After The Denver Post declared this month that its 2014 endorsement of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was a big mistake, former Post owner Dean Singleton got a call from Gardner himself.
“After the editorial ran, he called me, just to chat,” Singleton told the Colorado Times Recorder.
“And I told him that I certainly couldn’t vote for him again, but when he goes back to Yuma in 2021 to sell tractors, I’d be happy to buy a tractor from him.” (Singleton owns ranches and buys tractors.)
“Cory is a gentleman,” Singleton continued. “He said, ‘I respectfully disagree.’ And I said, ‘That’s what democracy is all about. And I suspect the voters of Colorado may disagree with you when they cast their ballots in November of 2020.’
“I mean I don’t know that, and we don’t even know who will run against him. But if you are a U.S. Senator, and you put your hand on the Bible and you swear to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States, and when you fail that test, you ought not be a U.S. Senator.”
Singleton is no longer on the Denver Post’s editorial board, as he was in 2014 when the newspaper endorsed Gardner.
But prior to writing the mea culpa editorial on Gardner, Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Megan Schrader reached out to Singleton for his thoughts on the senator.
“The concern that Megan has had, and I share, is that he just simply has not, and shows no evidence that he ever will, distance himself from the president,” said Singleton. “And The Post has opposed many many things the president has done. And I think the final straw was that The Post believed, and I concur, that his vote against the resolution of disapproval, was a major vote against the separation of powers between the Congress and the president.”
Singleton said this wasn’t a mere political disagreement but a vote to “weaken the Constitution, and that’s a lot worse than a political position.”
Asked if he thought The Post’s process for endorsing Gardner in his 2014 race against U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat, was flawed–or if the newspaper should have seen Gardner’s unstatesman-like behavior coming–Singleton flatly said “no.”
In Singleton’s view, Udall bombed his 2014 candidate interview with The Denver Post editorial board. In particular, when asked by then Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll why Udall was not seen very often in Colorado, Udall said he’d rather spend time with his family when he’s home from Washington on the weekends, “to which, Vince Carroll says, why do you want to be a U.S. Senator if you don’t want to spend time with your constituents on the weekends?”
“The board at the time felt he wasn’t very effective, but his answer to Vince’s question put it over the top, and The Post endorsed Cory, believing that he would be a young firebrand to do things across party lines for Colorado,” said Singleton. “So the Post endorsed Cory, and he won by such a small, small margin that The Post felt that its endorsement probably made a difference.”
“You can’t expect every office holder to agree with you every time,” said Singleton, in explaining that, for him, Gardner’s record goes beyond reasonable expectations of disagreement.