GOP's most vulnerable senator already has his first challenger


Democrat Lorena Garcia has announced her candidacy against Trump loyalist Cory Gardner.

One of 2020's most vulnerable Republicans, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, has already picked up a Democratic challenger.

"It's time for a new voice in the U.S. Senate," Lorena Garcia said in a statement announcing her candidacy. "I'm running because we need innovative leaders who will work on behalf of the interests of every Coloradan, not for political self-interest," she added.

Republican insiders are already worried about Gardner's prospects, even though the election is two years away. His staunch loyalty to Trump, including his vote to rip away health care protections from individuals with pre-existing conditions, could hurt his chances in a state that increasingly supports Democrats.


Colorado voters backed President Obama twice, and supported Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.

In the 2018 midterm, Colorado voters ousted Republicans from control of the state Senate, and they elected Democrat Jared Polis as the nation's first openly gay governor.

Two outlets that keep a close eye on congressional races, Roll Call and the Hill, call Gardner one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country.

While Garcia was the first to formally announce her bid, the Denver Post notes several other Democrats could compete with her to earn the opportunity to challenge Gardner.

Political insiders are keeping their eye on four potential candidates: Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, and Gov. John Hickenlooper.

"It's going to be a crowded field," Ian Silverii, executive director of Progress Now Colorado, told the Post.

Republicans are already showing signs of weakness ahead of 2020. In Mississippi, a racist, confederate-loving Trump loyalist won by less than 8 points in a deep-red Mississippi special election.

In the West, Democrats can build on the momentum from 2018. In the midterm, Democrats ousted Sen. Dean Heller from Nevada, and elected Kyrsten Sinema to fill retiring Sen. Jeff Flake's seat.

The Democrats' path to a Senate majority runs through Colorado, and less than a month after the 2018 midterms, candidates are already lining up to oust Gardner.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.