Cory Gardner is Melting Down in Front of Our Eyes

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is a hot mess right now.

In the last 24 hours or so, Gardner has tried desperately to convince reporters that his campaign isn’t already doomed; watched his Democratic opponent win a blowout victory despite millions in negative ads; saw a fellow incumbent lose a Primary despite having President Trump’s endorsement; conducted a handful of interviews that make him sound like a lunatic used-car salesman; and got to see a new General Election poll already showing that he’s getting crushed by Democratic Senate nominee John Hickenlooper.

 

Tuesday Afternoon (June 30)

Sen. Cory Gardner tells a story about his mammoth MOV in 2014.

With just a few hours to go until polls close in Colorado, the Gardner campaign releases a laughable memo (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) that inaccurately calls Colorado “the Rocky Mountain state” (the correct answer is: The Centennial State) and lists the wrong margin of victory for his 2014 Senate win. The memo says that Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall by 2.5 points in 2014, but the actual final margin was just about 2 even. This isn’t a huge deal, but it’s a weird thing to lie about.

There are a lot of other, let’s say, exaggerations in the Gardner memo, which calls Hickenlooper “the worst senate candidate in America” a few hours before Hick wins the Democratic Primary by 20 points. Check out this preemptive jab at media outlets hoping to convince reporters that Gardner is not screwed:

One thing you can count on – the Washington, DC press corps will predict losses across the board for Republicans in Senate contests this cycle. It is part of their migratory ritual every even-numbered year that more often than not proves incorrect. They’ll proclaim Colorado is now the political soulmate of California – or something equally preposterous.

Very subtle.

And then there’s this bit of nuttery:

In Colorado the floor for candidates from both parties is high and the ceiling is low. Single-digit races are the norm. Democrats will also spin yarns about their bare voter registration advantage. It’s nonsense. [Pols emphasis] For decades, Republicans had a voter registration advantage in this state, but Democrats like Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Ken Salazar, and even John Hickenlooper were able to win statewide. Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

First of all, a voter registration advantage is a concrete number. The advantage doesn’t necessarily play out in every contest, but you can’t dispute that the number is indeed real. The rest of this paragraph actually hurts the underlying argument; if Democratic candidates could win when Republicans had a voter registration advantage, then they should feel really good about having a natural head start in 2020.

Also, raise your hand if you believe that the 2020 Election is going to be just like Colorado’s past half-dozen General Elections by any measurement.

Nobody? Okay, let’s move on…

 

Tuesday Evening (June 30)

See you in your dreams, Cory…

Election results are coming in, and they are disastrous for Republicans. Hickenlooper defeats Andrew Romanoff by 20 points in the Democratic Primary — despite weeks of expensive negative attacks against Hick. As we wrote earlier:

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

This is a big blow for Team Gardner, even if a Hickenlooper victory was anticipated. But Gardner takes a second body blow when he learns that incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) will lose in a GOP Primary to a political newcomer who raised little money for her campaign. Just like Gardner, Tipton had the full endorsement of President Trump; it didn’t even help in a Republican Primary. Gardner can also look forward to being asked about whether he agrees with Lauren Boebert in hoping that the QAnon conspiracy theories are real.

Later, Gardner is quoted several times in a story written by Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman in which he seems to confuse Hickenlooper and Romanoff entirely:

Gardner said he also plans to press Hickenlooper to explain “his new, radical positions” on health care and the environment, though Gardner cited positions championed by Romanoff but rejected by Hickenlooper [Pols emphasis], such as Medicare for all and the Green New Deal. Indeed, much of Romanoff’s campaign against Hickenlooper centered around his primary rival’s opposition to those proposals.

They’re all socialists! The whole lot of them! Arrrgghhhhh!!!

Gardner then opens up a can of worms — inaccurately — on an issue that he really shouldn’t be discussing:

“He needs to explain why 20% of the state tried to secede when he was governor,” Gardner said, referring to a failed 2013 effort by some conservatives in 11 northeastern Colorado counties — representing 7% of Colorado’s population — to form the 51st state.

When he says “20% of the state,” Gardner is referring to 20% of the land in Colorado. Less than 2% of Colorado’s population actually ended up supporting succession in 2013. Notably, Gardner HAS NEVER SAID how he voted on this issue, which is why we wouldn’t have broached the topic if we were him. One year before he was elected to the U.S. Senate, did Gardner vote in favor of secession?

 

Wednesday Morning, July 1

Gardner starts his day as a guest of Ryan Warner on Colorado Public Radio. It is an unmitigated disaster.

Gardner also dodges questions about reports that Russia set cash bounties on the heads of American soldiers; about whether he questions his continued support of President Trump; and whether he supports the nomination of William Perry Pendley to be the Director of the Bureau of Land Management, which moved its HQ to Grand Junction last year with a big lift from Gardner.

Warner previewed his Gardner interview on Tuesday, writing on Twitter: “On Wednesday— when we will most likely know who his Democratic opponent is — Sen. Cory Gardner joins Colorado Matters for our first interview of the general election. What would you like to know?”

If you are one of the people who happened to submit a question, we’ll save you the trouble of looking for the clip online; Gardner definitely didn’t provide an answer.

Sen. Cory Gardner

 

Late Morning on Wednesday, July 1

Finally, a new poll from PPP is released showing Hickenlooper leading Gardner by a 51-40 margin, including a 19-point advantage among “independent” voters. The same poll shows Democrat Joe Biden leading President Trump by a 56-39 margin, with a 25-point advantage among “independents.”

Let’s go back to this line in Tuesday’s memo from the Gardner campaign:

Independents decide elections in Colorado – they always have and always will.

D’oh!

 

 

—–

 

Cory Gardner is not going to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate in November, and he knows this. It’s all over but the shouting…and these are the last desperate cries of a man watching the door close on a once-promising political career.

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25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Props, Alva.  Great recap. 

    Gardner said he also plans to press Hickenlooper to explain “his new, radical positions” on health care and the environment

    Yes, ConMan, please share with us your plan for health care? Radical positions on the environment? Have you looked in a mirror lately? There is nothing more radical than one who sits idly by while Rome burns.  Kochaine is a helluva drug. 

  2. Genghis says:

    Tip for the Gardner campaign: keep Cory Gardner the everluvin' hell out of the Reelect Cory Gardner teevee ads. Saw one the other day featuring footage of multiple Hick quotes about how the Senate doesn't appeal to him and he'd be bad at it. That footage could be effective for the Gardner campaign if used properly, but Great Googly Moogly, did they ever fuck up that commercial!

    Gardner's sitting down watching these Hick clips running on a television that, for reasons passing all understanding, is perched on some kind of postmodernist couch chair combo thing. Every now and then the camera cuts to a close-up of Gardner, grinning like an idiot and shaking his head. Gardner's on-camera presence is straight up awful. He's doughy, lily-white, utterly insincere, effete, and–I hadn't noticed this about Gardner before–more than a skosh effeminate. Dudebro doesn't belong within a hundred miles of a camera.

    The dark money groups will surely do a better job bashing Hick than the Gardner campaign did here, but it may be too late. The campaign played what could have been one of its better cards too early and laughably ineffectively.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @Genghis: I've seen that Cory ad a couple times. I wasn't impressed. People change their minds. Hick wasn't interested in being a senator when he was actively campaigning for president.

      Given how well he has done with a variety of jobs in both the private and public sectors, I believe Hick will make a fine senator.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Sitting in grammy’s basement watching tv, and lulz (. . .not to mention the Kleenex box and all the tissues lying around) . . .

      . . . exactly what the Moderatus wing will find relatable.

      • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

        Is that a visual appeal to show Cory as a psychologist and the TV showing Hick as the patient?  Cory trying to be Hannity? 

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Probably what they were aiming for, but misses badly in using touchy-feely psychoanalysis as an appeal to vote Republican?

           The result is definitely touchy-feely Republican alright, . . .

          . . . as in Moderatus in Grammy’s basement with all his friends.  Occam’s razor Kleenex box . . .

  3. VoyageurVoyageur says:

     

     

     

     

    Don't break out the champagne just yet.

    We still have to tiptoe through the land mines to November.

  4. kickshot says:

    "once-promising political career."

    When was Gardner's political career ever promising?

    What went so horribly wrong?

    Admittedly, I am missing some history.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      When you march undefeated from state House to state Senate to U.S. House to U.S. Senate, I kind of call that promising.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      I keep thinking that Cory was quite promising … no matter who he was talking to, he kept promising things. 

      In 2014, the Denver Post Editorial Board bought the promise of an independent who would give access to the Republicans while remaining true to Colorado.  Several people I know thought Cory was promising to be a moderate on climate change/ecology issues. One teacher thought he would be able to better balance federal requirements for education and federal financial support for K-12 schools.

      I'm sure I'm overlooking several areas where Cory appeared to be "promising" something.

  5. MADCO says:

    Hick should find a quiet place and a script.
    Come out once a week or so- deliver the script (s) – go back.

    No crazy. Just shut up and deliver the script.
    He can nice things about his opponent – public service, family roots, whatever.

    If need be he can juice the flux capacitor turbo drive in mid-September. Ballots in a little over 14 weeks.

    Ps – Lincoln Project f’n rocks

  6. Gilpin Guy says:

    Gardner has got to be reviewing his resume about now and going over the positives for a career as a lobbyist.  All their mud won't stick.  Hick might be a plastic person but politically he is all teflon.  Gardner has more to worry about than making mean ads.  He is going to have to come up with an explanation why he voted for Barr, Kavanaugh and acquittal.  That's a lot of lying to do in 14 weeks.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      "That's a lot of lying to do"….true, but childs' play for Cory. He is up to the task.

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      I have a hard time seeing Cory as lobbyist — most of them have to talk to BOTH sides of the aisle. 

      I keep seeing the haircut, smile and shined shoes being appropriate to be head of a SuperPAC or a Asia-America think tank.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Well…I can see your point. There is a certain amount of nerve lobbyists need. I have known a few lobbyists ( full disclosure: I was registered at the CO statehouse for a term…a while back.) and dishonesty isn't really the stock in trade of lobbyists. Corys' predisposition to prevarication would help him in select jobs, but I guess he would suck at lobbying for an environmental non-profit.

        When you are only motivated by money, there has to be plenty of it involved. Not the case at your garden variety non-profit. 

  7. harrydobyharrydoby says:

    Con Man Cory has fired up a Still out back brewing up a fresh batch of Snake Oil.  Now he’s taking to using Trump-style ludicrous claims to attack Hick:

    Hickenlooper laughed loudly Tuesday night when asked about Gardner’s claim that he is the most corrupt governor in the history of Colorado.

    http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODN/DenverPost/shared/ShowArticle.aspx?doc=TDP/2020/07/04&entity=Ar00103&sk=5CB52916&mode=text

    If that’s the best the Con Man can do, you know he knows he’s toast, and is just trying to lay the foundation for his next gig.

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