Sen. Gardner trails in polls but intends to shift the tide

‘Everything that I do, I try to make sure it includes everybody from both sides the aisle,’ Gardner says

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Co., and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will face off in a live Senate debate Friday, as the two candidates gear up for the last few weeks of a contentious race.

Hickenlooper has led in the polls for several months, fluctuating from a five to nine-point lead over Gardner since August.

But Gardner says he is a “fighter for Colorado” and has a plan to shift the tide as ballots hit the U.S. Postal Service Friday, initiating early voting in the Centennial state.

“John Hickenlooper is about himself. He can’t answer for his ethical violations, he can’t answer for his failures of leadership…and the radical job-killing agenda he wants to put in place if he gets elected,” Gardner told Fox News Friday.  

“I look forward to driving that contrast,” he added, making clear that his strategy in the lead up to the election is to draw a stark divide between the two candidates.

Gardner has repeatedly accused Hickenlooper of “ethics violations” while on the campaign trail. And while speaking with Fox News Friday, he doubled down on the issue, saying that he would like to get answers as to whether or not Hickenlooper broke the law by using money from a federal post-9/11 economic recovery fund, to pay for personal legal fees.

“John Hickenlooper took countless corporate jet trips around the country in violation of the state constitution -- and the state’s independent ethics commission found him in violation of two counts of the constitution,” Gardner said.

According to Hickenlooper, the reason he has been attacked so much during the campaign for his ethics violations was because the people and groups running ads in favor of Gardner couldn’t defend his voting record.

“Cory Gardner can’t run on his record,” Hickenlooper said at the first debate last week, reports The Durango Herald.

Hickenlooper’s campaign could not be reached for comment by Fox News.

But Hickenlooper isn’t the only candidate to take heat for previous decisions made will in office.

In 2016 Gardner sided with the then-GOP led Senate and blocked President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, from being reviewed after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

“[T]he next president of the United States should have the opportunity to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court,” Gardner wrote in a press release in March of 2016, before referencing then-Vice President Joe Biden’s previous stance on filling a Supreme Court seat during an election year.

“In 1992, even then-Senator Joe Biden stated the Senate should not hold confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee until after that year’s presidential election,” Gardner wrote. “Our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in this process.”

Gardner announced in late September that he would confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett.

Two days later Cook’s Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, had moved the Colorado race from a “toss up” to “lean Democrat,” signaling that election analysts considered Gardner’s decision to be the nail in the coffin for his campaign, due to Colorado’s recent history of trending blue. 

Democrats opposed to filling the Supreme Court  seat, immediately pointed to Gardner’s change in stance, particularly his changing view from 2016 where he claimed the "next election is too soon."

“It’s in line with our precedent, and that’s simply what I was referring to in 2016 and what I am referring to today,” Gardner told Fox News. “Our precedent states that we are under no restriction or prevention…to nominate and confirm a Supreme Court justice.”


Though Democrats have claimed that the precedent GOP Senators set in 2016 dictates that they should hold off on the confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice.

Gardner seemingly argued that the GOP “precedent” is to follow what the majority wants to do, rather than what they have previously argued.  

“The American people are absolutely making this decision, that’s why we have a Senate majority…we maintained the majority and I’m following precedent.”

Gardner acknowledged the tough fight ahead as the Nov. 3 General Election draws nearer, but said this was expected in the traditionally purple state.

“I think voters have gone through very tough times, and they want somebody that they know is going to get them back on the right track,” he said, adding that the best way to reach all voters is through “bipartisanship.”