Republican CD-7 congressional candidate Erik Aadland’s campaign, despite running in a race made somewhat more competitive by redistricting, entered what could be a terminal nosedive beginning in late August, when archived video of Aadland calling the 2020 elections “absolutely rigged” was conspicuously deleted from the Jefferson County GOP Men’s Club website. A couple of weeks later, 538.com reported on Aadland telling Republicans in the district more recently that “we have an illegitimate government in power,” but he can’t “talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.” Aadland has been endorsed by a variety of toxic far-right personalities like QAnon theorist Paul Vallely and local anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo–which is on the message Aadland has clearly chosen, but doesn’t help Aadland appear reasonable in a district that still favors Democrats (and therefore reality) based on previous results by several points.
So as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reports, Aadland is bringing in…a different kind of backup:
Republican congressional candidate Erik Aadland won a formal endorsement on Monday from former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who called the Army veteran “exactly who we need to bridge the divides and fight for our values.”
A former project manager for an oil and gas company and first-time candidate from Pine, Aadland is running against state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat, in the open, Democratic-leaning 7th Congressional District, which covers Broomfield, most of Jefferson County and mountain counties stretching south past Cañon City…
Aadland said in a release that he will “strive to emulate” Gardner’s example, adding that he was “honored” and “humbled” to have his support. [Pols emphasis]
As readers know, the most recent “example” set by Cory Gardner was losing in 2020 to Sen. John Hickenlooper by just over 9 percent, 53.5-44.2%–by about 10 percent within the boundaries of the new CD-7. That’s a bit wider margin than the newly redrawn CD-7’s D+4 estimate from Cook Political. Aadland will therefore need to work a little harder to “emulate Gardner’s example”–but if there’s any Colorado Republican up to the challenge in 2022 of losing by a few more points than expected, it’s Erik Aadland.
Although we can perhaps see the value of Gardner’s endorsement during the primary phase of Aadland’s campaign, in the general election the blessing of a Senator who just went down in flames two years ago isn’t a blessing at all. It’s a curse, and even though Gardner may be slightly to the left of Tom Tancredo policywise, Gardner brings no voters to Aadland who wouldn’t vote the straight Republican ticket anyway. For swing voters able to remember the last election, which we hope is a fair number, Gardner is perhaps the worst possible surrogate for 2022 candidates who want to win.
But just like with Joe O’Dea, Gardner’s playbook seems to be all Colorado Republicans have left.