New Anti-Choice Candidate Enters Colorado Senate Race

Colorado Republicans traded one anti-choice U.S. Senate candidate for another last week when U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner launched his bid to take on pro-choice Sen. Mark Udall, and Ken Buck dropped out of the race and announced he would be running for Gardner’s House seat instead.

“Democrats will assuredly disagree about Gardner’s chances of ousting Udall but won’t dispute the fact that Colorado just went from nowhere to competitive in the space of the last 24 hours,” wrote Washington Post political analyst Chris Cillizza after the Gardner announcement.

“It’s truly a game changer,” said former Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams on Denver’s KNUS radio Sunday. “By any standard or evaluation [Gardner] is a solid conservative, and yet he can articulate that conservative philosophy and that conservative rhetoric in a way that will be attractive to the swing voters who always determine Colorado elections and who have swung against us over the last ten years.”

Gardner’s conservative record is undeniable, particularly on choice issues. As a Colorado state senator in 2007, he sponsored a bill to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Later, during his first campaign for Congress in 2010, he was an outspoken supporter of a “personhood” amendment that would have banned nearly all abortions but was defeated overwhelmingly by voters. In Congress, among other anti-choice actions, Gardner voted to clarify the meaning of rape by defining it as “forcible rape.”

“I have signed the personhood petition,” Gardner was videotaped saying in 2010. “I have taken the petitions to my church, and circulating into my church.”

Asked about his record by Denver’s KDVR-TV this week, Gardner dodged specifics, as he has repeatedly during his first week of campaigning.

“We’ll have time to talk about issues as we go,” Gardner told KDVR, “but I have a record of fighting for lower taxes, eliminating regulations that don’t make sense, and making sure we’re standing up for every one of us in Colorado.”

“But what I don’t have on my record is voting for Obamacare. Mark Udall voted for Obamacare. It’s destroying this country,” he said.

Gardner will undoubtedly confront questions, and probably political attack ads, highlighting his anti-choice positions as the Senate campaign heats up. In an effort to win the votes of suburban women, who are a key voting bloc in Colorado, Democrats in the state have hammered Republicans in recent elections cycles, in state and local elections, over their votes on choice issues. Political observers point to Buck’s anti-choice positions as a major reason for his loss to pro-choice Sen. Michael Bennet in 2012.

Already, Udall has blasted Gardner’s support for “personhood,” putting it at the top of a list issues painting Gardner as an extremist.

After announcing his candidacy, Gardner quickly became the overwhelming front runner among Republicans vying to take on Udall, after Buck, who was leading the GOP field, dropped out along with another GOP senatorial candidate, State Rep. Amy Stephens. Gardner was the overwhelming choice of Republicans who attended caucuses in Colorado Tuesday night.

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  • Tanya Nguyễn

    No way udall gets upset by this interloper.

  • SamSmart

    This article is amazing. Jason Salzman wants this election to be about abortion. First, Gardner is not the “anti-choice” candidate – he’s the anit- abortion-on- demand candidate. But THIS IS NOT WHAT THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT. Gardner is standing up for a constitutionally limited federal government. Our rights are being trampelled on daily. Obama has his “PEN AND PHONE” and he has Harry Reid doing the dirty work. Hopefully, Cory Gardner can help us win a majority in the Senate and push Harry Reid aside.
    While the liberals are trying to make the November elections about their issues, such as abortion, this is not what the Republicans are talking about. They’re talking about the matters that concern most Americans. So, Mr. Salzman, don’t be too surprised if you have a hard time getting Gardner to talk about abortion – that topic is not what this election is all about.

    • Shan

      “First, Gardner is not the “anti-choice” candidate – he’s the anit- abortion-on- demand candidate.”

      No, Gardner a supporter of “fetal personhood” laws. That’s not “anti-abortion-on-demand” that’s anti-ALL-abortion, ever. Udall was right to say Gardner is an extremist.

      • Jen

        You beat me to it. *grin*

        • Shan

          Well, yeah. There isn’t and never has been any such legal thing as “abortion on demand” and nobody has ever advocated any such legislation so building that up as the legal argument justifying a total ban on abortion from the moment of fertilization via “fetal personhood” laws is just another crazy strawman argument.

      • Renee Goodwin

        Isn’t the “fetal personhood” gimmick also another way to criminalize birth control?

        • Jen

          Sure is. Personhood considers all hormonal and mechanical methods of birth control to be “abortifacients”, and would therefore ban them. Remember, they consider a fertilized egg to be a fully realized human being at FERTILIZATION, not implantation – so anything that could possibly impede implantation would be murder.

    • Jennifer Starr

      That’s what they try to pretend that the election isn’t about–but when they get into office, it’s a different story. That’s what Bob McDumDum did in Virginia.

      • Shan

        Exactly. That’s why Gardner is all dodgy on the subject right now.

    • anja

      Elections are supposed to be about issues but all republicans seem to do is TALK about what concerns Americans. It’s what they actually do that matters and that has amounted to nothing productive. All they seem to focus on is pro-religion, anti-healthcare, anti-abortion, and anti-regulation. All things that are not beneficial to America and a healthy society in general.

      It a sad fact but republicans have run on a pro-choice or neutral policy to get elected and then immediately turn around and become viciously anti-choice. It’s why a candidate’s background needs to be examined closely to look extremist religious ties or previous anti-choice actions before even considering voting for them because once they get into office their beliefs may become their driving issue.

      • Christine svensson

        Why even consider voting for them? I react with my reptilian brain when I see a republican – this one is evil.

    • Dez

      No one can get an abortion on demand. That is a flat out lie by force birthers like you. Most abortions happen in the first trimester and late term abortions are for health reasons. Also the ACA allowed my husband and I to have health insurance for the first time in years. So shove your ignorance up your ass.

    • Arekushieru

      Sorry, but by limited federal government you mean small enough to fit in a woman’s uterus, right? Oops?