Yesterday, the Grand Junction Sentinel’s editorial board published their research into Colorado’s two U.S. Senate candidates. The newspaper didn’t endorse a candidate in keeping with their policy this year, but nonetheless made clear they were most displeased by the choice of incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner to decline to meet with them.
That’s right, folks–the same Cory Gardner who regularly lambastes his opponent John Hickenlooper for “only caring about the Front Range” apparently couldn’t make time to talk with the Western Slope’s newspaper of record:
We can’t say we were surprised that Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner declined to meet with the Sentinel’s editorial board because it’s part of a pattern…
It makes sense, perhaps, that Gardner was reluctant to meet with The Denver Post, which famously took back its endorsement of his 2014 bid for the Senate. But the Western Slope is GOP-friendly territory and we were willing to reserve judgment on Gardner’s first term in the Senate until we had given him a chance to defend his positions.
…Gardner’s unwillingness to answer tough questions leaves us empty and disturbed. If he manages to retain his Senate seat having studiously avoided newspapers and townhall meetings across the Western Slope, what incentive does he have to answer directly to the people ever again? [Pols emphasis]
In contrast, Hickenlooper met at length with the Sentinel’s editorial board, and reportedly impressed them with his willingness to engage on any question including the less comfortable ones. Readers will recall that back in August when Hickenlooper announced he wouldn’t be attending the Club 20 annual conference debates, Gardner’s campaign howled ad nauseum how it proved Hickenlooper “does not care about the Western Slope.”
“John Hickenlooper does not care about the Western Slope, and his refusal to debate outside the I-25 corridor proves it,” Gardner’s spokesman, Jerrod Dobkin, said Monday morning. “Both Democrat and Republican leaders across western Colorado today are pleading with Hickenlooper to stop ignoring them, but Hickenlooper couldn’t care less.
“Colorado deserves a Senator like Cory Gardner who represents the entire state, not someone like Hickenlooper whose party bosses in D.C. call all the shots.”
Just yesterday in the Summit Daily News, Gardner said this in an op-ed:
I’ve worked hard for Colorado during the past six years, and I’m dedicated to building on the successes of my first term in office. During my time in the U.S. Senate, I’ve worked tirelessly for all four corners of Colorado, regardless of ZIP code, delivering real results for Coloradans from Sedgwick to Durango…
But not, apparently, for Grand Junction–or at least nothing worth bragging about to the Grand Junction Sentinel. Although it’s reasonable to expect that Gardner will carry Mesa County in the elections, this was an excellent opportunity for Gardner to burnish his “all four corners of Colorado” credentials, and an unforced error to refuse. After vilifying his opponent for not making himself available to the hinterland, Gardner just gave Hickenlooper the perfect retort.
Cory Gardner, once again, doesn’t practice what he preaches.