By Stan Bush
DENVER (CBS4)– Protesters are comparing Republican Sen. Cory Gardner to the Baltimore Colts for relocating his field office from the Chase Building in downtown Denver to a federal courthouse before announcing the move to voters.
The Colts left for their new home in Indianapolis in the middle of the night in 1984, which was a surprise for their fans.
“It seems like we can’t nail him down on policy issues much less where he is,” says Katie Farnan with Indivisible Front Range Resistance.
Gardner moved after weeks of protests swarmed his office during the height of the Obamacare repeal effort. A Gardner spokesman says the office moved out because protests were disrupting neighboring businesses.
“This is something we have discussed for a while, and we thought a government building would be best for our constituent services,” Gardner released in a statement.
In June, a nearly a dozen handicapped protesters were arrested after camping out in the lobby of Gardner’s field office and refusing to leave. Gardner asked on Friday that those protesters not be charged.
But protesters have criticized Gardner’s move because he did not announce it during a telephone town hall held Wednesday night. Instead, the move was announced Friday morning after moving operation were underway.
“The question is to why a senator who says his most important, the thing that’s most important to him is hearing from constituents, then why he would choose to be in a building like this,” says Farnan.
Gardner’s new office is in the U.S. Custom House, a federal bankruptcy court at 19th and Stout Street. Visitors will have to pass through security to enter and face U.S. Marshals if they refuse to leave.
Farnan says Gardner is retreating behind a wall as Republicans face an avalanche of public anger.
“You have to face your harshest critics if you have ideas that effect everybody and that’s just how it is,” says Farnan.
In Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio faces a similar dilemma. A landlord evicted the Republican’s Tampa field office because protesters were disrupting private businesses. Rubio has not been able to secure a lease in the area since and his staff has turned to taking constituent calls at local coffee shops.
Democrats are also considering different office accommodations as political anger flourishes. Sen. Michael Bennet’s office also says they are “considering moving for a host of reasons. Security is always a consideration.”