[dropcap]C[/dropcap]oinciding with polling that suggests U.S. Senator Mark Udall has gained ground in his reelection campaign against Congressman Cory Gardner, a fundraising email sent out Sunday by the National Republican Senatorial Committee aims to fire up potential donors by reporting that the party has a “great chance” to win in “battleground races around the country.” It lists campaigns in Alaska and North Carolina. No mention in the email of swing-state Colorado or Cory Gardner.
“Roll Call’s highly respected Rothenberg Political Report now predicts a Republican Senate wave this year, with Republicans winning at least 7 seats, if not more,” the email begins. “ In states Mitt Romney won in 2012: West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, and Louisiana — Republicans have a very clear path to victory. We also stand a great chance in battleground races across the country in states like Alaska and North Carolina.”
Gardner is a good candidate for the Republicans in Colorado. He’s telegenic and a natural on the stump. But over the last seven months he has struggled to overcome the Tea Party record he has established as a lawmaker representing safely conservative districts. Colorado is not a red state. It’s purple, and Gardner’s hardline positions opposing abortion in all cases, denying climate-change science and flim-flamming on immigration reform are high hurdles to clear on his path to statewide office.
Udall is clearly vulnerable. He won his seat in 2008, which was one of the best election years for Democrats since 1964, when LBJ rolled over Barry Goldwater in the wake of the Kennedy assassination. Democrats in 2008 did something that seems impossible just six years later: They won the popular vote for the U.S. House by nearly 11 points.
Yet Gardner continues to trail Udall. Poll numbers have never moved persuasively in his direction.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee hasn’t given up on Gardner. The Committee website homepage this week features pieces hitting Udall and touting Gardner. But the Committee isn’t highlighting the race as a way to fire up donors, either.