FINAL SCORE: 49.3% Gardner vs. 45.2% Udall
Tonight, Cory Gardner defeated incumbent liberal U.S. Senator Mark Udall for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat. This is a huge triumph for Gardner and his team. Team Udall was extraordinarily well funded and theoretically unbeatable.
But, this win was about something much larger. It’s about a dissatisfaction with the status quo in our state and in Washington, D.C. While Mark Udall was a giant in political circles, when it came to standing up for Colorado, Udall was meek. His greatest achievement in the U.S. Senate was his much-crowed about bipartisan seating chart. Coloradans didn’t send Mark Udall to D.C. as their hospitality correspondent. They sent him to deal with real problems and it became abundantly clear that Mark Udall didn’t understand the very basic and harsh realities that Coloradans were facing – lower wages, higher taxes, undependable healthcare coverage.
The problem with Mark Udall is that, compared to many Coloradans, his struggles have not been as real. This sentiment was personified by his single-issue campaign – a campaign focused almost exclusively on women’s reproductive organs. If Mark Udall understood the challenges that everyday Coloradans faced, he couldn’t run such a superficial campaign and look himself in the mirror.
No, this election is a wake-up call to politicians across the country who hope to make women’s sex organs a centerpiece of their campaign messaging. It’s also a rebuke of government overreach. While Mark Udall talked a big game on national security and civil liberties, his actions too often failed to align with his words.
While the election was a rejection of Udall and what he represented, it was equally an embrace of the next generation of Republican politicians and ideas. Whereas Udall had a tough time pointing to any kind of measurable achievement, Gardner often tried new and innovative things. Sometimes, he failed. More often, he got it right. But, more importantly, throughout his campaign, he offered Colorado his optimistic vision for what our state could be and what our country could achieve. The fact of the matter is that while negative campaigning works, it is leading a constituency that attracts. Gardner did this better than any candidate this cycle and voters rewarded him for it. He and his team deserve all the accolades they get.
Beyond the two candidates, this election showed that there is a way to stop the left’s political machine. At some point, plowing money into campaigns no longer works when ideas, campaigns, and candidates are flawed. The left had all the money in the world, but voters stopped believing. To be fair, it took the right several election cycles to catch up to the vast infrastructure that this money enabled. But, when more evenly matched, Republicans’ unbeatable belief in the power of the individual and their rejection of government overreach resonated with voters. Texas, North Carolina, Virginia – you can defeat this machine, but it requires resources and discipline. The spread of soft communism disguised as liberalism stops here and now.
Gardner’s win tonight is his, but make no mistake – this is a victory for all of Colorado and all of the United States. Congratulations.