Cory Gardner's Decision Changes Everything

An earthquake hit Colorado politics on Wednesday afternoon, and the tremors are being felt in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Cory Gardner, a second-term Republican from the small town of Yuma on Colorado’s eastern plains, announced (or at least it was reported that he was about to announce) his intention to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Udall rather than seek an essentially certain re-election.

Gardner’s move puts Udall, already struggling against barely-known Republicans, in a position where the next polls will likely show him losing his seat to the quarter-century-younger Gardner.

As is typical of Colorado Republican politics lately, the Republican field contending for the Senate seat was, while not a complete disaster, an uninspiring group of at least seven candidates, most of whom had little name recognition and even less money.

The GOP Senate front-runner (at least until Wednesday afternoon), was Ken Buck, former Weld County District Attorney, who narrowly lost the 2010 Senate race to Michael Bennet, an undistinguished slice of political milquetoast, with what most people thought were a series of unforced errors by Buck, including saying on Meet the Press that he believed homosexuality is a choice (which he then compared to alcoholism.)

To be fair, Buck has learned a lot from those mistakes and will be a much better candidate in 2014. However, many (including me) who would like to see him in office representing Colorado dread a flood of replays of 2010 videos which allowed the left to portray him as a “extremist” and caused Buck to lose the women’s vote by 17 percent — and to lose an election in which he had been consistently leading in the polls.

Within hours of Cory Gardner’s entry into the Senate race, Mr. Buck — who clearly knew this was coming — announced that he was dropping out of the contest, endorsing Gardner, and running for Gardner’s current congressional seat, a district that includes Ken Buck’s home and in which he is a well-known and well-respected figure. In effect, Gardner and Buck switched campaigns.

Buck’s move represents the significance of Gardner’s entry into the Colorado Senate race, namely that unless there is an enormous negative about Cory that suddenly becomes known, he is a shoo-in for the nomination.

Please read the rest of my article for The American Spectator here:

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