One of GOP's most vulnerable senators in 'toxic territory' for 2020


If the election were held today, Colorado's Sen. Cory Gardner would lose to a Democratic candidate.

After Democrats took back the House in the 2018 election, some Democrats already have their eye on taking back the Senate in 2020. And one of the Republicans most vulnerable incumbents, Colorado's Sen. Cory Gardner, is already showing signs of weakness.

A new poll from Change Research shows half of Colorado voters have unfavorable feelings toward Gardner, compared to only 38 percent with favorable feelings. Further, the poll shows that if the election were held today, Gardner would lose to a Democratic candidate by six points, 47 percent to 41 percent.

"Cory Gardner is in politically toxic territory," said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, the group that commissioned the poll. "Coloradans have had four years of experience with Cory Gardner as their Senator, and they don't like what they see," he added.

Gardner certainly faces a tough road ahead in an increasingly blue Colorado. In the 2018 midterms, Democrats won every major statewide race, kept control of the state House, and flipped control of the state Senate from red to blue. Additionally, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman's seat was one of more than 40 that Republicans lost  as Democrats re-took control of the House of Representatives. Republicans did not flip any House seats from red to blue.

Democrats are so eager to oust Gardner that he already has one announced challenger, and more are sure to join the fray.

In the meantime, Gardner is showing no signs of distancing himself from Trump, even after the 2018 election results show a more progressive Colorado. As Trump lashes out against special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Gardner still refuses to support bipartisan legislation to protect the investigation. And despite claiming to support the investigation, Gardner belittled the attempt by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) as "playing politics."

Immediately after the 2018 midterms, the Denver Post reported that Republican operatives were worried Gardner was in trouble "unless the party can develop a new message that appeals to both the Trump loyalists and the independent voters who dislike the president."

Of course, this is only one poll, and the election is 23 months away. Even so, it looks like Gardner has an uphill battle in front of him.

"The results of the 2018 elections and this new poll send a clear message that Cory Gardner's time is running out," says Silverii.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.