We’ve said before that we don’t buy any discussion that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner might run for U.S. Senate in 2014. It doesn’t make sense for Gardner to roll the dice on his political future so soon, and The Greeley Tribune (subscription required) highlights something else: Gardner just isn’t ready for a statewide race.
In an editorial today, the Tribune takes Gardner to task for his refusal to make any real compromise that would avert going off the ol’ Fiscal Cliff. Incumbent Republicans in safe Republican districts can talk all they want about how they have pledged to not raise taxes, blah, blah, blah. That kind of thing is red meat to many voters in Gardner’s district, and a scathing editorial from one of the major newspapers in CD-4 won’t really damage Gardner’s re-election hopes.
But a statewide candidate in Colorado can’t just close his eyes and put his fingers in his ears on a major budget battle. There are a lot of reasons why no Republican has won a major statewide office (Senate or Governor) in Colorado in a decade, and a refusal to move toward the middle is at the top of the list. Poll after poll has shown that American voters will blame Republicans more than Democrats if no budget deal is struck. If Gardner tried running for Senate in 2014, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall would quickly hang this anchor around his neck. Gardner’s far-right position on the budget would only help Udall to appear more moderate, and that’s how you get elected in Colorado these days.