Keeping track of the bad national press for Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado these days requires a lot of attention–hard on the heels of a damaging New York Times story about Gardner’s lack of accessibility to constituents back home over the holiday weekend, the Washington Post’s Griff Witte writes today:
[Sen. Cory] Gardner is perhaps the most vulnerable Republican of all this year, seeking a second term in a state Trump lost by nearly five points in 2016. Colorado has only shifted further left in the time since as younger, more liberal voters have flooded in and Democrats have tipped a registration deficit in their favor.
But rather than run away from Trump as the evidence mounts of an abuse of power, Gardner has drawn nearer…
While a significant majority of Coloradans disapprove of Trump’s performance, Gardner will need Republicans, who are nearly unanimous in their support of the president, if he has any hope of keeping his seat.
“…Cory’s got a tough race. The odds are 50-50 — at best,” said Dick Wadhams, a veteran Republican strategist in Colorado and a friend of Gardner’s. “There’s no doubt about it: Trump is a liability.” [Pols emphasis]
This story, which should be read in its entirety, is as fair as possible to Gardner in recounting Gardner’s condemnation of Donald Trump in October of 2016. Gardner’s journey from denouncing Trump as a man who boasts about committing sexual assault in 2016 to one of Trump’s fiercest defenders and a Trump campaign fundraising star in 2019, especially while representing a state which has only become more hostile to Trump in the time since Gardner called for Trump to pull out of the presidential race, is baffling to many taking their initial election-year look at our state and this race.
The problem is simple, and we’ve said it countless times in this space: without the loyal Trump GOP base, Cory Gardner has no base. Gardner is therefore powerless to change course and carry out the clear wishes of a majority of Colorado voters–to dump Trump like Gardner called for in October of 2016, and voting to remove Trump from office.
One thing’s for sure: an assessment this bleak from Gardner’s Republican friends who know him best will not help Gardner convince the makers of tough calls in DC that his re-election is salvageable.