We’ll preface this opinion with all of the necessary clichés: It’s not over until the fat lady sings. The future isn’t carved in stone. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
These are all wise sayings, but Election Day is less than 40 days away. Mail ballots in Colorado start going out in two weeks. And as we enter the final stretch of the 2020 election cycle, a consensus opinion seems to be forming about Colorado’s U.S. Senate race.
As Ella Nilsen writes for Vox.com, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is toast, thanks in part to his close association with President Trump. We’d recommend reading the entire article for the full effect, but take a look at some of the opinions provided in the Vox.com story; not one of them is from someone who thinks Gardner is going to beat Democrat John Hickenlooper in November:
Jessica Taylor, Cook Political Report Senate Editor
“Gardner is one of the best incumbents [Republicans] have running; it’s just that he’s running in one of the toughest states for them,” said Cook Political Report Senate editor Jessica Taylor, who recently moved Cook’s Colorado Senate race rating from a toss-up to Lean Democratic.
Dick Wadhams, Republican Strategist and former State GOP Chair:
“I think there will be a slice of the electorate who will vote for Joe Biden over Donald Trump but will vote for Cory Gardner as well if they can be convinced he’s been an effective senator for Colorado,” said Dick Wadhams, a Colorado Republican strategist and former chair of the state GOP. “That’s Cory’s only path for victory.”
“If Trump moves toward losing the state by 10 points, it makes it virtually impossible for Cory to win.”
Dave Flaherty, Republican Pollster (Magellan Strategies)
“He’s twisting himself in knots,” Colorado Republican pollster Dave Flaherty told Vox. “Justice Ginsburg’s death is an example. l think that is going to be hard to get away from; that is going to hurt him.”
“The fact Gardner has to spend hard-earned dollars to do the negative on his own is an interesting observation [of] where outside money is in a very long list of Republicans that need to be defended by Mitch [McConnell].”
Josh Freed of the center-left think tank Third Way
“Cory Gardner, unfortunately he is the example of a Republican Party that has fallen in lockstep behind a maniac,” said Josh Freed, the founder of the Climate and Energy Program at the center-left think tank Third Way. “Gardner is saying to Coloradans, ‘Don’t pay attention to my entire record; pay attention to this one thing.’ Gardner is the neighbor whose willful negligence caused your house to burn down, and he knocks on the door to apologize by bringing you a potted plant.”
Former Colorado House Majority Leader Alice Madden
“I know Cory and I served with him,” said former Colorado House Majority Leader Alice Madden, a Democrat. “He has been the king of trying to make everybody happy without doing a lot.”
Jonathan Houck, Gunnison County Commissioner
“I’ve often had a more difficult time nailing down where his position actually is,” said Jonathan Houck, a commissioner in Colorado’s Gunnison County. “He doesn’t seem to engage at a level that’s easy to discern off the bat, it takes some digging to get there.”
“I’m also supporting [Hickenlooper] because he’s done the work here,” Houck said. “The western and eastern parts of the state are sparsely populated. When John Hickenlooper was governor, he was governor of the whole state and he didn’t forget about rural folks out here.”
As you can see, there is not a lot of confusion on this topic.
Gardner has no real message in 2020, other than trying to convince voters that he’s a better version of Hickenlooper. His ridiculous flip-flop on confirming a new Supreme Court Justice is the latest in a long line of baffling failures that are out of step with the Colorado electorate. Fact checkers regularly demolish his carefully-hewn talking points, and his own television ads are idiotic. His refusal to discuss anything, with reporters or constituents, has become a running joke.
It ain’t over ’til it’s over, but the consensus opinion is that it’s right around the corner.