Vulnerable GOP senator spends entire August break hiding from his constituents


Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has been hiding from Coloradans while insisting that listening to constituents is 'the single most important part' of his job.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spent his August vacation avoiding the citizens of his state, according to multiple news reports.

On Tuesday, Gardner toured a couple of food production facilities in Greeley, but the public was not invited to attend. On the same day and in the same city, a group of activists brought a cardboard cutout of Gardner, dubbed "Cardboard Cory," to draw attention to Gardner's lack of announced public events.

Gardner "hasn't done a public event that's been announced ahead of time so people could actually attend in years," Laura Packard, an activist touring the state with "Cardboard Cory," told the Greeley Tribune.

The Gardner campaign claimed that Gardner participated in "several public events, including walking tours and award presentations." But the issue, according to Packard, is that Gardner does not publicly announce such events ahead of time, thereby limiting the ability of Coloradans to attend and hear from their senator.

According to the Coloradan, Gardner's last town hall that was open to the general public was in November 2017, almost two years ago.

One of Gardner's events, an Aug. 13 forum hosted by the Eagle County Republicans, was made public in part because a Democratic state senator found out about it and tweeted out the details hours before the event started.

Even reporters are curious as to why Gardner does not publicize events that are open to the public.

"Why not publicize more of your events?" a local KDVR reporter asked Gardner shortly after the Eagle County event. "As you know, a lot of times they kind of have to find you, we have to find you." The reporter went on, asking why Gardner did not have a public schedule, as many public officials do.

In a campaign fundraising email, the Gardner campaign insisted "the single most important part" of Gardner's job is to "listen to all Coloradans and what matters to them."

But the senator doesn't make that easy to do.

"Meeting with your constituents is a basic job requirement for a U.S. Senator, but Cory Gardner has spent all month running away from questions about his out-of-touch record on health care, climate change, immigration reform and expanding background checks," Alyssa Roberts, spokesperson for the Colorado Democratic Party, said in a statement. "How can Coloradans expect Senator Gardner to fight for us when he won't even take the time to listen?"

Gardner faces a tough reelection race in 2020, and several Democrats are vying for the opportunity to run against him, including former Gov. John Hickenlooper, who dropped out of the presidential race earlier this week.

Colorado supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, and after the 2018 election, Democrats now control both legislative chambers and the governor's mansion.

Despite the state trending toward Democrats, Gardner already enthusiastically endorsed Trump's 2020 campaign and refuses to moderate his far-right position against gun safety legislation, even in the wake of multiple mass shootings.

Activists like Packard would very much like to talk to Gardner about some of these issues.

"Where's the schedule?" Packard asked the Greeley Tribune. "I'd love to attend a walking tour, but where's his schedule?"

Until Gardner announces a public town hall, Packard will have to settle for talking to "Cardboard Cory."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.