DENVER — Republican Rep. Cory Gardner won a decisive victory in the hard-fought Colorado Senate contest Tuesday, defeating Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in a stunning turnaround in the blue-trending state.
With 88 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Gardner held 50 percent of the vote to Mr. Udall’s 44 percent, making the Republican the first challenger to defeat an incumbent Colorado senator since 1978.
“As Republicans in Colorado, we’ve gotten used to the saying, ‘Wait until the next election.’ Well, I’ve got news for you. That next election, it finally happened,” Mr. Gardner told an elated Republican crowd.
Mr. Udall, 64, was once viewed as nearly unbeatable, but President Obama’s plummeting approval rating, along with 340,000 health-insurance cancellations in the wake of Obamacare, made him vulnerable to a Republican challenge.
Democrats’ worst fears were realized in March when Mr. Gardner entered the race, clearing the Republican field and proving unexpectedly impervious to the Udall campaign’s “war on women” strategy.
For the last month, polls have shown the 40-year-old Gardner with a slight lead, although often within the margin of error. The two-term congressman, calling himself a “new kind of Republican,” has run on a platform emphasizing economic growth and energy development.
Mr. Udall has accused Mr. Gardner of wanting to restrict women’s access to birth control via personhood measures, but the Republican swung back by calling for oral contraceptives to be made available over the counter.
Mr. Udall’s attention to the “war on women” eventually appeared to backfire on him. He was nicknamed “Mark Uterus,” and the Denver Post endorsed Mr. Gardner, citing the Democratic senator’s “obnoxious single-issue campaign.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.