In a recent fundraising email, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) trumpeted his support from U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Donald Trump, Jr., U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona, and Joni Ernst of Iowa—all of whom implored Gardner backers to donate to his campaign now or risk seeing the Democrats take over the U.S. Senate.
In the email, Gardner quoted McConnell as saying that Democrats are targeting Colorado, in particular, and Republicans need to respond in kind.
“You see, Chuck Schumer knows just how important it is to win this battleground Senate race. It’s so important to the far-Left to win that they’ve committed to spending tens of millions of dollars in Colorado,” said McConnell in the email.
Similarly, Donald Trump, Jr. was quoted in the Gardner email, obtained from a source, as saying, “We must stay ahead. Cory’s fight is far from over. Without your help, we could lose this seat, and possibly our Republican Senate Majority,” said Donald Trump, Jr. in the email.
Floyd Ciruli, a pollster and political analyst in Colorado, told the Colorado Times Recorder that Gardner’s campaign is focusing on the Senate majority because of how important it is to Republicans.
“When you rate what is most important for Republicans, it is holding national power,” said Ciruli. “…In fact, that’s true of the Democrats.”
“When you’re asking for money, you’re trying to really get people’s attention and reflect some of their concerns, and the top concern among Republicans, particularly those who are gonna give money, is the Democrats could take over [the Senate],” Ciruli continued.
Metropolitan State University Political Science Professor Norman Provizer also pointed out that Gardner’s campaign takes multiple approaches to appeal to different groups of voters.
“The campaign–as campaigns frequently do–runs on several tracks at the same time,” Provizer told the Colorado Times Recorder. “For example, I’ve seen a number of the TV commercials that Gardner has run, and they focus very much on what he has done… Those don’t talk about maintaining the Republican majority.”
“Saying, ‘I’m a number one fan of President Trump,’ is not a good strategy for Republicans in Colorado,” Provizer said. “But at the same time, [Gardner] is conservative… He has some hard lines in his voting record, but he does it all with a smile. That’s very attractive. And I think that’s what he’s counting on, and playing on.”
Provizer pointed out that the broader Colorado electorate might not look favorably on Gardner’s ties to McConnell.
“If it looks like [McConnell is] standing in the way of the flow of things, then a tie to him does you no benefit and can do you harm,” said Provizer. “And that’s one of the things that McConnell’s been known for–it’s not what the Senate has voted on, it’s what he has kept from coming up to the floor for a vote, after a bill has passed the House. And that, and given all the things that have been going on, might not be the most attractive thing to Colorado voters.”
Ciruli agreed that Coloradans don’t favor McConnell, but he thinks that when it comes to Gardner’s potential donors, a strong association with McConnell might work in his favor.
“Among the general public, in particular the Democrats who are going to take him on, they are clearly going to attack him for his close relationship with Mitch McConnell, and for his close relationship with Donald Trump,” Ciruli said. “Those are two people who have just terrible favorability in the state of Colorado–and Trump, in particular, is going to be running with him; they’re both going to be on the same ticket. So where I’m going here is that he really can’t avoid it. And for the audience that he is talking to, specifically with his fundraising appeal, Mitch McConnell is very important. And very popular.”
Another recent e-mail from Gardner’s campaign calls for donations to help fund a GOP Senate campaign in Alaska to maintain the Senate majority: the campaign of incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-AK) reelection.
“Dan needs your help TONIGHT. Democrats know they only need four seats to flip the Senate. They’re doing everything they can to outraise Dan, including rallying their base of dark-money, deep-pocketed coastal elites to fund his opponent,” reads the e-mail.
Jason Salzman contributed to this article.