FOX 31 reports:
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is slated to hold two town hall meetings in Colorado this week, one Monday afternoon and the second on Tuesday.
According to Bennet’s office, the first town hall will be held in Greeley and is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and last about an hour. Doors open to the public at 5:00 p.m…
Bennet’s town hall on Tuesday will be held at Northeastern Junior College, Hays Student Center, Tennant Art Gallery in Sterling.
That meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. and also last an hour. Doors open to the public at 4:30 p.m.
Sen. Michael Bennet wasted no time setting up the first of a number of town hall meetings running throughout the August congressional recess. And he’s not alone: we expect to see the whole delegation out engaging with constituents this month, with even former town hall holdouts like Rep. Mike Coffman having discovered that taking your lumps in front of a hostile crowd is better for you than hiding from your constituents or relying on stilted meeting formats designed to impede public access.
The one exception to this rule is Sen. Cory Gardner, who has done tremendous damage to his public image by steadfastly refusing to hold public events even after that refusal became an extreme liability. Last Friday during Gardner’s pummeling by a last-minute crowd in Durango, he made vague promises to hold a town hall at some point in the future–but it’s an honest question how much it would even help him now. During the debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act that dominated the first seven months of the year, Gardner became a poster child for inaccessibility to constituents. From being chased around the state by protesters to Gardner’s ill-advised visit with Filipino strongman Rodrigo Duterte while constituents waited, it’s hard to imagine how Gardner could have done more to alienate Coloradans who wanted to talk to him. And at this point, with Gardner’s approval rating parked below 30%, the damage may be done.
One problem we could see plainly in Gardner’s responses to questions during Friday’s impromptu event was a surprising lack of preparation. When drilled repeatedly to explain why he voted for health care legislation that broke his former promises to protect Medicaid and jacked up premiums, Gardner reverted to bizarre repetitions of his prior promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act–and that only made the crowd more upset. It’s true that Gardner didn’t have a lot of time to study up for this event, and the time for questions expanded only after public outcry. But if what we saw Friday is Gardner’s best performance under fire, it’s a lot easier to understand why he’s so averse to holding public events.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Maybe Sen. Gardner just isn’t as good at this as everyone thought.