Photos Loading
previous next
  • Chris Schneider, File / AP Photo

    FILE - In this March 1, 2014 file photo, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., officially announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate at Denver Lumber Company in Denver. Gardner will run against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Rep. Gardner on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014 released the second of two ads touting his support for renewable energy and over-the-counter birth control pills, calling himself “a new kind of Republican” as he tries to unseat Democratic Sen. Udall in a state that has become increasingly reluctant to elect members of the GOP.

  • Susan Walsh, File / AP Photo

    FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013, file photo, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Senate race in Colorado has shot toward the top of the nation’s most competitive contests this midterm election year, giving the Democratic incumbent a tougher battle than he expected and Republicans a new pickup opportunity in their drive to win the chamber’s majority. With President Obama highly unpopular in Colorado, Udall is airing an online ad highlighting his criticism of surveillance by the National Security Agency, noting it has occurred under Democratic and Republican administrations.

Cory Gardner says he's 'a new kind of Republican'

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 - 2:54 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 3, 2014 - 11:58 am

Senate candidate Cory Gardner has released a pair of campaign ads reaching out to Colorado's all-important centrist voters, who have soured on some GOP positions, and cast himself as a "new kind of Republican" who supports over-the-counter birth control pills and renewable energy.

The TV spots released this week come in a close race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in a swing state that has become increasingly reluctant to elect conservatives as coastal transplants have pushed the politics to the left.

Democrats have won every top-of-the-ticket statewide race in Colorado since 2004, and Udall and his allies have followed the established playbook by attacking Gardner as being against reproductive rights and the environment.

But Gardner, a U.S. House representative, has hit back with his new ads.

In the first, which launched Monday, Gardner walks past wind turbines and asks, "So what's a Republican, like me, doing at a wind farm?" He notes that he co-authored legislation, backed by a former Democratic governor, to create a state agency to support new Colorado renewable energy businesses. The ad's female narrator calls Gardner "a new kind of Republican."

Then, in a spot unveiled Tuesday, Gardner, who is anti-abortion, highlights his proposal to make birth control pills available without a prescription. Gardner tells a mostly-female audience in the ad that Udall "wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your health care plan."

Gardner's campaign and other conservatives say the congressman is responding to a Democratic caricature of his positions.

But Democrats say Gardner is trying to sell himself as a centrist in the line of Udall, a well-known environmentalist and abortion rights supporter.

They noted that Gardner's birth control ad comes after Udall and others hammered him for his prior support of measures that could outlaw some forms of birth control. Gardner has since disavowed one of the criticized proposals.

"Unlike Congressman Gardner, I don't see access to contraception and family planning services as election-year gimmicks," Udall said in a statement. "They're fundamental rights that we must protect. And Coloradans know that I'll do just that."

Seth Masket, a political scientist at the University of Denver, said Gardner's ads are clearly "on Democratic turf" but changing positions and emphasis may not be damaging.

"It's easy to attack a candidate who does that as a flip-flopper" but there's not much evidence showing that to be politically damaging, Masket said. However, "taking a wrong stance on an issue important to voters can hurt a candidate," he said.

Republicans need to net six Senate seats in November to win control of the chamber.

Most polls show Gardner is effectively tied with Udall, with the Democratic incumbent maintaining an edge among women.

Women not registered with either party in the Denver suburbs usually decide statewide elections in Colorado and both campaigns are furiously trying to appeal to that demographic.


Follow Nicholas Riccardi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NickRiccardi

Read more articles by NICHOLAS RICCARDI



Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Buy
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads
Make:

Model:

Price Range:
to
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older

TODAY'S CIRCULARS