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UNITED STATES ? DECEMBER 19: Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., speaks during a press conference on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, of Republican freshmen members of Congress to oppose the two-month payroll tax extension bill passed by the Senate over the weekend.(Photo

Sitting on a huge cash advantage, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s reelection campaign hadn’t spent much time attacking any of the Republicans vying to run for his seat this fall.

But that all changed almost as soon as Congressman Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, announced last Wednesday that he was jumping into the Senate race, giving Republicans a top-tier candidate who will present a much stronger challenge than any of the other GOP candidates — and justify millions in outside spending from conservative groups that had been planning to write off the Udall race altogether.

Now, Udall’s campaign is quickly shifting gears, going on offense and trying to define Gardner early in the race as someone whose conservative voting record is outside the mainstream — more conservative even than Ken Buck, one of the former GOP Senate hopefuls now planning to run for Gardner’s House seat.

“We’ve swapped one reckless Tea Partier for another,” said Udall’s campaign manager Adam Dunstone. “But unlike Ken Buck, Congressman Gardner will be held to account for the out-of-touch votes he cast in Congress. His voting record placed him in the top ten most conservative members of the House, while radicals like Rep. Tom Tancredo never cracked the top 50.”

That ranking is courtesy of National Journal, which ranked Gardner as the 10th most conservative member in the House based on his votes in 2012. - KDVR, 3/4/14

Can't blame Udall for going after Gardner early.  He has to and exposing Gardner as an extremist is the way to go because that's what Gardner is:

Cory Gardner -- Tea Party Republican -- wants to be your Senator.

Consider the implications of that. Given the current climate of the U.S. Senate, a single Senator can filibuster a bill and prevent a vote on any piece of legislation. Since 2008, obstructionist Senators have worked to nullify the results of an election that was a national mandate on failed Republican policies. A single Senator - Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, working with Tea Party supporters in the House - ultimately shut down the entire United States government.

An individual Senator can impose his ideology and the ideology of his corporate donors on all Americans, regardless of elections or public opinion.

Cory Gardner wants to be that single Senator. - Huffington Post, 3/3/14

Of course Gardner will hit Udall on Obamacare but he's going to have to come after him with a lot more than that:

A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Coloradans oppose the 2010 law 60 to 37 percent. That's roughly unchanged, when you consider the margin of error, from when Quinnipiac asked Coloradans the same question last November.

The dissatisfaction in Colorado tracks higher than national poll numbers, which show a far closer divide between supporters and opponents.

At the same time, polls also show a majority of Americans either support the current law or want to see it fixed (as opposed to repeal), and are more likely to trust Democrats to handle health care than Republicans.

That's a hurdle for Gardner, who is not just a member of the GOP, but one with a pretty conservative voting record.

Of course, such a record plays well in the 4th Congressional District, which Gardner represents, but it may pose problems for him in a state that has been trending Democratic.

Building support for policy proposals is a far tougher task than beating up on those with ideas. Time will tell whether Gardner is up to the task. - Denver Post, 3/3/14

But Gardner needs to secure his party's nominee first.  Ken Buck and Amy Stephens may have bowed out but State Senator Owen Hill (R. CO), who is backed by the Tea Party Express isn't going anywhere. And Tea Party groups aren't happy about Gardner's late entrance:
In a surprising move, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., opted Wednesday to run against Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck subsequently dropped out of the Senate race to run for Gardner’s 4th District instead. Likewise, state Rep. Amy Stephens reportedly dropped out of the Senate race as well.

But not Hill.

The Tea Party Express backed Buck’s bid for Senate in 2010, but endorsed Hill this cycle. In fact, the Tea Party Express blasted Buck in a Wednesday evening solicitation for donations:

    In a move that reeks of a smoke filled back room D.C. deal, Republican primary front-runner Ken Buck announced that he has dropped out of the race and Congressman Cory Gardner will take his spot in the race. In return for the favor, Ken Buck is going to run for Gardner’s Congressional seat. The  deal also included a trade of endorsements of each other.

    It is evident that the D.C. Republican establishment is worried about the insurgent campaign of conservative Owen Hill and think that their hand-picked candidate will have better luck in defeating the Tea Party.  Congressman Gardner has quickly become popular with the Washington, D.C. Republican establishment crowd and even joined the ranks of the Republican leadership last year. - Roll Call, 2/27/14

Hill is also a birther and joked about Obama being from Kenya.  So this could be an interesting primary.  But lets not count on that completely.  If you wanted to donate or get involved with Udall's re-election campaign, you can do so here:
U.S. Senator Mark Udall speaks during a memorial service marking the anniversary of the Tuscon shooting, at the University of Arizona campus January 8, 2012. Bells tolled, girls in white dresses danced and clergymen offered up prayers in Tucson on Sunday, one year after the shooting spree that left six people dead and 13 others wounded, among them Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. REUTERS/Laura Segall (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANNIVERSARY CRIME LAW POLITICS) - RTR2W1KH

Originally posted to pdc on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:51 PM PST.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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