DENVER (CBS4) – More than 400,000 Coloradans have already cast their ballots in Campaign 2020 as of Friday afternoon and recent polling shows challenger Democrat John Hickenlooper has about a 10 point lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race.

CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd sat down with analysts Democrat Mike Dino and Republican Dick Wadhams to talk about the race Thursday morning. Both agreed Gardner faces an uphill battle.

“It’s going to be tough,” Dino said. “Six years ago, 110,00 more Republicans voted than Democrats. What we saw in 2018, there were more Democrats voting than Republicans … and that trend is continuing.”

“Even today with about 300,000 votes already in, which some people are saying is really high, the Democrats definitely have the … plurality, 46% to 33%. Cory might have some enthusiasm but the reality is he needs his voters to show up.”

Boyd pointed out she had received texts saying some Republicans are holding off in order to vote in person.

And Wadhams said he believes that gap will narrow.

“There still is a great deal of enthusiasm among Republicans for the president and Cory Gardner but I’m not going to to kid you or anybody else, Trump is a liability to Cory Gardner.”

“It comes under the heading of life isn’t fair and neither is politics. Cory has run a magnificent campaign, he’s probably one of the best candidates we’ve ever fielded for statewide office in decades. John Hickenlooper, in my opinion, has been a miserable candidate with a campaign to match. Yet he might win this race solely because of the national political winds.”

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs.

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks with President Donald Trump on stage during a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20 in Colorado Springs. (credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

“That’s just the brutal reality. I think Mike and I have both been in politics long enough to know that sometimes there are factors beyond your control. In this case, that’s the case with Cory.”

The trio also discussed how the hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett impacts our Senate race.

“National polls show the support for Amy Coney Barrett has risen dramatically as the nomination has been more exposed to the electorate,” Wadhams said, “and as she has performed this week. I think she’s terribly impressive.”

“I think the Democrats have looked a little desperate at times with their questioning. I think she has shown shown she is going to be a fantastic justice. If anything she is an asset to Cory but I don’t think it’s going to be determinative in this campaign, but she’s a been a real asset.”

“She’s going to be approved next week which will dramatically change the court. The Democrats are right about one thing, the Supreme Court is going to be dramatically different with her on the court.”

Boyd asked about how both sides are using the nomination to mobilize their bases.

“I think this nomination motivates the most ardent parts of each party,” Dino said. “Certainly on the right, the conservatives are getting what they want it and it reinforces why they supported the president. The Democrats, particularly the most liberal, are like, ‘This is why we’ve got to rid of this guy.'”

“I think it comes down to the personality race between the president and Joe Biden.”

Dick Wadhams is Republican political consultant who has worked with former Colorado Senator Wayne Allard and former Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He also worked on John Thune’s upset victor over then United States Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota. Wadhams was elected as the Chair of the Colorado Republican Party in 2007 and 2009.

Mike Dino is a Democratic government affairs expert with more than 30 years of experience. He was the CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Host Committee where President Obama received his historic nomination. Dino also served as the executive director of Denver’s Task Force for the 1997 Summit of the Eight.

Raetta Holdman