Today, Vice President Mike Pence is in Colorado to boost the re-election efforts of Sen. Cory Gardner, (R-CO), and President Donald Trump.
Pence is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for Gardner in Windsor before flying to Aspen to headline a similar event for Trump.
“We’re going to be campaigning hard here for Cory Gardner, and we’re going to campaigning hard for our re-election in 2020, so get ready Colorado,” Pence told Fox 31 reporter Joe St. George.
“We’re going to bring a winning message of this team and of Cory Gardner straight through election day,” he said.
Neither of Pence’s appearances — one of which is reportedly at a club owned by two gay men — will be open to the public. That’s a strategy Gardner, who hasn’t held a town hall since 2017, is very familiar with.
Interestingly, Gardner won’t even be appearing alongside Pence at his own fundraiser.
“Senator Gardner not attending the Windsor fundraiser with VP Pence,” Joe St. George of Fox 31 tweeted earlier today. “Gardner’s wife will be attending in his place.”
The senator couldn’t attend, St. George continued, because he apparently needed to be in D.C. to vote on the Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper.
But the Colorado Democratic Party sent out a press release suggesting Gardner skipped out on his own event to avoid being tethered to the Trump administration.
“Given Trump’s deep unpopularity in Colorado, it should come as no surprise that vulnerable Senator Cory Gardner is avoiding a public event with Trump’s VP,” Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll said in an online statement.
“But hiding from a photo-op can’t erase Gardner’s record of staunch support of Trump’s divisive agenda,” she said, “Nor will it stop Coloradans from rejecting both Gardner and Trump in 2020.”
Other Democratic notables from across the state chimed in, too.
“The Trump-Pence Administration has sabotaged civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights and immigrant rights,” said a press release from Andrew Romanoff – one of several Democratic candidates looking to take Gardner’s seat.
“At every step of his career, the Vice President has fought against the values we share as Coloradans,” Romanoff continued. “That doesn’t seem to bother Cory Gardner.”
Alice Madden – another Colorado Democrat hoping to unseat Gardner in 2020 – took the senator’s non-attendance as a chance to discuss his record on the environment.
She retweeted an activist who implored Gardner to ask Esper about climate change while he’s “ducking” Pence at today’s D.C. hearing – something Madden suggested he would never do.
Many have noted the private, decidedly donor-oriented nature of today’s two events.
“The GOP knows how unpopular and vulnerable Donald Trump is, which is why they’re sending Vice President Pence and other members of Team Trump for closed-door fundraisers for Senator Cory Gardner and Republicans instead of a public event,” Carroll said.
She said between his “tax giveaway to the ultra-wealthy and his multiple attacks on Coloradans’ healthcare coverage, Donald Trump has done nothing to endear himself to Colorado since we rejected him in 2016.”
Carroll went on to suggest that “perhaps these private fundraisers are a sign that [Republicans have] finally given up their desperate attempt to turn our state red.”