The campaign for Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) announced on Wednesday that it had challenged potential Democratic opponents John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff to five debates this fall. But the big news in the announcement was more about who Gardner was dissing.
Incumbent Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) has declined an invitation to debate the winner of the 2020 Democratic primary on 9NEWS.
The proposed debate would have been held with Colorado State University (CSU) and seven other statewide media outlets: The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Colorado Politics, Rocky Mountain PBS, KRDO in Colorado Springs, KJCT and KKCO in Grand Junction and KOBF in the Four Corners. The event was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 13 at CSU in Fort Collins.
Gardner isn’t just giving 9News a stiff arm — he’s also ducking the largest newspaper covering his hometown area (The Ft. Collins Coloradoan).
Why would Gardner’s campaign snub 9News, the Denver NBC affiliate that regularly attracts the largest television audiences in the state? The fact that 9News has such a broad audience is one reason, but Gardner is also unhappy that reporters at 9News don’t let him barf out talking points like a certain political reporter at CBS4 Denver regularly allows. Journalists at 9News ask actual questions and expect actual answers from Gardner (examples here, here, here, and here) — and the Yuma Republican has not reacted well to this challenge — particularly when he gets cornered:
We asked @SenCoryGardner why he says Halliburton’s multi-state layoffs are the fault of Democrats in Colorado.
Anusha proceeded to ask her question again as he walked away.
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) October 10, 2019
Republicans such as State GOP Communications Director Kyle Kohli were gleeful about Gardner’s snub of 9News. Amid his tweetstorm, Kohli attempted an argument that segues nicely into our next point:
Funny you should say that, because it was exactly 10 years ago that Cory Gardner’s campaign ripped into Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey for…
…wait for it…
…refusing to attend basically the exact same debate. Let’s travel back in time to September 16, 2010:
Gardner’s campaign spokeswoman, Rachel Boxer, expressed disappointment that the debate had been canceled.
“Debates are an important part of the process and help voters make informed decisions,” Boxer said. “That’s why it is a shame that this debate is being canceled because Betsy Markey has dug in her heels and won’t agree to the ground rules set forth by 9News and the Coloradoan.”
It is a very Trumpian move to single out a specific news outlet that displeases you. It is also an obvious sign of general weakness for a candidate to take such pains to avoid difficult questions.
What would “2010 Cory” say about “2020 Cory”?