don’t think it was a blue wave” in Colorado. “…So, you know, the keeping of the majority in the midterm, I think, is historic. And President Trump went out and worked his tail off in a lot of these states.

“And so I think those are the two key takeaways, how President Trump did more than I think any other president has done for elections and getting these candidates elected, and how we were able to defy history….”

“So, look, I look forward to continuing our work together.” Gardner told Steffan Tubbs on KNUS yesterday, referring to Trump. “And I’d like to see the President come to Colorado. I’d like to see my colleagues want to see him be successful. Let’s talk about the good things we’ve done in Colorado. Let’s show him the good things we’ve done in Colorado. I hope that everybody is engaged in wanting us to have a successful president.

The Coffman-Gardner contrast on Trump underscores again that Republicans have nowhere to turn, with Trump’s unhinged media presence so overwhelming and his popularity so low among so many different types of voters in states like Colorado.

Embrace him? Trash him? Do both? None of those approaches will win over enough voters for a GOP candidate to compete in Colorado, at least as things stand today, based on what happened last Tuesday.

MUST-HEAR AUDIO: Former Leader of Colo GOP Explodes In Talk-Radio Battle Over Gardner

(Let it begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

In a volcanic eruption and tsunami on KNUS radio Monday, Colorado’s former Republican leader defended U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner from accusations that the first-term senator is a “total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” a “Mitch McConnell stooge,” and, “just like” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a “traitor to every [position] he held in 2010.”

“[Gardner] has been a chamber guy from day one, and he runs with Mitch McConnell,” shouted Chuck Bonniwell, a Republican talk radio host who’s also the publisher of the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle.

“[Gardner] voted for, and was a day-in-day-out defender of the tax cuts,” responded Wadhams. “He has been a defender of deregulation. He’s been the defender of Trump’s foreign policy. So, tell me, where has Cory fallen down, as U. S. Senator for Trump?”

Wadhams continued to criticize Trump and try to convince Bonniwell that Gardner, while imperfect, is a good Republican who deserves GOP support.

WADHAMS: I’ve got to tell you, I am frankly tired of people crapping on Cory Gardner, because–

BONNIWELL: Of course you are! Because he deserves it!

WADHAMS: No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t.

BONNIWELL: And the truth hurts! The truth hurts.

WADHAMS: Is he a perfect perfect Senator? No. But you know what? He has been there time after time.

Wadhams tried to make the case that Republicans won’t find a better candidate than Gardner.

WADHAMS: Is there any other Republican who can win a general election in 2020 — other than Cory Gardner — for the United States Senate? [It’s a] very specific question. Answer it!

BONNIWELL: Is anybody going to have the money he’s going to have from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

WADHAMS: I ask again, do you think–?

BONNIWELL: If you give him the money — if you give somebody good the money of Cory Gardner–.

WADHAMS: And who is ‘somebody good?’ I mean, let me hear this wonderful candidate.

Bonniwell eventually suggested that Gardner be replaced GOP State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock. Or his father, State Sen. Tim Neville (R- Littleton), who was trounced out of office on last week.

The conversation went up and down from there.

But to get a real understanding of it, you have to listen to the audio below.


Conservative Republicans are already talking about trying to knock out Gardner

David Flaherty

David Flaherty

Conservative Republicans are already talking about trying to knock U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner out of Colorado’s 2020 senate race, with one local talk-radio host floating the name of State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville as a “great choice” to take on Gardner.

Neville didn’t return a call seeking to know if he’d challenge Gardner or if he knew about KNUS host Chuck Bonniwell’s suggestion that he run.

Whether it’s Neville or another Republican, David Flaherty of Magellan Strategies told a libertarian radio host last month that he thinks there “very well may be a primary” challenge to Gardner.

Asked for details, Flaherty said today, “With the sting of the defeat, there is a wide array of opinions and viewpoints on where to go from here. Obviously, some of those are going to be arch conservatives, if you will. And they have their voice and their opinion, just like you and I.”

“We’ll see what spirited conservative Republicans may emerge. I don’t know of anything in particular,” Flaherty told the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that he personally backs Gardner and the chances are “minuscule” that a primary challenge to Gardner would succeed.

“Cory is going to have $50 million at his fingertips after coming off his job at the NRSC,” said Flaherty. “And he’s going to have plenty of money to do whatever he needs to, if there is challenge in the primary.”

KNUS host Chuck Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of newspapers in Cherry Creek and Glendale, floated Neville’s name in a radio conversation this with Dick Wadhams, the former chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Asked by Wadhams to name a person who would be a better candidate than Gardner, Bonniwell screamed, “Pick out a Neville! Patrick Neville!”

“Patrick Neville?” responded Wadhams. “Are you starting the Patrick Neville draft program?”

“Yeah,” said Bonniwell. “He’d be great…. Tim [Neville] has lots of time on his hands. He’s also a great conservative.”

Wadhams adamantly said no Republican will have a better chance in 2020 than Gardner.

“Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW.”

Writing on the Arapahoe Tea Party Facebook page, Republican gadfly Marc Zarlengo also tried to fire up anti-Gardner minions with a call to replace Gardner.

“Does GOP want to keep the US Senate seat?” wrote Zarlengo. “Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW. Get the most Conservative candidate who will appeal to the base and defeat Gardner. Otherwise we will have Senator Hickenlooper.”

Former Chair of the El Paso County GOP, Eli Bremer, wrote that Zarlengo’s comment was “ridiculous.”

Eli Bremer:  The only word I can come up with for this is ridiculous. Gardner is the only Republican who has demonstrated he can win. He has Trumps support and will campaign with him in two years. We can not afford to lose our majority in the Senate which would completely derail the outstanding work of placing originalist judges in courts.

Republicans lost because unaffiliated suburban women hated us in the election. That’s shown clearly in the data. It was literally in every district in the state. We need to find a way to talk to these voters and figure out what our shared values with them are rather than infighting and primarying the only Republican left statewide.

Zarlengo, who’s widely known anti-establishment Republican in Colorado, responded with:

Marc Zarlengo: “Uhh…Walker Stapleton and Wayne Williams won state wide election too, and they just got their asses handed to them. So I guess that theory is already out the door.”

Bremer, then wrote:

Eli Bremer: They were down ticket to Cory’s up ticket race. The data were clear: unaffiliated suburban women moved strongly against Republicans in Colorado. That is fact and not opinion. If we want to win, we have to deal with reality and not fantasy.

Will Republicans Switch Registration and Vote in Democratic Primary?

Flaherty is so convinced that Gardner will be the choice of Republicans in 2020 that he said on the radio he’d register as an Unaffiliated voter to manipulate the Democrats’ efforts in 2020.

“I wouldn’t affiliate with the Unaffiliated Party because I no longer want to be associated with the Republican Party or anything like that,” said Flaherty today.

“I would switch to Unaffiliated because I’d rather play around with the Democrats, because there are going to be so many of them. I very well might become unaffiliated just to vote in the Democrat presidential primary. And perhaps the [Democratic] primary for the senate too, because I expect that to be pretty spirited.”

How many Republicans might do this?

Flaherty took the January 2017 voter file and compared it to the the Oct. 2018 voter file and found that 100,000 voters switched and became Unaffiliated from a prior party. Turns out, it was about 50,000 Democrats and 50,000 Republicans, he said.

“I wouldn’t expect it to be overwhelming but who knows? I’m sure there are going to be other Republican voters like myself who say, ‘You know what, there isn’t going to be any action on our side. I may want to weigh in on the Dem primary because it’s going to have all the attention. You know what I mean, why not.”

“If I really felt my vote was needed for Cory, that would factor into my decision, although I think the odds of that are just minuscule.

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing that Dem primary,” said Flaherty, insisting that Gardner can defeat some Democratic candidates. “The bottom line is, the candidate makes a difference.”

Listen to Flaherty on KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky Show March 31 here:

Gardner’s Troubled NRSC Tenure Mercifully Ends

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Roll Call reports, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is officially handing off chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) after Senate GOP leadership elections this morning:

Sen. Todd Young was elected on Wednesday to be the next chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a much more difficult cycle for incumbent protection on the Republican side.

The Republican from Indiana was the only candidate for the post, which is being vacated by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. Gardner is himself in what is expected to be among the most hotly contested races of the 2020 cycle.

Young and the GOP look to be on defense in at least 21 Senate seats while Democrats will be defending just a dozen, virtually the reverse scenario from 2018.

Sen. Gardner’s term as NRSC chairman was marred by more than just the GOP’s mediocre results in 2018, with an embarrassing loss in Arizona and an as-yet undecided race in Florida shorting Republicans of bragging rights. The NRSC’s fundraising suffered early under Gardner’s term as GOP donors shunted their money into candidates they preferred instead of the NRSC’s first choices–which the committee scandalously tried to compensate for by poaching fundraising lists from fellow Republican campaign organizations.

But for Gardner personally, lashing himself to Donald Trump in 2018 as the NRSC chairman, and joining in Trump’s conspiracy theorizing in close Senate races, just adds to Gardner’s vulnerability going into his own (presumed) re-election campaign in 2020. Running in a state that went for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and just delivered the strongest rejection of Trump possible without Trump actually being on the ballot, Gardner’s term at the NRSC saddles him with even more baggage that he brought entirely upon himself.

Now he gets to explain it all to the folks at home.

Recap: Cory Gardner’s Horrible Weekend

Sen. Cory Gardner (right) waves to crowd behind President Trump ahead of a campaign event in West Virginia (Aug. 21, 2018)

We’ve written several times in the last few days about Sen. Cory Gardner’s handling of the aftermath of last week’s midterm elections in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Two close Senate races in Florida and Arizona have left Republicans scrambling to shore up their sole bright spot in Tuesday’s overall drubbing, retaining Mitch McConnell’s GOP majority–and Gardner found himself and his organization under heavy fire as Republican claims of “election fraud” were deconstructed in real time.

The result was the worst weekend of earned media for Gardner in months, if not ever–and an ominous pall over Gardner’s head as attention now turns to his own re-election in 2020.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, cast the GOP’s concern about Arizona’s handling of ballots as having been resolved by the agreement Friday…

Gardner’s comments came as he defended a statement the NRSC released just a day earlier.

The GOP’s official Senate campaign arm, in a news release Saturday, accused Maricopa County’s top elections official, Democrat Adrian Fontes, of “using his position to cook the books” for Sinema.

Gardner said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “there’s a lot of releases that are going to go out that I don’t see.” He added that he was “not familiar with this one.”

NBC News reports on the sour reaction to the NRSC’s similar claims in the Florida Senate race:

Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, defended Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s charge that “unethical liberals” are trying to “steal” the state’s Senate election, in which Scott a candidate…

Democrats have blasted Republicans like Scott and President Trump for suggesting foul play, arguing that the main goal is to be sure every ballot is accurately counted.

And the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has told media that there have been no specific allegations of voter fraud and that it’s not currently investigating any foul play in the vote count. [Pols emphasis]

Despite the fact that Republicans will retain the U.S. Senate majority, the net result of all of this press for Gardner since Election Day has not been positive to say the least–either in Arizona where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema claimed victory this weekend, or in Florida where the court battles over recounts continue. And where it concerns Gardner personally, all talk today is about his own vulnerability after Colorado went strongly blue this year, and how his closing ranks with Trump has damaged Gardner’s own brand:

Gardner faces a fight for his political life in a state that appears increasingly blue. Since 2008, Democrats have won every Senate, gubernatorial or presidential race in Colorado — except for Gardner’s victory over Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014.

Hillary Clinton won the state in 2016 by about 5 percentage points as Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet comfortably won re-election. Last week, Democrat Jared Polis won the Colorado gubernatorial race by about 8 percentage points.

Gardner, a first-term senator, has rarely broken with his party during the Trump administration’s tenure, despite his state’s blue lean. He voted with Republicans on a range of key measures, including repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the overhaul of the U.S. tax code and the confirmation of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Conservative columnist Jennfier Rubin at the Washington Post is considerably more blunt:

Over the weekend, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) who heads the National Republican Senate Committee, joined President Trump and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in fanning conspiracy theories — baseless and irresponsible theories, that is — about possible vote stealing in Florida.

On Monday, a story ran in the Denver Post under this headline: “Colorado Republicans’ conundrum: Donald Trump and the unaffiliated voters who loathe him; Insiders say Cory Gardner’s re-election prospects are grim unless GOP can develop new message.”

While the dust hasn’t yet settled from last week’s elections, which have steadily turned out better for Democrats as the votes were counted and now understood to be a significantly greater Democratic win than Election Night punditry suggested, one of the very first takeaways from 2018 is a broad recognition of Cory Gardner’s vulnerability going into 2020. Gardner’s high visibility during the 2018 elections as NRSC chair has given him much less room to plausibly maneuver away from Donald Trump, even though after the historic Democratic landslide in Gardner’s home state this year that’s exactly what he needs to do.

In two years, we may well be writing the story of how Gardner’s boundless ambition, which propelled him to the chairmanship of the GOP Senate campaign organization, in the end brought him to ruin.

Gardner Confronted Over NRSC’s Crazypants Rhetoric

UPDATE: This is not equivocal:


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Following up on our discussion Friday about rapidly escalating inflammatory Republican rhetoric in two undecided U.S. Senate races in Florida and Arizona–rhetoric that falls squarely on the shoulders of National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Cory Gardner–Gardner appeared this morning on NBC’s Meet the Press, where he was confronted by host Chuck Todd about the state of play in these races, including bipartisan condemnation of the NRSC’s casual allegations of vote fraud without factual basis.

Gardner acquitted himself and his organization poorly:

TODD: Uh, there was a staffer of yours at the NRSC who was quoted as saying that, uh, “an official in Maricopa county was quote unquote trying to cook the books.” It inspired this Tweet from Mark Salter, the longtime chief of staff for the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, and he Tweets this, “Stop doing this, NRSC. McSally is losing fair and square, and she’s underperforming in more than Maricopa. The race is almost certainly lost and nothing will change that. All this does is poison our politics more. Despicable.” [Pols emphasis] What do you say to Mr. Salter?

GARDNER: [PAUSE] Well I think we do have a chance to win in Florida, I mean in Arizona, I don’t think there is a path, we’ve seen it in the numbers, but I do think it’s important that we protect the people of Arizona. We can’t sit by and allow votes to be counted in Maricopa that would not be counted somewhere else…that’s not fair…

TODD: I understand that, but did you approve of, did you approve of your staffer saying things like ‘cook the books?’ I mean, it does, by throwing that language in there, as you know it automatically polarizes the two sides. The minute language like that gets used.

GARDNER: Well look, I [PAUSE] there’s a lot of releases that are gonna go out that I don’t see, or, and I’m not familiar with this one, [Pols emphasis] but what I do think is important, and it’s not the first time somebody has been accused of cooking the books, or rigging the outcome of an election, I think that’s the last two years have been about, by Democrats trying to go after President Trump on that as well. So, what I think we have to do and what we’ve proven in the court in Arizona, or excuse me the agreements we’ve come to in Arizona is a way to treat voters equally across the state. We, look, this is about making sure the votes are counted, and the votes are counted fairly, and that’s what I think we’re getting to in Arizona finally.

We took particular note of the pauses after Chuck Todd’s questions to Gardner, because those pregnant pauses are extremely rare for our state’s normally-polished junior Senator. We’re not at all sure that Gardner is telling the truth when he claims he doesn’t know what his own staff is saying about the Arizona Senate race, in fact that seems highly unlikely. But the more important takeaway here is Gardner’s abject failure, complete with a rare breach of Gardner’s impenetrable car salesman confidence, to bridge the gap between the NRSC’s incendiary rhetoric and reality.

Make no mistake: the worse the rhetoric gets in Florida and Arizona, the worse it will be for Cory Gardner when (or if) he faces the voters of Colorado again in 2020. As chairman of the NRSC he owns everything that happens in these tight races as much as Donald Trump himself. In a state that has turned against the Party of Trump in historic fashion in 2018, becoming the public face of Republican desperation in 2018’s wake is the last thing Gardner needs if he wants to be re-elected.

Unfortunately for Cory Gardner, his own viability is not what matters today.

Trump, Gardner’s NRSC Melt Down Over AZ, FL Senate Races

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Huffpost reports on the angry crossfire in Florida as the races for governor and U.S. Senator head toward a recount:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott suggested there was “rampant fraud” and called for law enforcement to investigate two counties over their election practices as the Republican’s lead in the state’s U.S. Senate race continued to shrink Thursday evening…

“Every Floridian should be concerned there may be rampant fraud happening in Palm Beach and Broward counties,” he said in a televised statement outside the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee. The governor offered no specific evidence of fraud, saying only that the counties were the only two in the state where there were irregularities.

FOX News reports that Sen. Cory Gardner’s National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is joining Rick Scott’s lawsuit alleging fraud in Florida’s election, further clouding the Sunshine State’s political forecast:

In their lawsuit against Broward County, Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committeee (NRSC) allege that officials there are hiding critical information about the number of votes cast and counted. And in a parallel suit against Palm Beach County, Scott and the NRSC charge that the election supervisor there illegally used her own judgment to determine voter intent when reviewing damaged or incorrectly filled-out absentee ballots, while refusing to allow impartial witnesses to monitor the process.

And in the other remaining U.S. Senate hotspot of 2018, Politico’s Burgess Everett reporting that Gardner’s NRSC is ramping up election fraud allegations in the close Senate race in Arizona, in which Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is pulling narrowly ahead as the count grinds on:

Earlier today, President Donald Trump actually suggested an electoral do-over in Arizona, which is insane:

Of course, here in Colorado we have mail ballots like Arizona does, and we know that the signature verification process always results in some number of ballots being rejected. In close races, these ballots are sometimes tracked back to their owners and “cured” of such deficiencies, whereupon they can become decisive votes–something we are likely to see in close Colorado House races this year in which ballots are still being counted.

With all of this in mind, Sen. Cory Gardner is once again stuck–between needing to support Republican candidates as the head of the NRSC, and the fact that these flailing charges of vote fraud look ridiculous to Colorado voters Gardner needs to immediately begin patching things up with if he has any desire to be re-elected in two years. The conflict Gardner faces is making itself evident all kinds of ways since the election, not least with the NRSC declaring itself in lockstep with the President right after Colorado dealt Trump’s (and Gardner’s) party an historic shellacking at the polls.

Colorado voters have heard these allegations countless times before. And they have never panned out.

Gardner Won’t Say If He’ll Back Senate Bill To Protect Mueller

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is apparently undecided about whether he’ll back legislation protecting Special Council Robert Mueller.

Gardner’s fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has said he’ll push such legislation before he leaves office at the beginning of next year.

Gardner dodged a direct question from Denver TV reporter about whether he’d support the Flake legislation.

And The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reported that he was not certain about it:

When asked what should happen to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, Gardner said it should “absolutely continue,” adding that “the president has said he wants it to continue.”

But Gardner was less certain about whether he’d support a bill to protect the investigation, which his outgoing colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, says he will try to pass before leaving office.

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, was clear about his position [in favor of protecting Mueller] on Twitter.

Gardner has repeatedly said he’s undecided before voting on controversial legislation. Most notably, he said he was undecided until the last minute on three variations of bills to kill Obamacare, before voting for each one of them.

A move by Gardner to protect Mueller would be seen as hostile to Trump, who will likely be on the 2020 election ballot with Gardner. With Colorado split among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters, Gardner can’t afford to turn off many GOP voters, who largely approve of Trump, and hope to win here.


Signs of the Times at Denver’s #ProtectMueller Rally: “Gardner Grow A Spine”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With less than 24 hours’ notice, hundreds of Coloradans gathered at the West Steps of the state capitol on Thursday evening to protest President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be acting Attorney General of the United States. Whitaker had been AG Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff. He has publicly argued that Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation has gone too far and that President Trump has the authority to end it whenever he wants.

Speakers included Senator Michael Bennet, Congressmen-elect Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, State Rep. Joe Salazar (D – Thornton), and AME Shorter Church Pastor Dr. Timothy Tyler.

Gardner Sign at Protect Mueller Rally


Cory Gardner’s NRSC Director: “We’re Running With President Trump No Matter What”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Gardner and Trump on Air Force One

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s political operation is full steam ahead on the Trump train.

Celebrating the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s success in the mid-term elections, NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen, who’s served as Gardner’s right-hand man since 2010, told Politico,

“We have always felt like we’re running with President Trump no matter what. We think he’s a huge asset, to be clear. These rallies are not by mistake.”

Coloradans rarely hear such unapologetic devotion to Trump “no matter what” from the Gardner camp. When speaking to local media outlets, the Senator usually tempers his support of the President. Even when he’s praising Trump he makes sure to add a caveat, as he did during an election day radio interview:

“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”

Yet for a national political audience, Gardner’s team is embracing Trump without reservation. The NRSC’s enthusiasm is understandable. As Politico reported, they owe him:

“Trump’s personal investment in the Senate sealed the deal.  He crisscrossed the country, hitting some states multiple times — all the while delivering sound bites that Republican hopefuls used to promote themselves and bash their opponents.”


For Now, Gardner (And An Unknown CU Regent) Are The Lone CO Republicans Holding Statewide Office

(This is what a blue wave looks like – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Yesterday, as Coloradans finished casting a blue wave of ballots that upended state politics, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who along with CU Regent Heidi Ganahl are now the lone Republicans occupying state-wide offices in Colorado, was on the radio talking like a candidate.

That’s what he’ll likely be in 2020, if he defends his seat for the first, and Democrats hope, the last time.

On the radio, Gardner said “there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country.”

Gardner was trying to find a middle ground on Trump, acknowledging the widespread anger with the president in Colorado, which favored Hillary Clinton by five points, while focusing on economic themes.

GARDNER: And I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on.

But the economy is creating jobs. Money is coming back in, a thousand manufacturing jobs a day added to this country. You’ve got billions of dollars relocating into the United States. Wages are going up. This is incredible.

And you’re exactly right. There are elements of the radical left that are going to vote against that economic growth, vote against that economic opportunity, just because of the sheer blindness of their opposition.

Whether Gardner’s love-some-of-Trump-Hate-some-of-Trump message would work in Colorado in 2020, is obviously unknown today, two years out.

But after this election, you have think this would fail miserably, and Gardner couldn’t win here with Trump on the ticket, especially given that Gardner has been a loyal ninety-one-percent Trump supporter.

And yesterday’s election shows that Republicans nationwide aren’t in the mood to dump the president from the 2020 ballot, meaning he likely isn’t going anywhere and spelling doom for Gardner.

Even if Trump is gone by 2020, the voting pattern in Colorado today looks bad for the first-term senator, as pollsters on both sides of the aisle have been pointing out all week.


Gardner To Join Stapleton Thursday For A “Red Wave” Get-Out-The-Vote Tour

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tickets are available for Thursday’s “Get Out the Vote Tour” with Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton and his “special guest,” U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

The Nov. 1 events, organized by the Colorado Republican Party, will take place across the state, starting in Grand Junction at 9:30 a.m., Durango at 12:15,  Pueblo at 2:30, and Greeley at 5 p.m.

Free “Red Wave” tickets to attend the events can be reserved on Eventbrite.

“Please join Republican Nominee for Governor, Walker Stapleton, and Special Guest Honorable Cory Gardner on Thursday, November 1st at 9:30 am for our Get Out the Vote Tour! Stapleton will be speaking to attendees about the importance of the upcoming election and volunteering to help with his fight against Congressman Jared Polis!” states the Eventbrite page for the Grand Junction stop.

Gardner’s low approval ratings in Colorado–falling even below Trump at 25 percent earlier this year–didn’t dissuade Stapleton from campaigning with Colorado’s junior senator, who’s up for re-election in 2020.

After Thursdays stops, which skirt the front range, Stapleton continues his tour without Gardner at other locations, including along the front range, through Monday.

Stapleton has repeatedly said he’d like to campaign with Trump as well, but the President’s schedule didn’t permit this, Stapleton told KNUS recently.

Democrats launched their own get-out-the-vote tour last week, featuring a blue bus that’s made stops around the state.

Joining Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis on the bus yesterday in the Denver area were Democrats Gov. John hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and others. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has also joined the bus along the way.

Polis appeared with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders last week.

Gardner Says U.S. Senate Isn’t Broken. “It’s Working”

(Cool story, Cory – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Asked yesterday if he thinks the U.S. Senate is “broken,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) replied, “It’s working.”

Gardner’s comments came as leaders of both political parties have said the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was one of the lowest moments for the senate in decades.

“I think what’s broken is the filter that people used to have that would actually restrain them from thinking that violence is okay, and pushing the edge too far on civility,” Gardner told KFKA’s Gail Fallon.

Gardner also told Fallon it would be “devastating” if Democrats win the mid-term elections, saying the Democrats have “already talked about” increasing taxes and undoing “regulatory rollbacks.”

Gardner didn’t say what rollbacks that Democrats want to re-instate. But Democratic leaders have been critical of numerous protections and regulations Trump has rescinded, including environmental rules (limiting climate-change pollution from cars) and immigration regulations (DACA and zero-tolerance immigration policy) and more. With regard to taxes, Democrats have objected to Trump’s new tax law, which increases the national debt while lavishing tax breaks on the wealthy compared to what was given to low-income groups.

Gardner’s belief that the U.S. Senate isn’t broken may stem from his promise when he ran for his seat in 2016 to go to Washington and be a fixer.

“When something is broken, I’ll fix it,” he said in an ad attacking then U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat.

Gardner ticked off the “accomplishments” of the senate to show it’s working.


Cory Gardner Does Another Cory Gardner Thing on Healthcare

FRIDAY UPDATE: As the Washington Post reports, Congressional Republicans are very aware of the political problem they have in not protecting pre-existing conditions:

With less than a month before the midterm elections, endangered Republican lawmakers are mounting a defense against attacks they’re trying to dismantle a core element of the health-care law they fought to eliminate.

Democratic candidates on the campaign trail now regularly accuse Republicans of wanting to take away health-care protections for people with preexisting conditions. They’ve pointed to a lawsuit brought by 20 attorneys general in Republican-led states aiming to overturn the Affordable Care Act as proof the GOP wants to let such protections go down with the health-care law. That’s after Republicans whiffed in their effort to repeal and replace the ACA  last summer.

Vulnerable Republican contenders are responding to the slams by airing campaign ads saying they embrace this portion of the ACA. They’re also introducing a wave of bills in Congress they say would protect those with prior illnesses from losing access to affordable health care. But experts question the efficacy of those measures, saying they seem more designed as protection against Democratic attacks than significant policy solutions, as I helped report in a story with Colby Itkowitz this week. [Pols emphasis]


President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Healthcare has consistently emerged as the single most important issue for American voters in 2018. When you dig deeper into the numbers, you find that protections for pre-existing conditions — a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — are extremely popular across all political spectrums. As the Kaiser Family Foundation reported last month:

Large majorities of Americans say it is “very important” to retain the ACA provisions that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage based on a person’s medical history (75%) and from charging sick people more (72%). This includes majorities of Democrats, independents and Republicans, as well as majorities of those with and without people with pre-existing conditions in their households.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate took a vote on a measure that sought to get rid of Trump administration efforts to expand short-term health insurance plans (which are often called “junk insurance”) that are intended to kill the ACA, and thus, protections for pre-existing conditions. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) voted “YES,” and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a big fat “NO.” Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine voted along with Democrats, but that wasn’t enough to change a 50-50 tie in the Senate. In political terms, this means that you can call Gardner a deciding vote.

As The Journal Times in Wisconsin reports (yeah, that’s right, The Journal Times):

In August, Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, Labor Sec. Alexander Acosta and Health and Human Services Sec. Eric Hagan issued a rule expanding the duration of these insurance plans that do not comply with Affordable Care Act requirements.

The 2010 ACA law allowed the sale of short-term insurance plans to serve as a stop-gap between long-term plans. The Trump Administration’s rule allows those plans to be extended as long as three years.

The plans are cheaper than long-term plans but do not offer the same level of coverage as plans that comply with the ACA; prescription drugs, pre-existing conditions, pregnancy and mental health coverage are not required to be covered in these short-term plans.

You didn’t seriously believe me, did you?

Anyhoo, let’s get back to Gardner. Colorado’s Republican Senator talks a good amount of gibberish when it comes to healthcare policy (we’ll never forget you, “glide path“), but he generally speaks favorably when it comes to protections for pre-existing conditions. Here’s Gardner in May 2017, via The Denver Post:

“We need to make sure the people with pre-existing conditions continue to have coverage and continue to have access to affordable coverage,” Gardner said.

Here’s Gardner a few months earlier, via Fox 31 Denver:

Gardner was also asked about what he would do about those people who are worried about losing health care coverage with pre-existing conditions if the Affordable Care Act is repealed and replaced.

“Over the past couple of years, my mom survived breast cancer,” Gardner said. “Over the past several weeks, my father has been in and out of the hospital. I haven’t heard anyone say we’re going to get rid of pre-existing conditions coverage.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner said he is pushing for affordability to make sure insurance is accessible to people with pre-existing conditions.

It was just last April, in fact, when Gardner declared that the Senate “can’t just walk away on healthcare.” Yesterday, Gardner voted along with most Republicans to go ahead and walk away on healthcare.

Cory Gardner is up for re-election in 2020.