(CBS4) – One of the most competitive Senate races in the nation is right here in Colorado, where first-term incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is facing former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd talked with Gardner via Zoom from his home in Yuma as the Republican National Convention got underway Monday, asking him why he wasn’t invited to speak at the convention.
“I’ve never spoken at a convention before and I don’t think anybody would want to listen to a boring speech by me,” he answered. “I love to do this, to be in Colorado to go across the state. Today alone I was in four different counties talking to people across Colorado. I’ll continue to do that.”
Body asked for his thoughts about the couple from St. Louis who stood outside their home with guns as protesters marched by. They called those protesters Marxist liberals and were part of a theme that the Democrats would ruin suburban America.
“What do you say to those who feel like President Trump is pitting white suburbs against Black Lives Matter for votes?” Boyd inquired.
“I don’t think it’s right to pit anyone against anyone,” Gardner said, “but what we have to realize is rightful protesters need to have the ability to speak to their concerns. George Floyd touched our souls in a way nothing has in recent memory and we need to learn from that, to act and respond accordingly so that we never see that tragedy repeated again.”
The senator did say it’s unfortunate others are throwing bricks through the windows at the Colorado State Capitol along with other acts of vandalism because they are overshadowing the peaceful message, saying he hears safety concerns from across Colorado.
“Remember we can’t let that violence, we can’t let those violent actors overshadow the true voices for reform in our state, in our country.”
The Republican National Committee has made an historic investment in Colorado this year with 12 field offices, 50 paid staffers and 17,000 volunteers. The party says there are plenty of silent Trump supporters in Colorado, and Gardner echoed that opinion.
“I think a lot of the silent majority that people may talk about is off the I-25 corridor,” he said. “It’s the Eastern Plains, it’s the Western Slope. It’s 20 percent of the counties in Colorado who tried to secede under John Hickenlooper because he called rural Coloradans ‘backwards’ and they just needed to get rid of some of their beliefs so they would fit in with the people of Colorado. I think they are people who feel like they’ve been forgotten.”
Boyd pointed out Gardner did not vote for the president in 2016, asking why he supports him now.
Instead, Gardner took on the Democratic ticket. “I think we know what Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would do to this country. Kamala Harris wants to take away the health insurance from 160 million Americans who get it through their employer.”
“Joe Biden wants to put 230,000 oil and gas workers in Colorado out of business. Together John Hickenlooper and Joe Biden have said they will perpetrate the biggest tax increases in the history of our country, destroy our energy economy. Both of them have said they want to send Colorado down the direction of socialist government-run health. That’s not the kind of solution we need at a time when we’re recovering economically from the biggest health and economic crisis we’ve seen in over a generation.”
When asked what he hoped the RNC would convey, Gardner had a much sunnier answer.
“This country is full of optimism, is full of a pioneering spirit that remains today. It’s a nation that looks forward to the next horizon. It’s a nation that right here in Colorado looks up to that great Rocky Mountain horizon and knows that we can climb it, we can get to the next. And that’s how we look, from peak to peak, not valley to valley.”