Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by David Nir
• CO-Sen, -04: This would be huge if true, and it seems like it almost certainly is. According to unnamed sources who spoke with the Denver Post, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is set to make a late—and very unexpected—entry into the race for Senate. Gardner was a top choice for GOP recruiters last year, but he declined a bid against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall since he seemed fast-tracked to move up the leadership ranks in the House. That left Republicans with a pretty weak field that features deeply flawed 2010 nominee Ken Buck at the front of the pack.
But a Gardner candidacy would seriously shake up the race. If he gets in, a huge question would be whether other, more tea-flavored candidates stay in the primary, or whether the field clears. So far, the outlook on that front is unclear. Buck immediately declared thathe’d drop down to run for Gardner’s safely Republican House seat (while denying the fix was in), and the Weekly Standard claims that state Sen. Amy Stephens will also bailon the Senate race.
However, state Sen. Owen Hill sounds like he’s staying put: He said that Gardner “tried to push me out of the race” and denounced the Gardner-Buck switcheroo as “corruption.” Meanwhile, a third state senator also running for Senate, Randy Baumgardner, declared that he’s not going anywhere either. Whether Hill or Baumgardner can emerge as a viable anti-Gardner option, though, remains to be seen.
And if Gardner can vanquish these foes to earn his party’s nomination, Udall will have a very serious race on his hands. Indeed, someone as cautious as Gardner wouldn’t make this leap without some very positive polling. A PPP poll from last April had Udall up 10, but that was a long time ago in Colorado politics, and Democratic fortunes have since headed south.
Assuming we wind up with a Gardner vs. Udall race, that would mean, at the very least, a titanic matchup in the Rockies. It would also further stretch Democrats by forcing them to divert resources from other contests, which is exactly what the party doesn’t need right now. But it’s still no sure thing that Gardner would win the Republican primary, given how often we’ve seen establishment GOPers crash and burn. And that’s certainly what Democrats would have to hope for here….