The final U.S. Senate debate of the 2020 election cycle — in Colorado, at least — took place on Tuesday night in Ft. Collins. The big headline of the night was Sen. Cory Gardner’s inexplicable decision to answer “YES” to the question, “Do you think President Trump is a moral and ethical man,” but Gardner also missed another opportunity on an issue that would have helped him pretend to be a bipartisan lawmaker.
Gardner frequently touts a nonsense bipartisan rating from “The Lugar Center” that has been repeatedly fact-checked as ridiculous. Gardner mentioned his Lugar Center rating again on Tuesday, but he later made it clear that he opposes Amendment B, the 2020 ballot measure that seeks to rid Colorado of the no-longer-helpful Gallagher Amendment.
Gardner’s opposition to Amendment B is interesting, because this is one of the few bipartisan safe spaces left in the 2020 cycle. Democratic heavyweights such as Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper both support repealing the Gallagher Amendment, but so do prominent Republicans such as former Sen. Hank Brown, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, former State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, and virtually every state Republican lawmaker on the Western Slope.
Because the Gallagher Amendment puts a significant strain on small businesses and local government services, including schools, fire stations, and all of our first responders and frontline health workers in Colorado, Amendment B has a broad section of support among business groups and labor unions alike. Amendment B is also particularly important for rural areas, which Gardner talks about frequently, as well as Colorado agriculture; unless Amendment B passes, farmers and ranchers stand to pay a tax rate that is five times more than what homeowners currently pay in Colorado.
If nothing else, Gardner’s public opposition to Amendment B may help clarify the issue for voters still pondering which oval to darken on their ballot.