How to demonstrate you’re a new kind of Colorado Republican politician, that you’re not the kind of old-school Republican pol who doesn’t embrace full-range health-care for women, comprehensive immigration reform or full-speed-ahead clean-energy development? In other words, how do you try to persuade voters that you’re not the the kind of Republican politician who has been losing in top-tier statewide races for years?
Congressman Cory Gardner, who is running to unseat U.S. Senator Mark Udall, chose to do it this week by running an ad in which he says he “co-wrote the law that launched our green-energy economy.” The media-sphere reacted with skepticism.
“Gardner’s history with environmental issues is a little more nuanced than the ad might suggest,” wrote TPM. “Back in 2010, shortly after he was elected to the U.S. House in a campaign where he railed against cap-and-trade legislation, Gardner told Environment and Energy Daily, according to an archived story accessed through LexisNexis: ‘I believe climate change is happening. I’m just not convinced man is causing it.'”
The history behind the ad has become even more “nuanced” today. The AP’s Kristen Wyatt looked into the law Gardner is touting. Her story’s lead paragraph is now rocketing around the politics Twittersphere and has landed in reporter email boxes across the state.
“GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner, framed by sunflowers and wind turbines, tells voters in a campaign ad this week that he co-wrote a law to launch Colorado’s green-energy economy. He leaves out that the law was repealed five years later, deemed useless for not enabling a single project.”
The 2007 law Gardner is talking about established The Clean Energy Development Authority. Here’s how Wyatt describes the fleeting life of the Authority: “[It] had financing caveats that made it toothless… [It] never had a staff and did little but gather once a year to report to the legislature that it had made no progress. By 2012 the authority was scrapped, part of a larger makeover of the Energy Office, now called the Colorado Energy Office.”
Gardner this year has struggled to recast his conservative votes on social issues to win over the moderate voters who decide statewide races in Colorado. Weeks after launching his Senate bid, he famously said he no longer supported the hardline anti-abortion Personhood movement, even though he championed it as a lawmaker for years and even though he still is listed as a co-sponsor of federal personhood legislation.
Gardner likewise has been a top advocate for the oil and gas industry in Washington. He attends oil-billionaire Koch-brother gatherings, and the oil industry has made up the majority share of his campaign donation over the course of his career in Washington. So far, his three-day makeover as a green-energy champion has been… bumpy.