These Conservative Radio Hosts Don’t Want Cory Gardner on Their Show

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As the months continue to stack up since he’s held a town-hall meeting, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner continued to make time for interviews with conservative radio hosts this week, speaking at length with KNUS’ Steffan Tubbs and KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky.

But he again didn’t talk with the conservative radio hosts who criticize him the most, namely KNUS’ Chuck Bonniwell, Peter Boyles, Julie Hayden, and Randy Corporon.

In an unusual move, Tubbs actually played an audio clip from his KNUS colleague Corporon, in which Corporon asked why Gardner goes on the “radio with [Tubbs] and Caplis and Ross Kaminsky, and stays away from me or Peter or Chuck and Julie or anybody else who might disagree with some of the things that he does.”

“Look, I know Randy,” replied Gardner, saying he hoped to work something out with Corporon. “I don’t know the other folks that you’re talking about.”

And it looks like Gardner won’t be getting to know Hayden or Bonniwell anytime soon.

“In fairness, we have not asked him to be on our show,” said Hayden, who is a prominent conservative and former Fox 31 Denver TV reporter. 

Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle, once called Gardner a “total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” and a “Mitch McConnell stooge.

Asked if they planned to invite Gardner on the show, Hayden said, “It’s kind of like the jailhouse interview you do with someone you know is guilty, just so you can say you had the interview. What purpose does it serve?

“We know we disagree. We’ll ask him a question. He’ll give us an answer. We won’t like the answer. He’ll give us another answer. Do you know what I mean? It doesn’t go anywhere.”

Boyles, who’s been in Denver media for decades, did not return an email seeking to find out if he wants to talk to Gardner, but it’s clear Boyles doesn’t think much of Gardner, saying recently on air:

BOYLES: “Don’t kid yourself about the GOP in the State of Colorado. It’s a clown show. And Cory Gardner’s not gonna get reelected, because it’s on him.”

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Colorado GOP Vice Chair: Cory Gardner Votes With Trump Almost All Of The Time

(The message to the faithful – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown told pro-Trump conservatives last month that President Trump really likes Senator Cory Gardner and “if he likes him, we should like him.”

Speaking to a small group of activists at a house party in Boulder, an audience member asked Brown if she could reach out to Gardner and suggest that he ask the president to hold a rally while in Colorado for the Air Force graduation. Brown reassured them that the two are already in close contact and that Trump really likes Gardner:

They talk on a regular basis. Senator Gardner and President Trump are in regular contact. [Gardner] has told [Trump] how important it would be for him to come to Colorado. I think he will probably continue to do that. Ken is also in regular contact with the Trump campaign. That’s our goal at the state party- is to win for President Trump and every Republican down the ballot. President Trump needs Senator Gardner and interestingly enough when you look around the state, not all Republicans are sold on both of them. You have Republicans who really like Trump, and Republicans who really like Gardner and there’s some space between them. But what we need to communicate -this is the truth- Senator Gardner is one of the key votes that gets the judges on the court we care about. He votes with President Trump almost all the time. We need them both to get this done. If we want the real Republican agenda to get accomplished at the federal level, we don’t have a lot of room to spare in the Senate. We need Cory there who talks to the President regularly. The President really likes him and if he likes him, we should like him. That’s a good point in [Cory’s] favor- that the President talks to him quite a bit and really likes him.

Gardner has tried to distance himself from President Trump on a number of issues including tariffs and most recently, the legality of foreign interference in American elections.

Vice Chair Brown emphasized the most important reason pro-Trump Republicans who are skeptical of Gardner should give him a pass: Gardner’s votes for Trump’s agenda, especially his nominees to the Supreme Court. According to political data website FiveThirtyEight, Gardner votes with President Trump approximately 90% of the time.

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Supergirl Asks, “Who Is Cory Gardner?”



An excellent new video from NowThis News takes an in-depth and most unflattering look at the political career of Colorado’s Sen. Cory Gardner–tracing back to his roots as a Democrat in college to one of the state’s most stridently anti-abortion legislators, then his election to the U.S. Senate and subsequent role as principal Donald Trump apologist and arrester of wheelchair-bound health care protesters.

It’s a well produced and damning take on Gardner’s life and time in office, even more interesting to locals since the narrator is Arapahoe High School grad Melissa Benoist–better known as the star of the CW series Supergirl. We weren’t aware that Benoist even followed politics in her home state of Colorado, but with this you can consider her, as they say, thrown down.

Give this a watch and share.

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Gardner’s Re-Elect Pitch: “Ask Senator Udall”



President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

We did a spit-take a few moments ago after watching the above clip from an interview by FOX 31’s Joe St. George of Sen. Cory Gardner today, asking about Gardner’s field of Democratic opponents and the growing unease among Republicans about Gardner’s re-election prospects. Here’s a transcript:

ST. GEORGE: Nine Democrats want to run against you. Are you paying attention to any of them right now or you worried about any of them?

GARDNER: Well I think you’re undercounting! I think there’s more than that. Uh, look we’re going to continue to do what’s right for the people of Colorado, what’s right for this country. And I look forward to taking the things that we have accomplished for the people of Colorado back home and sharing that message. Look, at we’ve cut taxes allowing more and more people to keep their hard-earned money in their own pockets. We’ve helped create reforms that that the VA that’s allowed veterans to receive better care. We’ve brought dollars back to Western Colorado at where they rightfully belong. We’re working hard to move Space Command and BLM headquarters to Colorado. This is about the four corners of our state. This is about opportunity. This is about making sure that the Eastern Plains in the Western Slope and the Front Range benefit. I don’t think socialism gets us there. In fact, I know socialism does not get us there.

ST. GEORGE: A lot of people I’ve talked to are already writing you off. They say no way Cory Gardner can win Colorado in 2020. Why are they wrong?

GARDNER: Well, you could ask Senator Udall that question. [Pols emphasis]

As a pitch for re-election to a U.S. Senate seat, this is fairly stunning for its ineptitude. Gardner’s list of accomplishments pretty much begins and ends with the Trump tax cut bill of 2017, which Americans strongly disapprove of in every opinion poll after failing to realize the promised benefits in their paychecks and tax returns. President Donald Trump did sign legislation reforming VA health care delivery–but critics have denounced the plan as back-door privatization. Either way, after nearly a full six-year term in the United States Senate, these are absolutely piffling “accomplishments,” closer to what the ineffectual safe-seat Rep. Doug Lamborn lists in his franked mailers than a top-tier Senate re-election campaign.

But all of that takes a back seat to Gardner’s testy response to St. George’s question about those who have already written Gardner off as a political dead man walking. It’s a rare moment for the always-scripted Sen. Gardner to slip like this and invoke a backward-looking message–similar to Donald Trump talking about Hillary Clinton three years later. Gardner will not win by re-fighting the last election.

And here’s why: Gardner won his Senate seat in 2014 by a narrow margin of fewer than two percent, after a campaign in which Gardner relied on rank deception about his record as well as a national Republican wave to win against the prevailing local electoral trends. To suggest that Gardner’s narrow win over Mark Udall in 2014 is any indicator of what he faces today in a state that has grown only more hostile to the Republican brand is nothing short of delusional. The improbable circumstances that allowed Gardner to eke out a win in 2014 no longer exist. The polite society he fooled will not be fooled again.

And despite his (fading) reputation as a political mastermind, Gardner is even weaker than he looks on paper.

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Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is Coming to Colorado!


Come see Sen. Cory Gardner on Friday, June 14, at 8:00 am at the Country Steak Out in Fort Morgan.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will be making a rare public appearance in Colorado this week. We wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this announcement from Monday in the Ft. Morgan Times:

The Morgan County Republican Central Committee will be hosting U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner for a Legislative Update at 8 a.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Country Steak Out, 19592 E. 8th Avenue in Fort Morgan.

Join the Republicans for this informative update from Sen. Gardner. The public is invited to attend.

For more information contact any member of the Morgan County Central Committee: Chairman, Vivianne Lorenzini, 970-645-2485; Vice-chairman, Candie Loomis, 970-768-5070; Secretary, Jamie Hochanadel, 970-380-7060; or Treasurer, Dan Marler, 970-380-9621.

Colorado’s first-term Senator doesn’t make many public appearances in the state he was elected to represent, even though (or perhaps because) he is up for re-election in 2020. Normally your only chance at catching a glimpse of Gardner is to stumble upon some unannounced “event” — usually on a Friday — like when Gardner slipped into a meeting of the University of Colorado College Republican club in February. Statistically, you may be more likely to run across Gardner in Southeast Asia, which is where he turned up during the long Memorial Day recess last month.

It’s not just local reporters who get ignored by Gardner, who conducts “town hall” events about as often as you get your driver’s license renewed. But on Friday morning, Gardner will make the one-hour drive from his home in Yuma to the Country Steak Out at 19592 E. 8th Avenue in Fort Morgan. Here’s how to get there:

Here’s where all of your questions will be answered.

Don’t be late, because any “legislative update” about the U.S. Senate isn’t likely to last very long.

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Gardner Is a Regular on Conservative Talk Shows But Is Dodging the Public and Journalists

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is a regular on Colorado conservative talk radio shows, where the questions are typically friendly and warm. But, these days, don’t expect Gardner to talk to real journalists and the public, whose questions might put a chill in the conversation.

Gardner hasn’t had a town hall meeting in over a year and a half, but since Jan. 1, the Republican has appeared on 15 conservative talk radio shows, hosted by some of the most strident conservatives in Colorado politics.

And it appears that he’s been dodging reporters’ calls with more regularity. Here are a few examples from this year.

“His office declined to comment about whether his opposition would include efforts to overturn Trump’s authority,” June 6, 2019, the Colorado Springs Gazette.

“Gardner’s office declined an interview request from The Denver Post this week,” Denver Post, May 23, 2019.

“His office did not respond to a follow-up inquiry,” The Hill, May 3, 2019.

“Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), when approached, said he was late to a meeting and referred questions to his office. Aides to Gardner did not respond to a request for comment,” The Hill, May 16, 2019.

(more…)

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“RiNO” Cory Gardner Blowtorched For Belatedly Ditching Trump


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

We wrote yesterday about the political peril Sen. Cory Gardner finds himself in following the “resolution” of President Donald Trump’s latest spate of wildly unpopular tariff threats against Mexico. Within the conservative news bubble from which the Republican base obtains most of their information about current events, Trump’s announcement Friday that Mexico had agreed to last-minute demands averting a 5% tariff on goods from Mexico from taking effect today was a triumph for the President. The rest of the country, understanding that this “last minute deal” had been agreed to weeks before by both governments, doesn’t consider any of this a “win” either for Trump or the jittery national economy.

Like most Republican Senators, there was never really a question whether Sen. Gardner could countenance support for punitive tariffs against Mexico. This latest round of unilateral threatmaking from Trump against Mexico saw Republican Senators provoked dissent against the President in the most public fashion since Trump took office–more backlash than equal or even more serious issues like the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia’s government earned. The controversy over Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico raged for days while Gardner kept his head down, and only spoke up last Friday just hours before Trump folded “triumphed.”

At (literally) the end of the day, Gardner waited too long to make a difference in the tariff debate–but speaking up at all nonetheless earned Gardner the renewed wrath of Trump’s loyal Republican base. Gardner is under continuous pressure to please base Republicans without whom he can’t be re-elected, while at the same time remaining viable in a state whose politics are rapidly trending away from both Trump and the Republican brand generally. The inability to satisfy those opposing audiences is why Gardner is the only incumbent Republican Senator with a sub-50% approval rating among fellow Republicans.

In the coming months, Gardner is likely to face more such impossible tests, and it’s likely he will continue to suffer from tepid support among base Republican voters. In the worst case Gardner is wide open to a primary challenge, though we’d have a hard time identifying a viable replacement. At the very least, Gardner is critically weak going into his re-election bid–lacking base Republican support for opposing Trump, however belatedly, and having alienated the middle for backing Trump every time it mattered.

It’s as close to a no-win situation as you’ll find in politics.

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Trump’s Tariff Cave: Thanks For Nothing, Cory Gardner


President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

While President Donald Trump and the conservative mediasphere celebrate their “big win” in high-stakes negotiations with Mexico under the threat of punitive sanctions to reduce undocumented immigration into the United States via that country, the New York Times was obliged to pop the bubble:

The deal to avert tariffs that President Trump announced with great fanfare on Friday night consists largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months, [Pols emphasis] according to officials from both countries who are familiar with the negotiations.

Friday’s joint declaration says Mexico agreed to the “deployment of its National Guard throughout Mexico, giving priority to its southern border.” But the Mexican government had already pledged to do that in March during secret talks in Miami between Kirstjen Nielsen, then the secretary of homeland security, and Olga Sanchez, the Mexican secretary of the interior, the officials said.

The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s deal was an expansion of a program to allow asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their legal cases proceed. But that arrangement was reached in December in a pair of painstakingly negotiated diplomatic notes that the two countries exchanged. Ms. Nielsen announced the Migrant Protection Protocols during a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee five days before Christmas.

It’s become a distinct patten in the Trump administration: when facing defeat on a high-stakes policy gambit, Trump simply moves the goalposts to a location from which he can claim victory. Can’t replace Obamacare? At least we messed it up good! North Korea still firing off missiles? Hey, at least they’re not testing nukes! So it makes perfect sense that with the deadline to make good on his threats or fold rapidly approaching, Trump decided the concessions he already had won from Mexico were enough to stand down his threat of tariffs starting Monday.

Obviously, the revelation that Trump didn’t actually win new concessions in this latest round of drama undercuts the sense of triumph this was all supposed to build up to. We’re not completely sure how this was going to play out in the long term–would it have meant Trump was done demonizing immigrants, having solved the issue once and for all? That seems hard to imagine. In this respect, the news that Friday’s “last-minute deal” was a sham could actually help Republicans stay on their anti-immigrant message.

As for Sen. Cory Gardner? Once again Gardner has exhibited precisely zero leadership on the issue dominating the past week of nationwide news headlines. Gardner was one of the last Republicans who claimed to oppose the tariffs to dissent publicly before Trump announced that the tariffs would not be imposed. Gardner hasn’t commented publicly since the announcement that we’ve seen, but we’re not sure what he should say. If Gardner acknowledges reality and thanks the President for caving, the GOP base will be outraged. But if Gardner tries to validate Trump’s fictional pretense of a deal, everybody who knows the facts will laugh at him.

The sole piece of good news here that everybody can agree on is that there will be no sudden tariffs on billions of dollars of goods starting Monday. That’s a relief for everyone, though it comes no thanks to Trump, Gardner, or anyone with an (R) after their name. A relatively painless end to another self-inflicted crisis does not leave voters with anything to celebrate.

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Cory Gardner on the Ass-End of History Once Again


Never fear, Cory Gardner is here!

(To get the full multimedia effect of this blog post, we suggest listening to “Ride of the Valkyries” in the background as you read).

President Trump’s threat to impose new tariffs on Mexico — which are widely considered to be an economic disaster waiting to happen — become reality on Monday. Naturally, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) boldly took action

…on Friday.

As Politico reports:

Gardner is raising the alarm about Donald Trump’s tariff threat just three days before the president’s proposed penalties against Mexican imports take effect.

The Colorado Republican distributed a letter to his Republican colleagues on Friday afternoon warning “current and proposed tariffs would negate all the economic benefits of tax reform” as Trump prepares to slap a new 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods that could increase to as much as 25 percent. The president has said those levies would go into effect on Monday without border reforms from Mexico aimed at stopping illegal immigration to the United States…

…Gardner’s missive comes as the GOP broadly frets about the effects the tariffs could have on the American economy and their constituents. Several Republican senators are warning the president they would vote to overturn the new levies, though Gardner has not explicitly said he would go that far. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner’s letter to Republican colleagues has all the political power of a letter-to-the-editor in a small town newspaper.

Whatever ends up happening with Trump’s Mexico tariff threat, the outcome will have absolutely nothing to do with Cory Gardner. And that’s exactly how Gardner likes it.

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Ex-GOP Minority Leader Mike May Dumps Cory Gardner


Former House Minority Leader Mike May (R).

We do our best to keep abreast of the latest political scuttlebutt as compiled by our various political newsrooms into weekly newsletter offerings, but like an unfortunate number of news consumers out there we sometimes don’t always make it all the way through every single such roundup every single week–particularly when there’s nothing in the headline to suggest something juicy “below the fold.”

As such, we missed this significant yet buried bit of news from the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter, two entries from the bottom of the May 30th edition of the Post’s The Spot political news agglomeration–a former GOP Colorado House Minority Leader, Mike May of Parker, is endorsing Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff over incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner:

During an interview with The Post last week, Romanoff talked about the support of Mike May, a Parker Republican and former House minority leader.

“He reached out to me not long after I announced my candidacy. He said, ‘My wife and I want to support you.’ I said, ‘I appreciate that, but just to remind you, I’m a Democrat.’ He said, ‘I remember that, but my country means more than my party and we would be honored to call you our senator.’” [Pols emphasis]

Romanoff says he had a similar conversation with Mary Estill Buchanan, a former Republican secretary of state who endorsed him Tuesday. She narrowly lost a Senate race of her own to Gary Hart in 1980.

Talk about burying the lede! The truth is, we might have missed this news entirely had a correction in this week’s The Spot referring to the original story not caught our eye. It’s not for us to tell the Post’s headline writers what’s most important, and in a lot of cases the reporters don’t get much of a say in the headline wording either–but a former GOP House Minority Leader abandoning Cory Gardner ahead of the nation’s hottest Senate race really is big news. It’s big news for Romanoff, sure, but potentially a huge blow to Gardner regardless of which Democrat he faces in 2020.

We expect that there is a lot more to this story that bears telling. Minority Leader May served with Cory Gardner for years in the Colorado House, and in 2010 lavished praise on Gardner’s state house service during Gardner’s first run for Congress. May’s collegial relationship with former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff doesn’t fully explain May taking such a dramatic step. What specifically did Gardner do, or fail to do, to persuade a former top GOP leader to deliver the unkindest cut of all?

The follow-up story, and we’re excited to see it, will definitely merit its own headline.

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Gardner Tiptoes Around Trump Tariff Threats


UPDATE #2: Whatever he’s doing If Cory Gardner is doing anything to stop Trump’s tariffs, it ain’t working. From Politico:

The White House pledged on Thursday to charge ahead on tariffs on Mexico, saying the U.S. position “has not changed” after officials met for a second day to address the steady flow of Central American migrants trying to enter the United States.

Talks between Mexican and U.S. officials at the White House wrapped up without resolution. Several key officials in the administration were unavailable for negotiations. President Donald Trump was in France for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, and both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were on the road.

It would sure seem like Sen. Gardner is about to get another painful wedgie.

—–

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

UPDATE: Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports today on Colorado businesses bracing for the potential tariffs…and guess who isn’t commenting?

And all eyes are on Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, named the Senate’s most vulnerable Republican for the 2020 elections.

Gardner told Bloomberg News Monday that tariffs are “a bad idea, plain and simple.” His office declined to comment about whether his opposition would include any efforts to overturn the President’s authority under IEEPA. [Pols emphasis]

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) did respond to Goodland, as did House Members such as Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette), Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver), and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez).

—–

President Trump
today renewed his threat to place new tariffs on Mexico if America’s southern neighbor doesn’t accede to his demands on immigration — while also smacking Republican Senators for their opposition to his pressure campaign. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump said Thursday that talks with Mexico over new measures to block migrants from entering the United States were making headway, but he renewed his threat to impose a punitive import tax on Mexican goods unless an agreement was reached before Monday.

“Something pretty dramatic could happen,” the president said, referring to the talks with Mexican diplomats, which are scheduled to continue Thursday in Washington. “We’ve told Mexico the tariffs go on. And I mean it, too.”

Trump dismissed Republican senators who have threatened to block his tariff plans, saying they “have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to tariffs.”[Pols emphasis]

Trump is threatening to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico starting June 10; the tariff would increase by 5 percentage points every month until it reaches 25% on October 1.

Earlier this week Senate Republicans began to (meekly) push back against Trump’s threats, suggesting that the Senate could pass legislation to block the tariffs; unnamed sources even offered that the GOP had enough support to override a potential Trump veto of a Senate blocking maneuver. Economists are warning that a new import tax on Mexico could cost the United States 400,000 jobs, but even with numbers on their side, Senate Republicans are treading very carefully so as not to anger the Big Orange Guy.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on Wednesday

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a brief appearance on Wednesday in an interview with Zack Guzman and Alexis Keenan of Yahoo Finance. Gardner predicted that this tariff kerfuffle would be “resolved over the next 48 to 72 hours,” though in typical Gardner fashion, he was careful to avoid any specifics:

KEENAN: Where do you stand on [tariffs] and how much support do you have from fellow GOP members who also have said that they don’t necessarily support this action perhaps against Mexico?

GARDNER: Well, look, if you look at Colorado, a lot of those top exports are agriculture — agriculture-based — whether that’s corn, whether that’s beef, whether that’s potatoes. I don’t think there’s much support at all for tariffs overall, specifically a tariff on Mexico, and goods from Mexico. So, I think that if this were to come to a vote, there wouldn’t be much, at all, support, out of the United States Senate for a tariff. [Pols emphasis]

GUZMAN: Would that be true even if you needed President Trump’s signature on the state’s act [on marijuana legalization] to get it through as well, if push came to shove?

GARDNER: Well, look, I think they are two totally mutually exclusive issues, but tariffs are bad policy, and I don’t think you can confuse the two issues and I don’t think you can politicize the two issues together. But tariffs are bad policy. They are a tax on the American consumer, and they affect disproportionately the lowest-income earners across the country who rely more on imported goods. So, this is something that I think is bad policy, and I think you’ll see this issue resolved over the next 48 to 72 hours. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner’s prediction is that some sort of deal is reached with Mexico by late Saturday, less than two days before the new tariff is scheduled to take effect. Calling tariffs “bad policy” has been Gardner’s standard response on this issue — when reporters can actually find him — but Gardner continues to avoid saying whether he himself would support a move by the Senate to block Trump’s tariffs from taking effect. History has shown that Gardner will stand with Trump if forced to take a side, which is no doubt why he sticks to vagaries on the tariff issue.

It’s also worth noting once again that while Gardner goes out of his way to avoid talking to Colorado media outlets, he’s plenty cooperative with people he chooses to speak with:

GUZMAN: Alright, Senator Cory Gardner. Thank you so much for joining us and for calling us twice — really appreciate it.

“Calling us twice.”

This is Cory Gardner.

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Stu Rothenberg: Gardner’s Plight Worse Than Meets The Eye


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Be sure not to miss political analyst Stuart Rothenberg’s rundown yesterday of the eight 2020 U.S. Senate races expected to decide control of the chamber. As readers should know by now, on paper the top two targets for Democrats in 2020 are the two seats held by Republicans in states that voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election–Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado.

Rothenberg makes much of Sen. Collins’ “personal relationships” as a survival strength, and the Morning Consult daily tracking poll of Collins’ favorability (52%) showing a number that Gardner (35%) would kill for. But as Rothenberg continues, even that is not the full measure of Gardner’s troubles going into 2020:

In 2014, I repeatedly noted what a strong candidate Cory Gardner was and what a perfect race he ran, but 2020 is likely to produce a very different political environment in Colorado…

Gardner ended up winning by just under 2 points. But two years later, Trump lost Colorado by 5 points, and the state’s growing suburbs clearly are not advantageous territory for him, as evidenced by former GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s double-digit loss and Democrat Jared Polis’s double-digit gubernatorial victory in last year’s midterm elections.

…While handicapping websites like Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball all start Gardner’s race off as a Toss-up next year, the Colorado Republican is really more of an underdog in his bid to win a second term. [Pols emphasis]

This is consistent with our own belief that the pundits calling the Colorado U.S. Senate race a “tossup” today don’t fully understand the underlying trends. Indeed few states in America have seen as much of a Democratic political solidification since Gardner’s narrow election win in 2014 as Colorado. Gardner’s gross abandonment of the moderate image he cultivated to win that year against the prevalent political trends of the state, combined with his wholesale embrace of Donald Trump after calling for Trump to exit the presidential race in 2016, leave Gardner even more vulnerable than the results of last November’s Democratic landslide in this state foretell.

Democrats of course have a clown car primary to sort through, and the possibility that the eventual Democratic nominee has not yet even entered the race. Either way, whoever emerges the winner will have not just the opportunity of a lifetime but an obligation to rectify what was arguably the biggest mistake by midterm Colorado voters in a generation. In a state steadily transitioning from “purple” to bonafide blue, Gardner in 2020 is the last Republican anachronism standing.

At this point, Gardner’s seat is Democrats’ to lose.

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Senate Republicans Warn Trump On Mexico Tariffs…But Gardner?


Senator Cory Gardner tends to stand behind President Trump no matter what.

Senate Republicans are finally, sorta, pushing back against President Trump amid threats to impose new tariffs on Mexico. As the Washington Post reports:

Republican senators warned Trump administration officials Tuesday they were prepared to block the president’s effort to impose tariffs on Mexican imports, promising what would be GOP lawmakers’ most brazen defiance of the president since he took office.

During a closed-door lunch, at least a half-dozen senators spoke in opposition to the tariffs, while no one spoke in support, according to multiple people present who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

Senators told officials from the White House and Department of Justice that there could be a disapproval vote if Trump moves forward — and this time, unlike with an earlier disapproval resolution, opponents of Trump’s tariffs could have enough support to override a veto…[Pols emphasis]

…The lunch meeting occurred just hours after Trump, during a news conference in London, reiterated his intention to impose the tariffs next week and said it would be “foolish” for Republican senators to try to stop him. The 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican goods, rising to 25 percent over time, are aimed at trying to force Mexico to take action to stop the tide of Central American migrants seeking entry into the United states.

President Trump issued the first veto of his Presidency in March when he rejected a Congressional resolution opposing his “emergency declaration” for border wall money. The Senate didn’t have the votes to override that veto, with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) among the Republicans who stood behind Trump.

Gardner hasn’t said much about Trump’s tariff binge in 2019 (to be completely accurate, Gardner hasn’t said much about anything in a long time), though Bloomberg News recently got him on the record saying tariffs against Mexico are “a bad idea, plain and simple.” These broad words from Gardner are completely worthless, of course; calling tariffs “a bad idea” is as meaningless as Gardner opining on whether he likes meatloaf. Gardner said repeatedly that he opposed Trump’s emergency declaration before he eventually flipped in support — a decision that prompted the Denver Post to un-endorse the Yuma Republican in a blistering March editorial.

Given Gardner’s flip-flopping history, there’s no real way to know if he is among the Senate Republicans who are firmly in the “no tariffs” camp. This is one of those questions Gardner needs to be asked very specifically: Would you vote to override a Trump veto of a Senate resolution of disapproval?

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Caption This Photo: Cory Takes Taiwan!


Courtesy Taiwan’s Central News Agency, there’s Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado on a tour of the capital city of Taipei along with President Tsai Ing-wen this weekend. Sen. Gardner is currently on a junket to East Asia in his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy. No word yet on whether this trip includes a stop to visit Gardner’s old buddy Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who may in all fairness have been too busy with extrajudicial killings and rape jokes to roll out the welcome mat.

In any event, Sen. Gardner seems to have something interesting to say to the President of Taiwan–and only you, gentle reader, can tell us what it is! We do know it’s about (gestures) that big.

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Cory Gardner is Not a Figment of Your Imagination


Colorado Congressional DelegationCongress is nearing the end of its Memorial Day recess, which began last Friday and continues through this weekend. It’s been a busy break for most of Colorado’s Congressional delegation.

Many of Colorado’s Congresspeople used this “district work period” to meet with constituents and local groups. Freshman Reps. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) and Jason Crow (D-Aurora) have been all over the place in the past week (Neguse has already conducted more town hall meetings than any other freshman lawmaker in the country). Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) did some podcasting; Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) conducted a CNN “town hall” as part of his campaign for President; and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) even found some time to do a little yardwork.

Yet there is one member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation who is — once again — difficult to find in person. In fact, the only reason we even know roughly where Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has been is because of a line buried in this Politico story about former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley:

She has also been asked to campaign alongside Republican candidates who might be more reluctant to stump with the president, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, widely considered the most vulnerable of the 2020 cycle. The president’s approval rating in the state is underwater by 13 points, according to an April poll conducted by Morning Consult. Gardner, who was traveling internationally in connection with his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was not present Thursday when Trump visited Colorado to deliver remarks at the Air Force Academy’s commencement ceremony. [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (right) speaks with constituents in Arvada this week.

Gardner was also conspicuously absent from Colorado during the last long “district work period” in March, which has become standard practice for the Yuma Republican. Coloradans generally don’t even learn about what Gardner is doing until after he’s done it. Reporters can’t get answers to the most basic of questions. And town halls…those are another subject altogether; you’d have better luck finding Gardner at Disneyland than at a town hall event.

Gardner is entering his first re-election campaign as a top target for Democrats; he is generally considered to be the most endangered incumbent Senator in the country. But many of 2020’s most endangered Republican incumbents are making time for their home states. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) was shaking hands on the Memorial Day parade route, and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Arizona) popped up in several places.

Coloradans should expect their Congressional Members to be visible — particularly since Congress isn’t getting much done when they are in Washington D.C. — but what we’ve come to expect from Gardner is absence.

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Cory Gardner’s Wall Street Problem


If Senator Cory Gardner wants to win his tough re-election fight next year, there’s really no constituency he can ignore–which helps explain why he’s all over the map on so many issues. But over a decade in Congress, and especially since entering the Senate, Gardner has allied himself closely with the one sector of society that everyone loves to hate–Wall Street.

Depending on where the current market roller coaster heads in the next year, and predictions vary widely as of this writing, that could be a serious liability for Gardner much like the 2008 financial crisis meant doom for Republicans at the polls.

Ahead of 2020, Gardner has already raised almost $1 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate industries, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. And that’s consistent with history: in his 2014 Senate bid, Gardner raised over $800,000 from Wall Street, and has kept the money rolling in steadily ever since.

All of that campaign cash doesn’t come for free of course! National watchdog group Americans for Financial Reform laid out in a recent report that Wall Street pursued an aggressive deregulatory agenda in the 2017-2018 Congress, for which they spent almost $2 billion on congressional persuasion:

In the 2017–18 election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial interests reported spending almost $2 billion to influence decision-making in Washington. That total – of officially reported expenditures on campaign contributions and lobbying – works out to more than $2.5 million per day. A total of 443 financial sector companies and trade associations spent at least $500,000 each during this period.

Since 2008, financial industry spending has increased to levels even higher than they were before the financial crisis, and the spending in this cycle was the highest yet for a non-presidential year. This continued high level of spending reflects the ongoing battle to reshape the financial system and the industry’s persistent efforts to repeal or win exemptions from parts of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, to weaken implementing regulations, to further deregulate, and to forestall proposals for accountability and change.

Americans for Financial Reform identified 15 key Wall Street-related votes that made it to the Senate floor in the 2016-2018 Congress. Gardner voted yes on 14 of them, and was a no-vote on the other. Gardner voted to install ally of payday lenders Kathy Kraninger as their top regulator, to change around rules that allowed the merger which might create the country’s newest “Too Big To Fail” bank, and to give the banks a massive tax break at the expense of a surging deficit.

Think about that for a moment. The same dishonest bankers who crashed the economy in 2008 spent an average of $2.5 million per day trying to get Congress to roll back oversight and give them taxpayer-funded handouts. And Cory Gardner helped them at every step. If that’s not a hard-hitting political attack ad, we’d have trouble finding one.

Toxic coziness with Wall Street isn’t a new problem for Gardner, and like all such issues where his duties to constituents conflict with his political benefactors, Gardner is hoping this will go underreported back here in Colorado. The problem is there are real consequences for Colorado voters who carry the risk while Wall Street reaps the rewards. While we can’t imagine anyone would want to repeat the financial crisis of 2008 or the Great Recession that followed, that’s what dismantling consumer financial protections and post-recession banking reforms would lead to.

Gardner is ready to make all the same mistakes again.

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Gardner Hasn’t Held a Town Hall in a Year and a Half, But Is He Talking to Voters in CO Springs?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner hasn’t held a town hall meeting with constituents in about a year and a half, choosing instead to meet with private groups and telling the public about such meetings after they occur.

But he may have held conference calls with constituents, possibly in Colorado Springs, last week without informing reporters or the wider public.

Gardner’s focus on Colorado Springs may be part of a strategic move to identify and energize voters in the conservative area, where high voter turnout would be essential to a Gardner victory in 2020, say political analysts.

Gardner appears to have briefly announced a conference call with constituents May 21, as evidenced by a May 21 screen grab of the senator’s website circulated on Twitter. But then the announcement mysteriously disappeared.

Also last week, a robo-call blocking service recorded multiple calls from Gardner inviting Co Springs-area citizens to join a call with Gardner.

Gardner’s recorded voice states, “Hi This is Senator Cory Gardner I’m calling to invite you to join our live telephone town hall taking place in just a few moments please stay on the line and you will be automatically connected if you have any questions about this event please call my office at 202-224-5941.”

The use of robo calls to invite constituents to his telephone event would raise eyebrows, given Gardner’s stance against such calls.

On his website, Gardner asks constituents who want to be invited to his conference calls to provide their phone numbers. So it’s possible the robo-call blocking service snagged those numbers by mistake.

Gardner’s office didn’t return a call seeking to know if he offered citizens in Colorado Springs the opportunity to talk to him last week on the phone, and, if so, whether some or all of those offers were made unsolicited via robo calls.

In the past, when questioned by reporters about not holding in-person town hall meetings, Gardner has argued that conference calls, which he refers to as tele-town halls, are a good way to interact with his constituents.

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Gardner Hides While Abortion Goes Under The Spotlight


As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, another excellent story covering the local fallout on what’s becoming a flashpoint issue for the upcoming 2020 elections:

Cory Gardner, a freshman U.S. senator, is facing a tough re-election fight in 2020, just as then-Sen. Udall did in 2014. And there’s another parallel: Democrats, at least for now, believe abortion is a winning issue for them in 2020, just as Udall did five years ago…

Among many Democratic strategists, a new conventional wisdom has emerged about the 2014 race. Udall had the right idea, they say. Criticisms of Gardner on abortion will stick in 2020, even if they didn’t in 2014, they say.

“Here’s what’s changed: Trump’s election and the courts,” said Laura Chapin, a Democratic consultant who has advised NARAL and is now aiding Alice Madden’s campaign for Senate. “That has really supercharged this discussion because it’s not hypothetical anymore. They have a clear path, through the courts, to overturn Roe (vs. Wade).”

We wrote a couple of days ago about the recent dramatic escalation of national abortion politics following the passage of a near-total ban on abortion in Alabama, intended to serve as a vehicle to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights in all fifty states. Although Colorado has consistently and overwhelmingly rejected attacks on abortion rights at the polls, the state’s stridently conservative Republican minority in the legislature proposes abortion bans similar to Alabama’s every year–a reminder that a political turn of fortune for Republicans in Colorado would result in a direct threat to abortion rights.

With the Trump administration’s Supreme Court appointees ready to do the once-unthinkable and the challenge that could prove to be Roe’s undoing passed into law in Alabama, the narrative that allowed Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado to “beat” the issue of abortion in 2014 and win his seat despite an avowedly anti-abortion record in a pro-choice state is rapidly disintegrating. The assurance voters were given in 2014 that regardless of Gardner’s “personal view” on abortion he would be unable to act against abortion rights didn’t survive Gardner’s votes in the Senate to confirm Supreme Court Justices who are ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, let alone his numerous votes to chip away at abortion rights in the Senate since winning his seat.

Now that the threat to abortion rights is no longer hypothetical, Gardner seems to be caught completely flat-footed:

Gardner’s office declined an interview request from The Denver Post this week. [Pols emphasis] Asked about Alabama’s restrictions on abortion by Politico, he told the news outlet that he is pro-life but hasn’t read the Alabama law. Abortion should be left up to the states, the senator said.

It’s been nearly a week since Gardner literally ran away from reporters asking about his view of the Alabama abortion ban. In a subsequent interview, Gardner reaffirmed his “personal” anti-abortion views, and said that abortion rights should be “up to the states”–tantamount to saying Roe v. Wade should be overturned, since the only way states could control the legality of abortion is in the absence of Roe’s federal guarantee.

Without the cover of public perception that Roe is invulnerable, which is most definitely a relic of the past today, Gardner’s long record of support for banning abortion sticks out like a sore thumb against the overwhelming consensus of the voters of the state he represents. It is no longer possible for Gardner to bluff his way to a draw on this issue. The more abortion becomes a marquee issue for the 2020 elections, which it was not in 2014 despite Democrats’ singleminded message, the dimmer Gardner’s re-election prospects get.

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Colorado’s Abortion Rights Complacency Finally Getting Real?


The Colorado Sun’s John Frank wrote a story yesterday we’ve been waiting to see from a Colorado politics press corps for some time: an honest look at the stridently anti-abortion agenda of Colorado Republicans, who propose every year legislation as and even more restrictive than the near-total ban on abortions signed into law in Alabama last week:

Earlier this year, with less fanfare, Colorado lawmakers debated a bill to ban elective abortions that appears more severe than the controversial new limits approved in other states…

“We are never as far from those other states as we think we are. It’s only one election,” said Karen Middleton, the executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, an abortion rights organization. [Pols emphasis]

The last 15 years of Democratic dominance in Colorado, a period in which statewide ballot measures to ban abortion were defeated by the voters repeatedly, put anti-abortion Republicans on the defensive in this state–leading to arguably the low point of the movement’s influence in 2014, when Cory Gardner messily backtracked on the issue in an attempt to muddy his own record to compete in a statewide election. Since winning his Senate seat, of course, Gardner has voted to ban abortion every chance he got, making fools of his 2014 apologists on the issue and adding to Gardner’s 2020 vulnerabilities.

The result of all these developments, from Democratic control at the state legislative level to the supposed invulnerability of Roe v. Wade to direct challenge in the Supreme Court, was a climate of complacency in Colorado politics on the issue of abortion. Republicans introduced Alabama-style abortion ban bills year after year, and attempts by local reproductive choice advocates to sound the alarm were sometimes rudely blown off by the political press corps in Colorado. For Republicans this was an ideal situation, since they could please their religious conservative base with abortion ban bills without the awareness of their actions by the general voting public that could hurt them in the next general election.

When the entire pundit and journalist class in Colorado turned on Mark Udall in 2014 for “obsessing” about abortion in response to Gardner’s wholesale deception, this complacency over an issue still central to the GOP’s agenda claimed its greatest victim. It took the election of Donald Trump and the solidification of a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the immediate threat to abortion rights into focus. If the electorate (not to mention the fourth estate) had understood that within 5 years of the 2014 election we would be discussing not just the possibility but the likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, would Gardner have still eked out his 1.9% victory over Udall?

Perhaps the only good thing that can be said, now that 2014’s deception is plain to everyone and no one can deny the threat to abortion rights that exists today, is that Colorado voters will find it hard to be complacent about abortion in future elections. Gardner and the Supreme Court Justices he helped install paved the way for the overturning of Roe v. Wade just as his opponents in 2014 warned to deaf ears. Without Roe, abortion rights in Colorado like every state are truly just one election from disaster.

Fail to vote accordingly at your peril.

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Gardner: It’s “Up to the States,” like Alabama, to Decide if Abortion Is Legal

(Con Man Cory’s original sin is back – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

After initially dodging a question from a reporter about Alabama’s abortion ban, saying he was late to a meeting and had no time to talk, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has now stated his general support for the controversial measure.

That’s consistent with his previous stance against Roe v. Wade, which, if overturned, would allow states to ban abortion.

“I’m pro-life, but that’s up to the states,” Gardner told Politico over the weekend, adding that he hadn’t seen details of the new law.

If states are indeed left to decide whether abortion is legal, then Gardner would presumably support Alabama’s law.

Here’s why:

The Alabama measure will likely be challenged in court on the grounds that, under Roe v. Wade, states like Alabama don’t have the authority to ban abortion.

In fact, many anti-abortion activists hope that if Alabama’s new anti-abortion law is reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the conservative new justices will overturn Roe v. Wade, which currently guarantees a women’s right to an abortion.

If Roe were overturned, abortion would not be illegal. Instead, states like Alabama would have the authority to ban the procedure, even for rape and incest, as Alabama’s law does.

So Gardner’s position of leaving it “up to the states” to decide about abortion is consistent with anti-abortion Republicans who want Roe v. Wade struck down.

In his comment to Politico Saturday, Gardner didn’t cite his opposition to Roe specifically.

But in a 2010 Colorado Family Institute candidate questionnaire, he’s on record opposing the landmark abortion decision.

In the survey, Gardner indicated that he opposed the “U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.”

Gardner has been a staunch opponent of all abortion throughout his political career, using anti-abortion activists to help carry him into the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood 10 times since he’s been in federal office.

In his run for U.S. Senate in 2014, he reversed his opposition to a personhood abortion ban in Colorado, but he continued to support a federal personhood bill, which he cosponsored, that aimed to outlaw abortion nationally.

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Cory Gardner (Literally) Runs Away from Abortion Question


Republican lawmakers in Alabama this week passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country as part of an effort to ultimately force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. For obvious reasons, Alabama’s new law has thus been one of the biggest political topics of the week and will likely continue to dominate conversations for months to come. For equally obvious reasons, political reporters have been asking elected officials at all levels of government for comment.

As The Hill newspaper reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t want to talk about it:

Other Republicans facing tough reelection races in 2020 dodged questions on the Alabama law.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), when approached, said he was late to a meeting and referred questions to his office. Aides to Gardner did not respond to a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

A United States Senator refusing to answer a question about one of the most significant political questions of the 2020 election cycle is not normal. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is widely considered to be among the most vulnerable Republican incumbents seeking re-election in 2020. Like Gardner, Collins will be running in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried in 2016; unlike Gardner, Collins is actually willing to provide her opinion when asked. Again, from The Hill:

“I’m very much opposed to the Alabama law,” Collins told The Hill. “I think it’s completely inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and will lead to a virtual ban on abortions in Alabama, even for victims of incest and rape.”

“I can’t imagine that any justice could find that to be consistent with the previous precedence,” she told CNN in a separate interview.

When the Denver Post made its stunning decision in March to un-endorse Gardner in a harsh editorial, it had a lot to do with exactly this kind of behavior from Colorado’s junior Senator. At the time, Gardner had just completed a full 180-degree flip on the subject of President Trump’s “emergency declaration” for border wall funding. None of this is new territory for Gardner — his duplicitous nature has merely become impossible to ignore over the years. This is the same Cory Gardner who told Fox 31’s Eli Stokols prior to the 2014 election that “there is no federal personhood bill,” when, in fact, there absolutely was a federal personhood bill (and Gardner was even a co-sponsor in Congress).

Perhaps the most instructive way to consider Gardner’s non-comment on the Alabama abortion law is to look back at that same Fox 31 News interview from September 2014. Here is how Gardner responded to a question about then-Sen. Mark Udall focusing on Gardner’s ever shifting position on abortion:

“This is a political campaign and he is trying to do everything he can to change the subject, to run away.”

This is Cory Gardner.

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Cory Gardner: Rainbow Warrior?

POLS UPDATE: LGBTQ rights organization One Colorado minces no words:

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(More like rainbow washing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sens. Cory Gardner & Susan Collins at LGBT GOP fundraiser

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner was one of three swing-state Republican senators to receive money from a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund (AUF), a conservative LGBT rights group.

First reported by North Carolina conservative blog the Daily Haymaker, AUF hosted the $250 per person event on Tuesday at the Washington D.C. office of Hogan Lovells, a white shoe law firm with a large Denver presence.

Longtime AUF supporter Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, posted a picture of Gardner and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) posing with Timmons and his husband at the event.

Last month Timmons and his husband were honored by Equality Virginia for their advocacy for the right of same-sex couples like themselves to become parents. In 2007, then-State Rep. Cory Gardner voted against a bill to allow Colorado gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

(more…)

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President Trump Channels His Inner Ernie


There is a classic Sesame Street story featuring Bert & Ernie (also explored in the vaguely titled children’s book “The Ernie & Bert Book“), in which Ernie explains to Bert that he must wear a pot on his head because Bert’s cowboy hat is now home to Ernie’s pet fish. This problem began when Ernie accidentally broke a cookie jar; Ernie placed the now-homeless cookies in the sugar bowl, which meant that he had to move the sugar to a flowerpot, which forced him to put the flower in a milk bottle, and so on and so forth.

 

What does this have to do with politics, you might ask? This is basically what President Trump is doing as a result of his obsession with placing massive tariffs on Chinese exports. As the Washington Post reports, Trump is bending to pressure to create economic bailouts for farmers that are only necessary because of the very policies the White House enacted in the first place:

President Trump on Tuesday rushed to placate furious farmers and Senate Republicans about his escalating trade war with China, with lawmakers now considering a package of fresh bailout funds to quell a rebellion in agricultural states.

The fresh uproar came as farmers, lawmakers, business executives, and global investors are looking to Trump for clues on how far he intends to take the trade showdown with China. On Monday, Trump suggested the standoff could last years and lead to structural changes in the global economy…

China has responded in two ways, both by trying to negotiate with him to stop the tariffs and by imposing import penalties on U.S. exports like soybeans and other items. This has led U.S. farmers to complain they are being caught in the middle of the standoff, putting pressure on lawmakers to intervene.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday were frenetically trying to deal with complaints from powerful farm groups. [Pols emphasis]

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner

Farmers in Colorado and across the country have been struggling during the Trump administration. The big Trump tax cut of late 2017 actually raised taxes for many farm families, and small and midsize farms are having trouble gaining access to credit from banks. Thus far in 2019, the Trump administration response to these financial pressures has been to pressure economists at the Agricultural Department to stop producing data and reports showing that farmers are getting crushed.

Unsurprisingly, messing around with spreadsheets has not made farmers feel any better. As this story from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel explains, farmers are reporting a rise in suicides as a direct result of the economic harm being inflicted upon them by Trump’s tariffs.

Here in Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is talking more about mythical socialism threats than the very real harm being inflicted on farmers. Gardner has said publicly that he doesn’t support Trump’s tariffs, but he won’t do anything to challenge the President beyond issuing the occasional statement of disapproval (after all, Gardner was one of the first big Republican names to officially endorse Trump’s re-election campaign).

As Paul Krugman recently opined for the New York Times, “Trump’s biggest supporters are his biggest victims.” That sentence works just as well if you replace “Trump” with “Gardner.”

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DSCC Thwacks Gardner Over “Gold Star Family Tax Hike”


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A press release from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee calls out Sen. Cory Gardner along with several other 2020 GOP vulnerables for a provision in the 2017 Trump tax cut legislation that’s being panned on both sides of the aisle for its “unintended” effects on military survivors:

The reckless Republican tax law passed in 2017 that gave away the vast majority of its benefits to the rich and big corporations and even sparked a lawsuit that could end protections for people with pre-existing conditions is having yet another disastrous effect: unfairly hiking taxes on Gold Star families…

While some Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have been working on a fix, some of the most vulnerable GOP senators who voted proudly for the tax bill that caused this mess aren’t owning up to their mistake. Senators Gardner, Collins, McSally, Tillis, Perdue, and Ernst have been sitting on the sidelines, appearing to decline to co-sponsor the legislation while their Senate colleagues work across party lines to undo this cruel penalty hurting Gold Star families.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Stewart Boss issued the following statement:

“The most vulnerable Republican senators voted for a reckless tax bill that actually hiked taxes on Gold Star families, and now they’re not even working to fix this mess and support a bipartisan solution to the problem they created. Senators Gardner, Collins, McSally, Tillis, Perdue, and Ernst owe their states an explanation for why they voted in favor of a Gold Star family tax hike and why they’re not working to fix this issue.”

It’s a sticky subject of course, admitting that the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” was a flawed measure that in addition to irresponsibly slashing revenues in an era of trillion-dollar deficits is hurting politically most problematic segments of the tax base with its various inadequate “pay-fors.” As The Hill reported last week:

Republicans’ 2017 tax-cut law made a change to how children’s unearned income is taxed under the tax. Previously, the income was taxed at the rate of the children’s parents, but under the GOP tax law, the income is taxed at the same rate as trusts and estates.

The change unexpectedly resulted in the children of fallen troops paying more taxes on their survivor benefits. Task & Purpose, a news outlet focused on military and veterans affairs, reported last month that it is common for spouses of fallen troops to put Department of Defense survivor benefits in the names of their children in order to ensure that the families can receive survivor benefits from both the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Under the new legislation, military survivor benefits would be treated as earned income, rather than as unearned income, so that they are not subject to the tax and instead are taxed at lower rates.

In the Senate, the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, but the legislation also has 28 other Senate cosponsors from both parties. Which leads to the obvious question–why isn’t Cory Gardner’s name on the bill too? Perhaps he’ll remedy this oversight in the coming days, but unless he does we have to assume that Gardner just doesn’t want to talk about the consequences, both intended and not, of the tax cut legislation he voted for. After all, once we fix this “glitch” hitting Gold Star families in the pocketbook, it might be a good time to discuss that massive federal deficit the Trump tax cuts have only worsened. As the only major policy achievement Gardner can hang his hat on, it’s not working out very well.

Its almost as if Cory Gardner (wait for it) didn’t read the bill! Either that or he really thinks survivor benefits should be “unearned income?” Either way, it’s a nasty political eyesore that refusing to own only makes worse.

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The Nuge Boosts Steve Reams As Political Aspirations Grow


UPDATE: Does this look like a guy who is content to just run for re-election as Sheriff?


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Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams (R).

Conservative activists in the would be sovereign state of Weld County are over the moon today after it was announced that “American Legend” Ted Nugent will headline a $150 a plate fundraiser for Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams next month (see invite above). As our readers are well aware, Nugent has made himself a recurring guest star on the far right side of Colorado politics ever since anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo started running for President and then governor in the mid-to-late aughts. Since Colorado became a battleground state over gun safety laws in 2013, Nugent has bitterly criticized our state as “a poster child for apathy, disconnect, laziness, and abandonment of We the People.”

Of course, Nugent hasn’t always proven to be helpful to the politicians he has endorsed, as in Tancredo in 2014 and then George Brauchler’s abortive run for governor for the 2018 cycle. Part of that may be due to Nugent’s record of calling President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel” who can “suck my machine gun,” his unapologetic and continuing utilization of the “N-word,” saying women who don’t like guns deserve to be raped, and of course recording hit songs in celebration of statutory rape. If you add all that up and wonder how the hell any politician–particularly a politician in law enforcement–would allow themselves to be associated with The Nuge, you’re not alone.

Setting that aside for a moment, it’s undeniable that Sheriff Reams’ political star has risen among Republicans since he became the poster child of defiance to the state’s new extreme risk protection order (ERPO) law, vowing to go to jail rather than enforce the law despite overwhelming public support. Given renewed speculation about Ken Buck’s future and even the possibility of an upstart primary challenge to a politically weakened Sen. Cory Gardner, we wouldn’t be too confident that mere re-election as Weld County Sheriff is the limit of Reams’ ambition.

In the meantime, hopefully Sheriff Reams will keep his buddy away from the local Jailbait.

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