GOP's most vulnerable senator is struggling to raise enough cash in Colorado


Sen. Cory Gardner raised less than $2 million this quarter, compared to more than $4.3 million raised by Democrats seeking to oust him.

The Republican majority in the Senate is in danger for 2020, and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner's lackluster fundraising totals could help Democrats regain control of the chamber.

Gardner, ranked as the nation's most vulnerable Republican senator by the Washington Post, raised less than $2 million in the past three months, according to data released Thursday by Daily Kos Elections. The five Democrats vying to oust Gardner from the Senate raised a combined $4.3 million during that same time.

"[W]hile it's still early in the election cycle, it looks like fundraising is once again a bullish indicator for Democrats' success, at least in the Senate," FiveThirtyEight's Nathanial Rakich wrote Wednesday. In competitive Senate races, which includes Colorado, "Democrats have raised $34.1 million in total contributions in the first six months of 2019, and Republicans have raised $29.3 million."

Mike Johnson, a former state senator, leads the Democratic pack in fundraising, pulling in just shy of $1.6 million this past quarter and has outraised Gardner in the past six months, even though, as Rakich notes, "incumbents usually raise more money than challengers early on."

Dan Baer, a former Obama administration official and executive director of Colorado's Department of Higher Education, also raised more than $1 million in the past three months, bringing in $1.35 million.

The other Democrats seeking to replace Gardner include John Walsh, Andrew Romanoff, and Alice Madden.

Gardner faces an uphill battle in Colorado, a state that has regularly elected Democrats in the past several years. The state backed Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016, and the 2018 midterms saw Democrats win every statewide elected office and flip the state senate from red to blue.

Gardner has devoted his time in the Senate to steadfastly supporting Trump's agenda, and he has already endorsed Trump's 2020 campaign, even though he declined to support Trump in 2016, saying at the time that he "cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women."

Apparently, that's no longer an issue for Gardner.

Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats need to flip at least three seats and win the White House to regain the majority. Martha McSally, the Republican appointed to fill a vacant seat in Arizona after losing the 2018 election, is also trailing her likely opponent, former astronaut Mike Kelly, in fundraising.

In Maine, Susan Collins has seen her popularity plummet following her controversial support of alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh.

With Gardner's fundraising struggles, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be demoted to minority leader after 2020.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.