What Might Have Been: Cory Gardner Chose…Poorly?

Another poor choice.

​​News of Republican House Majority Eric Cantor's shocking primary election defeat at the hands of an underfunded Tea Party-supported opponent has shaken the GOP power structure in Washington, D.C. to its core. The wide-ranging effects of Cantor's ouster have yet to be fully understood, but are already becoming apparent as any fleeting chance of Congress taking up immigration reform this year vanishes, and Republicans retreat in fear from the Latino engagement strategy once considered crucial to their ongoing viability.

But as the pundits try to figure out what Cantor's defeat means for the GOP, there's a more immediate question for our local politics–does Rep. Cory Gardner regret abandoning his safe House seat for a Senate race that, at this point, pundits expect him to lose?

The question takes on added significance today as Republicans look to fill the hole created by Cantor's loss, both in November and in the much sooner House majority leadership elections–as well as fill any position vacated by Cantor's replacement as majority leader. The Washington Post takes a look at the contenders for Cantor's job:

Twenty-four hours ago, the interesting leadership race among House Republicans was scheduled for next January and was expected to feature questions about House Speaker John Boehner's future. The primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has changed that schedule dramatically. Cantor will announce Wednesday that he is resigning his leadership position effective July 31, a decision that will force a behind-the-scenes race very much into the public eye.

The fight to replace Cantor as majority leader isn't the only leadership race going on either. Assuming Rep. Kevin McCarthy runs for majority leader there will be an election for majority whip, as well.

To be sure, there are plenty of names in the hopper to compete either for Cantor's former job, or that of current Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy should he move directly up to the majority leader position.

But here's something that's more or less undeniable: had Gardner chosen to remain in the House, his name would have been on that short list for House leadership. Gardner may not have been the winning choice for majority leader just yet, but he would have been a strong contender for majority whip. And given that most observers believe John Boehner's term as Speaker is coming to an end…well, who knows what might have happened? We do know that prior to making the jump to the U.S. Senate race, Gardner was a frequent mention for all kinds of upwardly mobile positions.

Where a few short months ago Gardner would have been in line for the upper tier of House GOP leadership, today he faces an uphill battle to become a junior U.S. Senator–or as Nate Silver considers 60% likely, unemployment next January.

Hindsight is 20/20, but if you think this hasn't crossed Gardner's mind today, you're kidding yourself.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

    OK, Ken here's what we're going to do.  There's been a ton of developments the past 24 hours, and we need everybodys buy in to pull this off.  You have all of this experience running for Senate.  I'm a shoo in for leadership if I keep my house seat, so we switch the seats we're running for !  How does Senator Buck and majority whip Gardner sound to you ?

    Its the one-two punch, its going to be awesome !  What do you think ?  Are you with me ?

    Ken ?

    Ken ?

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Or perhaps a simple text would suffice?  From TNTSNBN

      State Rep. Amy Stephens was in the midst of a fundraiser Monday night for her Senate bid when she got a text message from her close friend, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner.


      "Cory did not push people out of this race," Stephens said. "He said, 'this is what I'm thinking, this is what I'm wrestling with.' Cory could have just given me a call and said he was jumping in. But he thought it was important as a friend to say, 'What do you think about it?'

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Listen to Karl Rove's advice, fail.  Remember when Romney won Ohio?

  3. Andrew Carnegie says:

    And if it turns out that Gardner beats Udall and the Republicans control the Senate the move will have been the right move.  I think the race has not yet ended so talking about how Gardner made a poor choice is premature.

    It may be that he will have the last laugh.

    • ct says:

      Because 60-40 is 'tied' and expanding glacial sea ice disproves global warming.  Better get that MENSA application in there troll, with brains like that you owe it to humanity.  

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      Cory Gardner is flat out FUCKED Andrew Carnegie, and all of us here know it.

      Engaging in schadenfreude is rather harsh, but today I am going to make an exception and freaking wallow in it.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        Wasn't that line in an Indiana movie with the cup.  When the bad guy goes all shriveled and dead, the ancient knight says "He chose poorly".   Gardner over estimated his abilities by a mile.  Only a terrible economy could take out Udall and the economy is perking up instead of tanking.  Gardner could experience death by a thousand mistakes of arrogance.  It could be a long campaign season and with Repubilcans squabbling about who should helm the Titanic, it could give Dems. a shot are retaking the House.  Wouldn't that be a big blow.

  4. OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

    Gardner may have been an up-and-comer in the House GOP caucus, but there's no way he'd be in the conversation for a leadership position after what happened last night. If he had about ten more years on his tenure, maybe – maybe – we'd be talking a deputy whip position…

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Perhaps, but I think you're dismissing the 'Koch' factor. That would place him well above 'deputy whip' under any scenario (if he hadn't jumped ship). 

      He's been a very, very good soldier (and he's in a district that he could held for decades had he not bailed). So good that the Koch machine even employs his wife

  5. BoulderDem says:

    40% seems awfully generous to Gardner. He needs a wave to win this, or else extremely low turnout. I don't see either developing here, not with mail balloting. I do think he will shortly be unemployed. But no biggee. Short-term big money job, followed by a run for whatever statewide opens next.

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      Just like the Cantor news conference this afternoon.  When asked what was 'next' for him be babbled on about canvassing the country, promoting conservative candidates, preserving liberty and advancing freedom.  I'm pretty sure that was code for, "Are you kidding me? The K Street Lobby Houses and Think Tanks are lining up outside my door.  I smell a seven-figure salary and a personal jet in the works. The jokes on all of you." 

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        I'm sure you're right, Michael, but won't those people make hm actually work for his salary? He's not used to that, bless his pointy little head.  

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          I don't know if you paid much attention to his wife's facial expressions last night while he was giving the concession speech, but that was a lotta pain on display.  I have a hunch she's more pissed off about the loss than he was.  There's nothing like having the access to that kind of power in DC, and the added bonus of 'pillow talk'.  How many of us could pull off a part-time gig like this:

          Domino’s has delivered cash, stock, and stock options currently worth more than $3 million to Diana Cantor since October 2005 – all for her part-time work as a director. She has collected or cashed out more than $1.7 million of that money and is sitting on another roughly $1.4 million in Domino’s holdings, as the stock hovers near an all-time high.

          The natives are getting restless – and rightfully so.  Read it and weep: ('Papa John' Schnatter and his ties to Mitch McConnell have nothing on our boy from Richmond.  What is it with the Republican leadership and pizza guys?)

          Domino's Pizza Delivers Big for Eric Cantor

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Charlie and Dave will take care of him…

      and if all else fails, Tim Foster will give him a job at the "Home for Failed GOP Politicians"…otherwise known as Colorado Mesa University (which is a joke of a different color).

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Great quote for the day, "There are two kinds of people in the world: Givers and Takers.  The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better."  ~Marlo Thomas

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