BREAKING: Cory Gardner To Seek GOP Senate Nomination

UPDATE #4: Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio:

"Given Republicans' back room wheeling and dealing, Coloradans will see that Cory Gardner is simply a Ken Buck-radical who is neck deep in Washington sleaze. Gardner is just another reckless House Republican when it comes to dismantling Social Security and Medicare, banning abortion and many types of birth control, and irresponsibly putting our economy at risk to advance his political agenda." Palacio said.


UPDATE #3: 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman:

[Owen] Hill was sharply critical of the announcement that Garner and Buck are swapping races.

"Two weeks ago, Cory tried to push me out of the race," Hill said.

When asked if he worried about upsetting the GOP by not deferring to a sitting member of Congress, Hill replied, "What people should be angry about is that we keep doing back-room, insider deals like this one."

…State Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray), tells 9NEWS he will not be jumping into the race for Gardner's House district.

"I'm not running because I want an office," Brophy said. "I'm running for Governor."


UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols has reaction from Senate candidate Owen Hill:


UPDATE: Report of a deal involving erstwhile Senate candidates Ken Buck and Amy Stephens, Weekly Standard:

Sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that a tentative agreement has been reached among Gardner, a two-term House member, and two of the current Republican Senate candidates. Ken Buck, a district attorney who lost the Senate race in 2010, will instead run for the House seat currently held by Gardner. Another candidate, Republican state senator Amy Stephens, will also drop her bid.

We would imagine that the falling dominoes here will also have Sen. Greg Brophy looking hard at dropping from the Governor's race and running in CD-4.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Big news breaking from Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee of the Denver Post:

Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is planning to drop his re-election bid and run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Udall, the Denver Post has learned.

Gardner is expected to make an announcement in a few days, according to two Republicans who spoke on background.

Gardner is considered a rising star nationally in the Republican Party, and his likely accession into top leadership positions in the GOP-controlled House is one reason he earlier turned down efforts to convince him to jump into the race.

Truly a major development if it happens–Rep. Cory Gardner's previous rumored interest in this race was tempered by the realization that unseating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is a daunting prospect. Some recent polling has shown Udall's popularity taking a hit during the troubled rollout of the federal health care exchange, but Udall remains in front of his pack of Republican opponents. Whether Gardner is starting to believe the GOP's own messaging on Udall, or has simply grown bored with his safe House seat, remains to be seen, but this is a risk that we didn't expect him to take at this point in his career. Everything Gardner has done publicly in recent years has appeared to be aimed at endearing himself to Tea Party Republicans, which is great for inoculating yourself against a potential primary opponent but a horrible idea if you want to persuade general election voters.

We'll update with further analysis and, when available, confirmation. Once confirmed, this will set in motion other events, both in the GOP Senate primary as well as in Gardner's CD-4.

52 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. nancycronk says:

    Oh snap! He could have been the first Senator from the 51st state, "Northern Colorado"!

  2. OrangeFree says:

    Gardner will easily take the primary. His only knock is his congressional voting record which Republicans are all to happy. Plus, he's the most moderate of Colorado's Republican delegation.

    This has implications on the Governor's race as well. Brophy can drop out of that race and run for a seat in the House instead. Buck may also see the House as a more reachable position than Senate now. The primary election is the general election for all intents and purposes, so there will be no issue with the "I'm more conservative" drum beat.  

  3. Urban Snowshoer says:

    This seems a bit late in the game to be changing races but I guess anything is possible.   I'm also wondering whether this affects control of his old seat.

  4. BlueCat says:

    Ken Buck, a district attorney who lost the Senate race in 2010, will instead run for the House seat currently held by Gardner. Another candidate, Republican state senator Amy Stephens, will also drop her bid. – See more at:

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    Cory is the best candidate the GOP has for the Senate seat. Udall will probably win but he's going to have to work harder now. On the good news side, we'll see Udall doing some townhalls now, maybe even some with unscripted questions.

  6. nancycronk says:

    “Musical chairs” in the CO GOP. Wonder who will fall on their bumm.

  7. davebarnes says:

    And, now you understand why I became a registered Republican. Let the clown car races begin.

  8. nancycronk says:

    Another candidate, Republican state senator Amy Stephens, will also drop her bid. – See more at:

    I knew they would throw the woman under the (clown) bus…. I mean car…


  9. dwyer says:

    I wonder if Buck's health is at all an issue.  Two years might be easier to do than six.  I don't know.  Just wondering.

  10. dwyer says:

    Next question:  what will happen with the governor's race.  Does anyone think that a similiar deal might be in the works?  And, if so, who?

  11. DawnPatrol says:

    Ah, this goes a long way in explaining why Gardner (not to mention his loathsome gasbag minions trolling on CoPols) has been so feversihly spinning and lying about "UdallCare" lately…

  12. IndyNinja says:

    At some level, you have to admire the strategy on Gardner's part. Announcing the day afrter the "debate" means he didn't have to answer personhood questions or any number of other things that would have hurt him in the general. But it looks less sleezy than Gessler/Tancredo. 

    Obviously he didn't expect Hill to stick around. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. If I remember right, GOP caucus goers don't take kindly to the establishment types stacking the deck. 

    I think Hill has a strong chance of coming out of the state assembly as the top line. But will never be able to raise the money to compete in the July primary. 

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I think Owen Hill will be lucky to get the 30%. Gardner is a very good campaigner and has a lot more experience than Hill. Hill will be a nuisance because he'll lash out at Gardner as his numbers sink. But he's not competitive.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      I think Hill becomes toast at the assembly and it will be a coronation ceremony.

      The Republicans are united in wanting to take out Udall.  If you want evidence, watch last night's debate.

    • DawnPatrol says:

      Excellent points all, but having dodged the bullet in last night's debate, there will be many, many more such deadly political projectiles headed Gardner's way from which he WON'T be able to hide. Unlike Beauprez, Cory can't have it both ways. We need to get him on the record — NOW!

    • OrangeFree says:

      The line Hill is spinning seems off. If this had been in the works for a couple weeks, why didn't he make it known? Why wasn't he out there going "Look! Cory's trying to get in! The establishment's working a backroom deal to get the real conservative out of the race! Buck and Stephens are in on it! they're just staging Potemkin campaigns!"

      Probably wouldn't use potemkin, too much of a liberal college professor word for his base…


    • Progressicat says:

      Even more than avoiding the litmus test, I think it gives Gardner the chance to be the "normal" one.  Last night we got to see what passes for sanity in the COGOP, now along comes Sir Cory to rescue the right from itself.

      I don't know why he thought Hill would be play the good soldier.  I wouldn't have expected him to bow out, so why ask and make it a story?  While I'd love Hill to win and guarantee a Udall victory, I think Gardner could have managed the race with a wink and a nod, while avoiding saying all the crazy crap that the state senator from TEA will be spouting.

    • ElliotFladen says:

      My guess is Hill's support quickly evaporates. 

  13. ct says:

    Can't stay away for this!  Owen is feeling backdoored.  Amy has gone to radio silence.  The Twitterverse is twittering that BW Bob will be jumping in the Governor's race… 

    I hope the D's think about who can take out Buck, who seems vulnerable to me (less so for sure in CD4 but still more so thatn the incumbent).  There's gonna be some quick shill shuffeling and troll tumbling going on too.  


    • Progressicat says:

      I can't help but find it funny that Hill might feel "backdoored" due to the fact that an actual candidate joined the race.  With the possible exception of Buck, the others were running to see who could lose to Udall least worst.

    • BlueCat says:

      In any case taking an open seat, even an easy one, costs more than a comfortable incumbency. It's always good to force the other side to spend some more money anywhere, doesn't matter, money available being a zero sum thing.

  14. This is an interesting change-up. FWIW, I don't see Gardner as being any better than Buck against Udall.

    His on-the-record and off-the-wall comments about the ACA, his past record on women's issues, his support for government shutdowns (in general, his Congressional voting record) – these are not things that propel him above Ken Buck in ability to win the general election.

    It does help elect Ken Buck to a Federal office, if he switches to the House race. If Gardner can win CO-04, so can Buck – though with luck Democratic pressure can be brought to bear on an open seat.

  15. DurangoDem says:

    Could Betsy Markey run here? Any chance this effects a ton of statewide races in that way?

  16. Harley says:


    The clown car has lost three wheels/tires, the oil pan has a leak, and the radiator is steaming!!!!

  17. IndyNinja says:

    The AP says:

    Gardner would enter the race with $876,000 in his House campaign account that he can immediately use in the Senate contest — more money than the other three major Republican candidates had combined.

  18. nancycronk says:

    The only thing crazier than this is if Tancredo ran for Governor. 

    … oh wait.. he is.

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