By Shaun Boyd

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is talking for the first time about what the 2018 election foretells for his future. Gardner is up for re-election in 2020.

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks outside Molecular Products on Thursday. (credit: CBS)

We caught up with him at the opening of Molecular Products, a new high tech manufacturing plant in Louisville, that he helped make happen.

Accomplishments like that, he says, are what he’ll focus on in his campaign.

ELECTION RESULTS: See The Complete Colorado 2018 General Election Results

An eternal optimist, Gardner believes Coloradans will vote based on the policies he’s championed, not the politics of the president.

“I will continue to work every day for the best interests of this state to make sure the people of Colorado have a strong voice. Wages are going up, more and more people have jobs and business confidence is growing. That’s what I think this is about.”

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd interviews Gardner. (credit: CBS)

Gardner has been the subject of relentless and sometimes vicious attacks by Democrats since he took office, but some Republicans too have criticized him for not being conservative enough.

“My goal is to win over the people of Colorado. It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. This is about making sure every single day we focus on what is best for the state and I never look at that through the lens of who’s right or who’s left, who’s red or who’s blue. I look at that from a four corners perspective.”

A rural Coloradan from Yuma, Gardner recalls why he ran for office in the first place, “One of the reasons I ran for the state legislature years ago was to make sure that the quietest voices had a loud voice representing them. I don’t know what will happen. I’m not worried about what will happen. What I’m worried about is that we’re taking care of the people of this great state. We know we’ll have done our job when everybody looks at this and says, ‘alright Cory, you’ve done right and we’re going to support you because you’ve always kept our best interests in your mind.'”

(credit: CBS)

One bright spot for Republicans in 2018 was that they managed to widen their lead in the U.S. Senate. As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Gardner led the fundraising that made those wins possible. That networking will serve him well as he pads his own coffers for the 2020 race.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.