Denver Post’s Gardner endorsement is misguided

Sean Kennedy

Last week, the Denver Post surprised voters across Colorado by publicly endorsing Cory Gardner for Senate over the Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. Many people were left to wonder what drove the top newspaper in one of the most liberal parts of the state to endorse a conservative candidate. The answer appears to be a lack of fact checking, as the Denver Post’s endorsement of Cory Gardner more than misses the mark.

The Post began their endorsement by highlighting the abysmal conditions in Congress and espoused their belief that Gardner would bring “fresh leadership, ideas and energy” to the Senate. What the Post’s Editorial Board seems to have overlooked in this case is that Cory Gardner is in fact a current member of Congress. While I will certainly not dispute the need for change in Washington, I am still confused as to how a Congress insider represents “fresh leadership,” especially one whose track record so glaringly refutes that.

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Has the Post forgotten that Cory Gardner joined House Republicans in voting 50 times to repeal Obamacare? Did they disregard all the taxpayer money he used on that blatant waste of time?  Gardner represents the 4th district of Colorado in Congress, which composes a majority of the eastern half of the state, including his hometown of Yuma. Does the Post remember when Yuma and four other counties in Gardner’s district voted to secede from Colorado? While the failed movement of the 51st state certainly was a “fresh, new idea,” I don’t think that’s what the Post had in mind with their endorsement (at least I hope not). Cory Gardner’s campaign is geared towards change in Washington, but the history of him and his district paint a picture of a people more focused on removing government policies than changing anything about them. All politicians talk about “change,” but these actions of Gardner’s and his district speak far louder than any words he has to offer, and this extends to his social policies.

In their endorsement of Gardner, the Post expressed their frustration with Mark Udall’s “one-issue campaign,” and espoused their belief that Gardner had changed his stance on abortion and women’s issues. While I agree that Udall has devoted too much energy to this issue (frankly, he has little else to stand on), the public should not be easily dissuaded from this argument. Gardner only changed his views on personhood in May, well into the race for Senate. Based on the voting record of the 4th District of Colorado and the Republican party in general, it is very generous to assume that Gardner’s softened stance is anything more than voter bait.

The Denver Post seems to have bought in to the vision of Cory Gardner as a “new Republican,” when his record shows him to be anything but that. He does an excellent job of representing the interests of the 4th District in Colorado. However, the collective actions of his constituents and himself show that he does not represent the majority of Colorado, much less the nation. In a state thirsting for new ideas and fresh leadership, Gardner does not offer what we have in mind.

Collegian Senior Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter at @seanskenn.