Assembly backs Senate hopeful Gardner
BOULDER — U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner had little difficulty winning top line in his bid for the U.S. Senate, but that wasn’t his biggest accomplishment at the Colorado Republican Party Assembly on Saturday.
As the only clear winner at the assembly, the Yuma Republican was seen as the single candidate who not only could bring unity to the party, but also serve to galvanize Republican voters and bring them to the polls in November.
Gardner’s relative late entry into the race cleared out most of the GOP candidates and the right to run against the Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who similarly won his own party’s nomination at Saturday’s Colorado Democratic Party Assembly held in Denver.
That entry turned the race into one that is being watching nationally because it could help the national Republican Party win a majority in the U.S. Senate.
“I’ve not been in Congress very long, but I can tell you it is every bit as messed up as you think,” Gardner told nearly 4,000 delegates at the Coors Events Center on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado. “It’s a question of people who wish to put appearance over accomplishment. And Mark Udall? Mark Udall was just along for the ride.”
Two contenders remained after Gardner’s initial entry into the race, state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and Tom Janich, an Adams County resident who has lost numerous bids for the Colorado Legislature and the U.S. House.
Gardner’s 73.62 percent showing was enough to clear out those two as well. Baumgardner only received 23.8 percent, while Janich got 2.58 percent. Candidates need 30 percent to automatically make the ballot, but at least 10 percent to petition on.
Gardner served five years in the Colorado House before being elected to Congress in 2010 to represent the 4th Congressional District on the Eastern Plains.
His entry immediately chased out Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, who ran a failed attempt to unseat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, and state Sen. Amy Stephens, R-Colorado Springs.
Later state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, also left, but not after accusing Gardner and the GOP of using “corruption and backroom deals” to get onto the ballot.