Meet The Freshmen is a weekly series on OUTSET in which Blake Humphrey profiles an incoming Republican Senator. This week’s profile is on Cory Gardner of Colorado.[hr]
Colorado went for President Barack Obama – twice. In 2008, the then Illinois Senator carried the Rocky Mountain State with 53% of the vote to Arizona Senator John McCain’s 44%. At the same time, Congressman Mark Udall was vying to become Republican Wayne Allard’s successor, and he proved successful by beating his Republican opponent by a similar margin to Obama. In 2012, Colorado seemed like a true ‘tossup’, and many believed that Mitt Romney could win the State. But, for Romney, Colorado turned into a lost cause. President Obama was given 51% verses Romney’s 46%.
In 2014, Colorado proved to be a prime example of President Obama’s “My Policies Are on the Ballot” comment. One-term Democratic Senator Mark Udall elected on the wave of Obama’s popular fervor in 2008, fell victim to a hostile environment against President Obama and his liberal agenda. Udall, a political legacy in some regard, was defeated in one of the Nation’s closest Senate contests by Congressman Cory Gardner, a Republican who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010.
Colorado proved to be the demise of the Democrats. Some experts believed that the toxicity of the environment would not be felt in Colorado, but Obama’s approval rating, which hovers in the State at a historic low of 39%, brought Udall down, and almost took Governor John Hickenlooper out with him.
Cory Gardner, a former General Counsel and Legislative Director for Senator Wayne Allard, former Member of the Colorado House of Representatives and 2-term Congressman pulled off one of the cycles biggest upsets. With 48% of the vote, Gardner edged out Udall who took only 46%, a 6% drop from his electoral victory in 2008.
Gardner, who was once seen as a potential future Majority Leader or even Speaker of the House, has now been catapulted into the Senate, representing one of the nation’s true ‘Purple States’. Gardner, who is 40, was born in Yuma, Colorado. He attended Colorado State University, and then attended University of Colorado Boulder for his Law degree. He is married to Jaime Gardner. The couple has a daughter and a son.