State Representative Cory Gardner is taking heat for missing a vote on a water bill that’s crucial to his eastern Colorado district. Luckily for Gardner, the bill narrowly survived.

One of four Republicans vying to oust incumbent Democrat Betsy Markey in the Fourth Congressional District later this year, Gardner tells The Denver Post he was in Washington, D.C., “meeting with a number of people outraged at the level of spending happening in this country.”

So far, Gardner’s inconsequential missed vote is about the meatiest issue among Republicans jockeying for attention if a campaign forum featuring the group at the Washington County Event Center is a good indicator (via the Sterling Journal-Advocate).

Gardner (who spoke via telephone), Diggs Brown, Tom Lucero, and Dean Madere apparently agreed on almost everything, outlining the big issues facing the nation as jobs and debt. At one point, Brown said it was too bad all four candidates couldn’t go to Washington: “We would make a great coalition,” he added. The quartet squares off again this week in Loveland, according to the Reporter-Herald, in an event hosted by the Northern Colorado Tea Party.