On Tuesday, Congressman Cory Gardner announced that he would not seek the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall.  Gardner, a rising star in the House of Representatives, was unlikely to face a primary challenger if he had chosen to run, and with his announced non-candidacy, the Republican field is wide open for next year’s Senate race.  Given Gardner’s popularity among the electorate, Democrats were understandably pleased with his decision.

Udall spokesman, Mike Saccone, over-reached in his statement to the Denver Post by alluding to Udall’s elusive list of accomplishments:

“This news does not come as a surprise considering Senator Udall’s long record of achievements, his bipartisan approach and his strong support from Coloradans.”

As the Peak has noted in the past, Udall has actually accomplished very little during his tenure in the U.S. Senate.  But, that’s never stopped Udall and his proponents from highlighting his rarely-enumerated achievements.  In contrast, Gardner has already begun transforming into a political heavyweight at the young age of 38.  According to the Denver Post:

“Among Republican leadership, Gardner is considered a rising star. Also, the Capitol Hill media often use him as the go-to Republican on national stories because of his mastery on policy and his deftness in delivering easy, understandable answers.”

Gardner is also developing into one of the most reliable conservative fundraisers on the Hill.  He is currently the co-chair of the NRCC Patriot Program, an important committee within the NRCC that focuses on helping incumbent Republican members who are in close races.

For example, Rep. Mike Coffman is one of the 11 participants in the Patriot Program, and Gardner has been working on Coffman’s behalf to help him with fundraising needed for his 2014 campaign.

With a Senate run off the table for now, Gardner can focus on his expanding leadership responsibilities at the national level within the party and in Congress.  His rising stature is going to do nothing but help the conservative movement, in general, and Coloradans, in particular.