When he was first running for Congress in 2010, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) promised that voters could hold him “accountable once the election is over” by, among other things, attending his “town meetings.”
But Gardner hasn’t held a town meeting in over two years.
In a 2010 interview with the Franklin Institute, a few months prior to entering Congress with his defeat of Democratic U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Gardner said he looked forward to constituents who would “hold our feet to the fire, who will attend our town meetings, who will contact the office, email us, call us, when they see us on the streets, making sure we’re doing what we said we would do.”
By being accessible in these ways, Gardner said he’d be “accountable for [his] actions once the election is over.”
A call to Gardner’s office asking about his promise to be accountable to constituents was not returned.
This isn’t the first time Gardner has gone over a year without holding a town hall meeting.
Cardboard Cory: Folk Hero
The Gardner cutout, dubbed “Cardboard Cory,” went on to become a folk hero among Gardner’s opponents and others, appearing on Twitter, Facebook, and at events all over Colorado.
As pressure mounted, Gardner finally surprised political observers by announcing he’d hold not one but three in-person town hall meetings on the same day, apparently trying to dilute the expected onslaught from the public. He started in Colorado Springs in the morning, then moved to Greeley and Lakewood (Colorado Christian University).
A Denver Post headline summarized the string of town halls this way: “On a ‘rowdy day’ of three town halls, Cory Gardner is shouted down by crowds.”
Now, Cardboard Cory is again holding meetings while Gardner is not. Activists even featured the cutout on a statewide bus tour last year.