We took note last week of an interview of Sen. Cory Gardner by CBS4’s Shaun Boyd, in which Gardner cited the failed 2013 secession movement by 11 rural Colorado counties as evidence of a “silent majority” that would rise up to help him beat John Hickenlooper in the November elections. It’s a head-scratching claim to say the least, since we broke down the actual votes in 2013 in favor of secession, and not only did secession go down by a majority of individual votes, but a majority of the counties that participated including the most populous, Weld County, voted no.
And as the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports in today’s edition of The Spot newsletter, this interview wasn’t the only time Gardner has mentioned the secession movement as some kind of ace in the electoral hole:
Gardner, who lives and votes in one of the 11 counties that considered seceding in 2013, has invoked that quixotic attempt at creating a new state on several occasions this year – and blamed Hickenlooper for the fact that it happened.
“Remember what happened in rural Colorado,” Gardner said during a virtual event in late May. “You had a whole bunch of counties that tried to secede under his leadership and what he did.”
On June 30, the night Hickenlooper won the Democratic primary, Gardner told Colorado Politics, “He needs to explain why 20% of the state tried to secede when he was governor.”
In response to all these mentions, the Post tried to get an answer to a germane question: how did Gardner of Yuma County vote on secession?
Gardner’s Yuma County voted to secede but Gardner has never said how he voted. He was a congressman at the time and claimed that it would be inappropriate to comment on state issues. When asked this week whether Gardner voted to secede, his campaign did not respond. [Pols emphasis]
It seems that secession is strictly a red meat for the base affair–and when reporters ask follow-up questions about Gardner’s resurgence of support for one of the greatest jokes of the 2010s in Colorado politics, he can’t be reached for comment. After Gardner’s CBS4 interview, we wondered if secession had become a regular part of his stump speech as opposed to a one-off throwaway line. And sure enough, it’s in his script.
We hope every interview with Gardner “goes deep” on secession now. There’s so much to unpack.