Search Results for: cory gardner

Hold Cory Gardner accountable and more ways to fight back this week (March 12)

Yesterday morning on CBS’ Meet the Press, Sen. Cory Gardner was exposed for doing something terrible.

Unbeknownst to anyone, several weeks ago Sen. Gardner had placed a secret hold on legislation to strengthen background checks on gun purchases. This is legislation sponsored by a Republican Senator from Texas in the wake of the horrific Sutherland Springs, TX mass shooting that left 26 people dead.

That’s right—the Senator from Colorado, the state home to Columbine, Aurora, and the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, is single-handedly blocking common sense, bipartisan legislation to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands.

We didn’t know Cory Gardner was the one blocking this common-sense bipartisan bill until yesterday when he was confronted on live, national television. But he got caught. Over 90% of the public supports stronger background checks. Gardner has taken almost $4 million from the NRA and the gun lobby throughout his career, and now he is using his power as a Senator to secretly block a bill even the NRA claims to support.

Cory Gardner has betrayed every victim of gun violence, in Colorado and across America, with his cowardly attempt to block even the most rudimentary improvements in gun laws. Action item #1 this week: call Sen. Gardner at (202) 224-5941, and tell him to immediately release the hold on Sen. Cornyn’s background checks bill. And tell him his continuing refusal to protect Americans from gun violence will be remembered when he’s up for election again in 2020.

Thanks for taking quick action to hold Cory Gardner accountable. Once that’s done, here are many more great ways to make a difference for the week of March 12:

ACLU of Colorado: People Power at The Capitol

Join us for Lobby Day, March 14th at 8am. Talk to your elected representatives about the need to protect civil liberties in Colorado. Free continental breakfast and lunch provided. This event is free and open to the public.

Where: First Baptist Church of Denver, 1373 Grant St, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 8:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Enough! National School Walkout

Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.

When: Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.

Unity Across Struggles: A Black and Brown Conversation

Join this community conversation on how Latinos and African Americans in Denver might disrupt the status quo, smash the pattern of “fighting for the top of the bottom” and unify across struggles for shared political and economic power.

Where: Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, 2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Jobs with Justice: The Hand that Feeds Documentary Screening

Join Colorado Jobs With Justice for a screening and discussion of “The Hand that Feeds,” the moving story of undocumented immigrants fighting to win a union at a bakery in New York. “Shy sandwich-maker Mahoma Lopez unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain. The epic power struggle that ensues turns a single city block into a battlefield in America’s new wage wars.”

Where: Denver Post Auditorium 101 W. Colfax Ave. Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Jeffco Students United for Action: Jeffco #NeverAgain Rally

We would like to unite Jeffco together for a rally to demonstrate our unity in working together to end school violence. This rally is organized by Jeffco students and we are inviting ALL Jeffco students, staff and families to join us for a night of speakers, performers and action! We are inviting political officials and Jeffco school officials to come and hear our voices! After the rally we invite everyone to join us in taking action! We will have action tables where you can sign up to vote, write letters to your officials, write letters of encouragement to MSD and other schools affected by violence, film your #Whatif video and much more! Spread the word and join us!

Where: North Area Athletic Complex, 19500 W 64th Pkwy, Arvada
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

An Evening with Jeanette Vizguerra

The CU Denver Masters of Humanities/Masters of Social Science Program and Interdisciplinary Studies present the 3rd Annual Colorado Critical Interdisciplinary Speaker Series, featuring Jeanette Vizguerra, who Time Magazine named one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2017.” Ms. Vizguerra will deliver a talk about her life experiences in the United States entitled “Immigrant Mother and Leader in the Global Struggle to Keep Families Together”. This talk will be a bilingual event delivered in both English and Spanish, and it is free and open to the public.

Where: University of Colorado Denver, 1201 Larimer St., Denver
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.

The Denver Press Club: State of Colorado v. Sessions

What does the recent announcement from AG Sessions to rescind the Cole memo mean for State regulated Cannabis companies here in Colorado, or one of the other 30 states in the union with decriminalization laws?

Where: The Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl, Denver
When: Thursday, March 15 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition: Open records/open meetings workshops and awards luncheon

Learn tools for shining a light on government from experts on the Colorado Open Records Act, the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, the Colorado Open Meetings Law and court access. Get White House insights from MSNBC political analyst Eli Stokols and help CFOIC honor state Sen. John Kefalas with the Sue O’Brien Award for Public Service. Longtime CFOIC board member Ruth Anna will be honored with the inaugural Ruth Anna Citizen Champion Award.

Where: Denver Scottish Rite Consistory, 1370 Grant St, Denver
When: Friday, March 16 at 9:00am

Click here to RSVP.

One Colorado: Spring 2018 Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit

The One Colorado GSA Network will be hosting the Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit on March 17th! At the 2018 Northern Colorado GSA Leadership Summit, we will share best practices for creating and supporting effective GSA programs and empowering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to be leaders in their community. Students (middle school, high school, and college-aged), educators, and parents who are passionate about creating safe, inclusive learning environments are all welcome and encouraged to attend. This is a FREE event and this year’s theme is ‘It Starts With Us’ to remind us that we all have the power to make change in our community.

Where: CSU Lory Student Center, 500 University Ave, Fort Collins
When: Saturday, March 17 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.

Meet your Muslim Neighbors – Mosque Open House

What is Islam? Who are Muslims? Ask questions! get answers!

Where: Masjid AnNur, 2124 S Birch St, Denver
When: Saturday, March 17 at 2:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Tell CO Lawmakers: Ban Bump Stocks – Support SB18-051

Ban bump stocks in Colorado! Join us at the Colorado Capitol, Rm. 357. Come to testify and support. Wear RED! You may come or leave at any time but should get there early to sign up if you plan on testifying! SB18-051 “Prohibit Multi-burst Trigger Activators” is the first bill on the docket and will be heard at 1:30. If you can, stay to testify against SB18-052 “Repeal Ammunition Magazine Prohibition.”

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Monday, March 19 at 1:30pm

Click here to RSVP.

Whether’s it’s holding Cory Gardner accountable in Washington or making sure our values are represented at the state capitol in Denver, thanks again for all your help week after week fighting back against the Trump and the far fight. We are on the right side of history, and we are winning. We’ll be back next week with more ways to take action.

WATCH NOW: Cory Gardner Withers Under Gun Questions

A short time ago, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation. Although most of the questions from today’s interview with Margaret Brennan focused on relations with North Korea following President Donald Trump’s confusing foreign policy announcements late last week, at the end of the interview Gardner was asked about his role–not previously reported–in blocking legislation sponsored by GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn to strengthen background checks for firearms purchases. This is legislation Sen. Cornyn has been working on since the Sutherland Springs, Texas shooting last year that killed 26 people.

In the clip below, you can see something fairly amazing and rare: one of the slickest U.S. Senators flopping like a fish:


MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to quickly ask you about guns. Texas Senator John Cornyn has a bill proposing strengthening the background check system. Is it correct that you have put a hold on this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: I think there are some of us who are talking about due process issues in the bill and legislation. I’ve talked to Senator Cornyn and I hope that Senator Cornyn will realize that we need to work this due process matter out. This isn’t a issue of whether you like this or not, it’s a question of constitutional rights and protecting the people of this country, protecting them from harm —

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, you are blocking the bill for now? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: — and, and making sure we’re protecting people from harm and making sure that we get this right and if there’s a constitutional issue at, at stake then that should be worked out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But to clarify from your answer there. [Pols emphasis] Are you blocking this bill from the floor?

SEN. CORY GARDNER: This bill can come to the floor and we will continue to work through an amendment process and I hope that we can fix those amendments.

MARGARET BRENNAN: After you fix this bill you will allow it to go to the floor but not before this? [Pols emphasis]

SEN. CORY GARDNER: Well I think if we can have an, an amendment process that works to fix due process concerns real constitutional issues, then I hope that’s something that we can do. I hope that people who support this bill are interested, like all of us, in making sure we’re protecting the American people from harm.

MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Senator Gardner, thank you very much for joining “Face the Nation.”

SEN. GARDNER: Thanks for having me. Thank you.

It’s technically true that Gardner never answered the question–but by the time it was asked a fourth time, he didn’t have to. Gardner has years of experience sticking to a tight script with the media, but there’s a point at which these repetitious non-answers become worse for Gardner than simply giving the answer everyone knows and he just doesn’t want to say. Yes, Cory Gardner, who has taken almost four million dollars from the National Rifle Association during his career in politics, is the one blocking a fellow Republican’s bill to strengthen gun background checks. A bill that over 90% of Americans want passed.

Gardner was not prepared to answer this question, even though he obviously should have been. This was an absolutely disastrous performance for the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and a rare glimpse into the incredible behind-the-scenes power the NRA wields in Washington through people like Cory Gardner.

We know the answer to a very important question: why does gun safety legislation the public overwhelmingly supports never seem to become law, no matter how grisly the headlines from the latest mass shootings? No matter how unthinkably large the body counts have become at Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs and Parkland? No matter how many politicians in both parties agree it’s time to do something?

Cory Gardner just showed the world.

Yup, It Definitely Sucks to be Cory Gardner

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) turns that smile upside down.

Burgess Everett of Politico picks up on a theme we’ve visited time and again here on Colorado Pols: It’s no fun to be Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Take a look at what Everett has to say in a story subtitled “The lonely existence of Cory Gardner”:

Senate Republican campaigns chief Cory Gardner might’ve had the easiest job in Washington — if only Hillary Clinton had won.

Instead, the centrist-minded Coloradan has found himself in one of the toughest predicaments in town: leading the Republican battalion in what’s instead shaping up as an anti-Trump Democratic wave election, while at the same time trying to cut legislative deals with some of the senators he’s campaigning hardest to defeat. Gardner is going to need bipartisan accomplishments to survive his own swing-state reelection race in 2020.

It’s not exactly what the sunny, glad-handing pol was signing up for when he put in for the job just before the 2016 election.

“He’s a brave man,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and now the party whip. “I admire him for being willing to take on the challenge.”

Talk about damning with faint praise — calling Gardner “brave” in a political sense is code for saying that he’s absolutely screwed.

Gardner campaigned hard to be the head guy at the NRSC at a time when it looked like Democrat Hillary Clinton was going to be President and Republicans would get to run against her for the next several years. The NRSC job was tantalizing enough that Gardner and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis once proposed serving as co-chairs; Gardner ended up getting the job all to himself, and there probably isn’t a day that goes by where Tillis doesn’t say a silent prayer of thanks for how this all worked out.

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Associated Press)

Things have not gone well for Gardner since he first got the NRSC job in November 2016. We don’t really need to elaborate on why it has been tough to be a Republican since Donald Trump moved into the White House, but it’s important to note that longtime GOP supporters and donors have been just as upset with Congressional Republicans who only managed to pass a single piece of significant legislation in 2017 (a tax plan that Gardner doesn’t discuss). Gardner’s fundraising struggles have been well-documented, and he’s still trying to rebuild burned bridges after NRSC staffers were caught stealing donor lists from their counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Money has been so tight at the NRSC that Gardner has continually danced around the issue of giving back $100,000 from disgraced Nevada casino mogul Steve Wynn.

It’s telling that the normally-verbose Gardner is not exactly enthusiastic about Republican chances in 2018, as Politico explains:

Though Gardner never admits that his party’s prospects have declined due to Trump’s unpopularity and the failure to score top-tier candidates in states like Montana, he is realistic about the challenges he faces. When pressed on how many seats Republicans might be able to pick up, he does a brief impression of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with his Kentucky drawl, saying that predicting Senate races is a fool’s errand.

“I would not [put a number]. I am optimistic about every single one of these races. Part of that is just because of who I am,” Gardner said, noting how rarely the GOP has built majorities of more than 55 seats in the past century. “We have to contend with history.” [Pols emphasis]

History will show that 2017 was a positively terrible year for Gardner, and 2018 isn’t looking much better. Gardner’s 25% approval rating demonstrates an erosion of support on all sides; the last public poll for Gardner showed that only 38% of Colorado Republicans approved of his performance.

Gardner isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but the 2018 election will go a long way toward determining what’s left of his political future.

Cory Gardner Will Do a Thing at Some Point

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) needs every last coin he can find for the NRSC.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a regrettable appearance in a Huffington Post story on Tuesday about Republican confusion over what to do with money raised by former Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn, the casino magnate who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women.

Nevada’s Gaming Control Board has reportedly launched an investigation into the assault/harassment claims against Wynn, who stepped down from his position with the RNC last weekend in the wake of a story from the Wall Street Journal documenting the accusations. Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, said on Tuesday that the Republican Party would only return donations from Wynn “if he is found of any wrongdoing,” which is a consideration that Republicans didn’t seem to find important last year when they were crowing about political donations to Democrats from disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

But as bad as McDaniel’s comments on Wynn might appear, they are actually more well-thought out than the response given by Gardner:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who runs the group in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate, told MSNBC on Tuesday that he doesn’t know what his National Republican Senatorial Committee will do with the $100,000 Wynn has given them.

“We’ll make sure we do the appropriate action,” Gardner said.

When pressed, he said he still wasn’t sure what that was. [Pols emphasis]

It might seem rather trivial to equivocate on returning $100,000 from Wynn, but Gardner is having a heck of a lot of trouble wrangling checks for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

They say you can’t put a price on integrity. But if you could, Gardner might suggest starting the bidding at six figures.

Police Union Nastygrams Cory Gardner Over DOJ Holds

Senator Cory Gardner (R).

A press release over the weekend from the National Fraternal Order of Police tears into Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado but good over his hold on nominees to the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance to U.S. Attorneys protecting marijuana commerce in states that have legalized:

The members of the Fraternal Order of Police are disappointed and very frustrated by the vow made by Senator Cory S. Gardner (R-CO) to hold up all nominees for vacant posts in the U.S. Department of Justice following the decision to rescind the Cole Memo and restore discretion to our nation’s U.S. Attorneys on investigations into violations of Federal drug laws involving marijuana.

Senator Gardner has come out swinging to defend the pot industry in his State. However, the fact that he believes Colorado can profit from the sale of this illegal drug does not give him the right to hold up or delay the appointment of critical personnel at the Justice Department. How can he justify putting at risk the public safety of all 50 States to advance the interests of the pot industry in his own?

The FOP has repeatedly made our concerns about current vacancies in the Justice Department and other key Administration posts known. Senator Gardner does a real disservice to the nation as a whole and we urgently ask him to reconsider his rash and ill-advised obstructionism.

Policy differences should be worked out by a dialogue and not turn into hostage situations. The ability of the Justice Department to carry out its nationwide mission should not be compromised by a single Senator trying to make it easier for business in his State to sell marijuana—an illegal drug as far as the Federal government is concerned.

After Sen. Gardner enjoyed no small amount of favorable local press for publicly throwing down in defense of marijuana with Sessions, this more recent backlash from the FOP hasn’t received nearly as much attention. One exception to that is conservative blogger and former GOP legislative staffer Dan Njegomir over at the former Colorado Statesman:

It’s usually a friend to the GOP, having endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, but the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest law-enforement [sic] labor union, has come out swinging at Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. What’s the beef? Gardner’s vow to hold up nominees to the many vacant posts in the U.S. Justice Department after the Trump administration announced it was giving the department more leeway to crack down on pot-legalizing states like Colorado.

With Sen. Gardner’s support in polls quickly declining, perhaps most critically with base law-and-order Republicans who are generally speaking not big fans of the devil-weed, pressure on Gardner to fold on his nominee holds could become an interesting predicament for him. With Colorado’s U.S. Attorney having disarmed fears of an immediate crackdown on the retail marijuana industry following Sessions’ change of policy, though with plenty of uncertainty about the long term under the Trump administration remaining, Gardner may have taken an position that burns him no matter what he does next.

But remember, the promise Gardner made was not to the cops.

Cory Gardner Votes To Ban Abortion (Again)

That’s the word from Denver7’s Blair Miller:

Despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s vote in favor, legislation to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy failed to obtain the necessary 60 votes to advance to a final vote in the U.S. Senate–thus effectively killing the bill after its passage last fall in the GOP-controlled House. A few red-state Democrats including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin were put on record voting in favor of the bill, and a few others were made nominally uncomfortable after going on record against it in states where that could cost them some amount of support.

For Sen. Cory Gardner, today’s vote was just another opportunity to shamelessly burn everyone who covered for his stridently anti-abortion record during the 2014 elections. Endorsing Gardner in 2014, the Denver Post bemoaned the “tedious refrain” of Democrats warning about Gardner’s position on abortion, stating flatly that “Sen. Cory Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

Safe to say that prediction did not age well.

Poll: Colorado Voters Positively Loathe Cory Gardner

In late October 2017, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) sent out this Tweet about the “Upside Down world” that became a central plot point in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Gardner’s comment was an unintentionally-apt description of his own political fortunes; as far as public polling is concerned, Gardner is comfortably ensconced in his own “upside down” world.

For the last year or so, we’ve been following Gardner’s plummeting poll numbers with fascination, wondering when they might possibly bottom-out. Just how low can Gardner go? According to the results of a new poll from the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) at the University of Colorado, we still don’t know the answer to that question.

Polling results from APRL show Gardner with a miserable 25% approval rating, with just 38% of Republicans admitting that they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Senator. For Gardner, the only bright side to these horrific numbers is that they aren’t any worse.

American Politics Research Lab (January 2018)

To understand the gravity of these numbers for Gardner, consider this: Donald Trump is the most disliked President in the history of polling, with an approval rating that averages out to about 39% (via If Gardner’s numbers were to somehow rise to this level, his staff would throw a party.

Need more convincing? Check out this Politico story about polling numbers for John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall from December 2013 (Gardner beat Udall in the 2014 Senate race 11 months later):

Voters are almost evenly split on Udall, with 41 percent disapproving of his job as senator compared with 40 percent approving. That’s down from a 50 percent to 33 percent approval in April.

Udall’s numbers likely jumped around a bit in 2014, but from March 2010 through August 2013, the former Democratic Senator was typically polling in the mid-40s and never dropped below 36%. In October 2014, just a few weeks before Election Day, Udall had an approval rating of 45%. As best we can tell, the last time Gardner was polling near that number was in July 2015, when Quinnipiac University listed him with a 48% approval rating.

Poll numbers for politicians will invariably go up and down during their time in office, but it’s really hard to drop as far as Gardner has fallen in the last year.

Gardner endured an absolutely brutal year in 2017, and from the look of things, 2018 isn’t going be be much better. We’ve said before in this space that it is not too early to wonder about Gardner’s political future when his first term expires shortly after the 2020 election. If Gardner can’t figure out a way to improve his image, don’t be surprised if his name isn’t even on the ballot in two years.

Cory Gardner To DACA Kids: Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes

ABC News reporting from an interview with Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado yesterday, in which Gardner makes assurances to undocumented immigrants presently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that we don’t think he has any ability to guarantee:

“I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported,” [Pols emphasis] Gardner told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, of the formerly-protected undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as youths. “There’s not going to be this mass deportation on this. That’s first and foremost. Please know that Congress is working very hard to solve this.”

Gardner worries about the 800,000 people that are in the midst of turmoil and fear because their legal status is set to run out on March 5. The Trump administration has announced the U.S. would end in March the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival which would bring an end to the temporary protection extended to these undocumented migrants.

Gardner joked that the number of senators at the negotiating table keeps changing so it should be called the “Gangs of Prime Numbers.”

In typical slippery Gardner style, he undercuts his initial strong statement that “I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported” by saying right after that there won’t be “mass” deportations–a significant yet also conveniently vague qualifier. What Gardner leaves out of this rosy forecast is the fact that thousands of DACA beneficiaries have already lost protection after their authorizations expired after Trumps’s announcement of the program’s ending and were not renewed. Here’s the estimated number of young people who have lost DACA protections since September 5, 2017 (counter via the Center for American Progress):

If you combine this reality with the bellicose language used by many Republicans not named Cory Gardner during the recent shutdown battle–including President Donald Trump–that Democrats were “shutting the government down for illegal immigrants,” and continued resistance by a large percentage of Republicans to any compassionate solution, it’s very difficult to take comfort in Gardner’s casual promise that ‘nobody is going to be deported.’ To DACA beneficiaries who have been losing their protections from deportation for months now as Republicans have dickered and argued amongst themselves, Gardner couldn’t sound more out of touch. And now that Republicans have fought off a determined attempt by Democrats to force the issue, how can anyone say the outlook has improved?

We’re not saying it’s impossible for Gardner to deliver on the promise he made here, notwithstanding any individuals for whom that’s already too late. What we’re saying is that it’s a very big promise, and he is not in control of the many waypoints along the way to keeping this very big promise.

And it’s never a good idea to make a promise you don’t know for sure that you can keep.

Top Ten Stories of 2017 #1: Cory Gardner’s Slow-Motion Career Crash

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) rolled out his “angry face” in 2017.

(Yeah, yeah, it’s January 10th. At least we finished this — Colorado Pols)

How bad was 2017 for Cory Gardner? Consider this: When Gardner materialized in the Philippines in June glad-handing a murderous dictator, it wasn’t even the low point of his year.

The biggest Colorado political story of 2017 was the slow-motion destruction of Sen. Cory Gardner’s political career. The Yuma Republican was heralded as a rising star in the GOP when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, and the hype grew to such extreme measures that Gardner was even mentioned as a potential candidate for Vice President in 2016. But after a terrible 12 months as a member of the Senate Republican leadership, it’s fair to wonder whether Gardner can even hold his own seat in 2020.

In the last couple of years, Gardner has traveled the country supporting various Republican candidates in a transparent attempt to raise his own national profile. He was rewarded for his efforts in late 2016 when he was selected to head up the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for 2018 – a job he had lobbied for back when it seemed absurd that Donald Trump might get elected to the Presidency. Gardner figured that he would have little trouble guiding the NRSC to victory in 2018 with Hillary Clinton in the White House, but now it looks like he’ll be the guy in charge when Republicans lose their Senate majority in November.

Gardner’s struggles at the helm of the NRSC are killing his political reputation, with damaging charges of voter-list theft the cherry on top of a terrible year trying to raise money for the organization. By the end of 2017, the White House was openly fretting about Gardner’s fundraising problems at the NRSC.

But it wasn’t just trouble with the NRSC that plagued Gardner in 2017. He was pummeled for most of the year over his inexplicable refusal to hold a town hall event in Colorado – a strange strategic decision that caused endless headaches for the Senator and led to the creation of a famous cardboard version of the Yuma Republican. When Gardner finally faced Colorado voters in mid-August after some 500 days of avoiding them…well, let’s just say people were justifiably pissed off. It doesn’t help Gardner’s cause that his Senate offices have basically stopped trying to respond to constituents.

Gardner’s approval ratings plummeted accordingly. By the end of the year, Gardner had become one of the 10 most disliked Senators in the entire country — ripped on social media and mocked on late-night television as a blathering stooge for Senate Republicans. Vocal Colorado Republicans began to attack Gardner as well, and national conservative voices became pointed critics.

It’s telling that Gardner isn’t listed anymore as a potential “swing vote” in national stories – not after the way he embraced every iteration of a failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act while trying to explain his actions with loads of gibberish to the media. This is a problem for Gardner’s made-up “moderate” image, and it indicates the extent to which reporters – with the exception of Gardner transcriber/CBS4 reporter Shaun Boyd — are no longer buying this presentation.

As the 2018 year in politics gets underway, Gardner is trying hard to present himself as some sort of Weed Warrior while also shining Donald Trump’s shoes and hoping nobody notices the contradictions. In other words, Gardner has no idea how he is going to extricate himself from the political morass he stumbled into in 2017. His best hope is just that 2018 can’t possibly be any worse than the year he just finished.

Weed over kids: Cory Gardner’s priorities?

You probably saw it on TV last week. After Trump’s attorney general made another threat to shut down Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, Sen. Cory Gardner spoke out on the floor of the U.S. Senate and threatened to stall Justice Department nominees.

Marijuana is a billion-dollar business in Colorado, and money talks. But here’s the problem: while Cory Gardner says he’s willing to go to extremes to protect the marijuana industry (which is debatable considering his parade of broken promises), 90,000 Colorado kids are in danger of losing their Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage. Uncertainty in Washington has forced Colorado to spend money we don’t have to temporarily cover kids who qualify for CHIP in our state, but that won’t last forever.

Send a message to Cory Gardner now: tell him to stand up for Colorado’s kids.

If 2017 taught us anything, it’s that Gardner’s priorities are hopelessly out of whack. Gardner spent all of last year trying repeatedly to destroy the Affordable Care Act and slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans, despite the fact that poll after poll showed that’s not what Coloradans wanted. Gardner claimed to support health insurance for children, but Republicans in Washington have refused to take action to fund CHIP for the long-term.

If Cory Gardner can shut down Justice Department nominations over marijuana, why can’t he do as much for 90,000 Colorado kids who need health coverage? Tell Gardner to do the right thing—even when there aren’t campaign donations and a billion-dollar industry at stake.

Thanks for helping us hold Gardner accountable to his promises. We’ll make sure he gets your message.

Cory Gardner Doesn’t Want to Talk About Tax Bill

I’m doing good, right?

Earlier this week Congressional Republicans rammed through a tax plan that ranks as the most unpopular piece of legislation to pass through Capitol Hill in literally decades. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) opposed the measure — as did all Senate Democrats — and has not been shy about voicing his concerns. Colorado’s other Senator, Republican Cory Gardner, voted YES on the tax plan but isn’t really all that interested in talking about it.

Senator Bennet spoke with Colorado Public Radio (CPR) on Thursday and did not mince words about his disgust with the legislation:

“…the way I look at this is that they’ve been kind enough to spread some crumbs around for middle America to make it appear like there’s a middle-class tax cut, when the reality is they’re borrowing money from the middle class to finance these massive tax cuts for the wealthiest people the country. I don’t think that’s satisfactory. In fact I would say this is the worst piece of legislation that I’ve seen in the nine years that I’ve been in this job.” [Pols emphasis]

There’s certainly no mistaking Bennet’s position here, but why is Sen. Gardner supporting a tax plan that offers little help to middle-class Colorado families? That’s a good question…without much of an answer. As radio host Jo Ann Allen explained after Bennet’s interview on CPR:

“We’ve asked Republican Senator Cory Gardner numerous times for an interview on the tax bill and other topics. So far, he has not set aside the time.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner isn’t just ducking Colorado Public Radio — he’s been noticeably silent on the tax plan since it really started picking up steam in November. Gardner issued a generic statement of support after the vote this week, but otherwise he hasn’t been very eager to talk about his enthusiasm for legislation that the entire country dislikes.

It’s not a huge political mystery as to why Gardner supported the GOP tax plan. Gardner is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and his anemic fundraising is setting off alarm bells all over Washington D.C.; he is absolutely desperate to win back the support of major Republican donors before his entire political career goes up in flames, and if that means supporting legislation that his constituents don’t like…well, whatever, right?

Still, is it really too much to ask for Gardner to actually defend his position on the only significant legislative accomplishment for Congressional Republicans in 12 months?

Don’t answer that.

It’s Not Too Early to Wonder About Cory Gardner in 2020

Rep. Paul Ryan poses with then-Rep. Cory Gardner. Four years from now, both might be gone from the halls of Congress.

Colorado has had seven U.S. Senators since 1990. Three have been re-elected at least once: Democrat Republican Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell, Republican Wayne Allard, and Democrat Michael Bennet. As for the other four: Republican Hank Brown retired after one term, Democrat Ken Salazar left early to become Interior Secretary, and Democrat Mark Udall lost his bid for re-election in 2014 to Republican Cory Gardner.

In modern Colorado political history, our elected Senators have been more likely to retire or leave the job early than to be rejected by voters. In fact, only one incumbent Senator other than Udall has lost a re-election bid since 1978 (Democratic Sen. Floyd Haskell lost to Republican Bill Armstrong that year). Colorado’s next Senate election isn’t scheduled until 2020, when Gardner will be nearing the end of his first six-year term, but recent other high-profile decisions to retire or not run for re-election are turning many local eyes toward the Yuma Republican.

The most recent example is that of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is reportedly intent on leaving Congress in 2018 rather than run for another term. As Politico wrote this week:

Ryan was tiring of D.C. even before reluctantly accepting the speakership. He told his predecessor, John Boehner, that it would be his last job in politics—and that it wasn’t a long-term proposition. In the months following Trump’s victory, he began contemplating the scenarios of his departure. More recently, over closely held conversations with his kitchen cabinet, Ryan’s preference has become clear: He would like to serve through Election Day 2018 and retire ahead of the next Congress. This would give Ryan a final legislative year to chase his second white whale, entitlement reform, while using his unrivaled fundraising prowess to help protect the House majority—all with the benefit of averting an ugly internecine power struggle during election season.

There are some obvious similarities between Ryan and Gardner. Both are 40-something lawmakers with ambitions to roam the White House one day, and both are seeing their political careers bogged down by intense Republican infighting and the daily whims of a President whose very existence (and massive unpopularity) threatens other Republican politicians around the country.

Cory Gardner’s most recent poll numbers show him with a disapproval rate (39%) that has nearly eclipsed his awful approval numbers (40%)

Gardner does not have nearly the national name-recognition of Ryan, but he is starting to get more national notice for the wrong reasons. In just the last couple of months, Gardner has struggled to raise money as the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) while facing difficult questions about a large-scale donor list theft that took place under his watch. Gardner was lampooned during the monologue of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” just a few weeks ago, and earlier this week a political panel on CNN openly laughed at Gardner’s absurd statement that Democrat Doug Jones should vote with Republicans once he takes his seat as Alabama’s junior Senator. Gardner’s Senate office is barely functional, and his approval ratings are in the toilet as the eighth-least liked Senator in the entire country. Social media users seem to hate Gardner even more than they dislike President Twitterer himself.

If President Trump is somehow still in the White House in 2020, then he’s likely going to be running for re-election. Team Gardner can’t be very enthusiastic about the idea of sharing the same ballot as the most unpopular President in the history of polling, and Gardner may come to the same conclusion as Ryan: That in order to live and fight another political battle he would be best-served by going away for awhile.

Angry Cory

We don’t need to tell you that a lot can change in three years, but this current political trajectory does not favor a Gardner re-election campaign. There is a massive Blue Wave coming to America in 2018, and perhaps beyond, thanks in part to the insistence of Congressional Republicans on passing the least-popular legislative proposals in a generation. Republican efforts to dismantle Obamacare and give away massive tax breaks to the rich are not going over well with American voters — and Gardner has been at the front of the parade on both issues (he votes with President Trump more than 94% of the time).

For a politician as young as Gardner, it may make more sense for him to walk away before 2020 than to risk a crushing re-election loss just six years after being hailed as one of the GOP’s brightest stars. It certainly would not be an unprecedented move in Colorado.

Gardner had visions of running for President in 2020 had Democrat Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in 2016. Even if Trump is not the GOP candidate for President in 2020, it’s going to be damn near impossible for any Republican to maintain the support of Trumpians while still appearing reasonable to a general electorate.

In politics, timing can be everything. Gardner’s 2014 timing was perfect; everything since then has been an absolute mess. Gardner may well decide that 2020 will be time for him to do something else.

There’s Tone Deaf, And Then There’s Cory Gardner

UPDATE: Watch a CNN panel laugh raucously at Sen. Cory Gardner:


Roy Moore, Cory Gardner.

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports on the response by National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, to last night’s come-from-behind victory by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones of Alabama–a Democratic victory that puts Gardner in a difficult position as one of the Republicans who abandoned Roy Moore as allegations of child molestation beset Moore’s campaign:

Sen. Cory Gardner, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Tuesday that Alabama voters deemed Roy Moore unfit for election, but also that he hopes Democratic victor Doug Jones will vote with Republicans once in the U.S. Senate.

“Tonight’s results are clear – the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said in a statement. “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.”

Gardner’s statement whistles right past the enormous divisions Roy Moore’s Senate run opened within the Republican Party, with President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee having fully committed the party’s brand in support of Moore. Gardner himself went back and forth on Moore through the course of the Alabama special election to replace Jeff Sessions, supporting appointed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in the primary, then enthusiastically backing Moore as the primary winner before souring on Moore again with Mitch McConnell’s apparent consent after decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct against girls as young as 14 resurfaced. After Trump endorsed Moore, McConnell’s rhetoric suddenly went soft leaving Gardner out on a limb. Gardner stopped calling for Moore to be expelled at that point, but still voiced his personal opposition.

As for Gardner’s thoroughly lampoonable call for Jones to essentially caucus with Republicans, yes–we get why he said this. You could even argue that Gardner’s opposition to Moore was meant to set up the circumstances by which he could call for something like this with a straight face. But in the end, the ability of a Democrat to prevail in deeply red Alabama as happened yesterday is more than the admittedly shocking allegations against one Republican candidate. Elections across the country in 2017 have clearly indicated a huge shift of support away from Republicans since Trump’s election. In some cases, the 20-point or larger swings still weren’t enough to flip safely Republican seats, but if you apply those equivalent swings across the nation the 2018 elections begin to look very, very good for Democrats–a landslide, in fact, that could reach historic proportions.

So no, sorry Sen. Gardner, we don’t see Doug Jones caucusing with Republicans! If anything, after next November that might be a whole new punchline. In the meantime, the deep divisions created by Moore’s campaign within the Republican Party, in which Gardner is now fully entangled, are going to be fascinating to watch play out.

Cory Gardner: Let The Moore Backpedal Begin

Back that a** up, Cory.

Republican leaders such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are softening their tone on accused pedophile and former judge Roy Moore as Tuesday’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama approaches. And now so is Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Gardner maintains that the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which he helms for the 2018 cycle, will absolutely not support Moore’s candidacy. Of that, Gardner has been fairly consistent…but now he’s starting to backpedal on what happens if Moore wins on Tuesday.

Here’s the exact exchange between Gardner and Fox 31 reporter Joe St. George, as reported today:

JSG: “If Roy Moore wins, should he be seated?”

GARDNER: “Again, that’s a question…that’s a Constitutional question to the Supreme Court.”


This is a considerably different answer than the one Gardner gave on November 13. As the Denver Post reported at the time:

“I believe the individuals speaking out against Roy Moore spoke with courage and truth, proving he is unfit to serve in the United States Senate and he should not run for office,” Gardner said in a statement. “If he refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him, because he does not meet the ethical and moral requirements of the United States Senate.”

President Trump, the latter of whom is doubling-down on his support of Moore. Trump is in Pensacola, Florida today for a rally that is totally not at all about Roy Moore and the fact that Pensacola is in the same television market as Mobile, Alabama.

It’s Official, Cory Gardner: Roy Moore Won’t Be Expelled

UPDATE: President Trump is now “all in” on supporting Moore, as CNN reports:

President Donald Trump fully endorsed Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore on Twitter Monday morning.

Trump had hesitated to throw his full support behind the embattled Republican candidate in the wake of explosive accusations against him. His tweet Monday comes as recent polls show a close race…

…Moore expressed gratitude for Trump’s public support, which comes eight days before the special election.

“Thankful for President Trump’s support. The America First agenda will #MAGA. Can’t wait to help him #DrainTheSwamp. #ALSEN” he tweeted.


Roy Moore, Cory Gardner.

Politico reporting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is sounding the retreat from previous statements that accused child molester Roy Moore should be expelled from the U.S. Senate in the event he wins the December 12th special election in Alabama–leaving Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, whose National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) pulled support from Moore and who also called for Moore to be expelled if he wins…

We believe the correct description is “with his ass hanging in the breeze.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday shifted his tone on allowing Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore to serve in the Senate if elected.

Multiple women have accused Moore, who is facing Democrat Doug Jones in the Dec. 12 special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, of making sexual advances on them when they were teenagers. When the allegations first appeared, McConnell said he believed the women and said Moore should drop out of the contest.

“I’m going to let the people of Alabama make the call,” McConnell said on ABC’s “This Week.” He said he thought the Senate Ethics Committee would handle the allegations against Moore if he is elected: “The ethics committee will have to consider the matters that have been litigated in the campaign should that particular candidate win.”

That’s well short of a vote to expel, of course–and just like Cory Gardner quietly ate his words after calling for now-President Donald Trump to pull out of the presidential race last October, you can now officially start the vigil for Gardner to commence backpedaling on Roy Moore as well. It would be preferable to see reporters track that change as it occurs, rather than allowing him to “go dark” for the next week and issue the inevitable “everybody should have the opportunity to live down pedophilia” statement once Moore’s accession to the U.S. Senate is a fait accompli.

These signals coming from the highest Republicans in the land that they are ready to capitulate to Moore are the best tacit support they can possibly give Moore and his embittered hard-right base. With over a week left before the election for this reality to be absorbed by Alabama voters, Moore’s election–and the greatest moral moment of truth for Republicans since Trump himself–is once again the most likely scenario.

There is of course the possibility that Gardner could surprise us, but we have no reason to expect it.

At this point, absolutely none.