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Your Complete Guide to Colorado’s 2020 Senate Election

Colorado's political landscape has changed drastically since Cory Gardner was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. Here's who he's up against in 2020.

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Yes, the 2020 presidential election is sucking up all of the air in the room—as it tends to do—but here in Colorado, there’s another key race that’s gaining voters’ attention: Who will be Colorado’s next senator?

The post is currently filled by Cory Gardner (R), a lawyer and fifth-generation Coloradan. Gardner’s political career has earned him plenty of monikers, such as an “up-and-comer” and “rising star” of the GOP. A one-time state representative, he beat incumbent Betsy Markey in 2010 to represent Colorado’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2014, he beat another incumbent, Mark Udall, to become Colorado’s junior senator. His ascendant career continued: Gardner was picked as chair of the National Republican Senate Committee in his first term. Recently, he advocated for the Interior Department to move the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to Grand Junction.

The senator from Yuma has also drawn criticism for consistently siding with President Donald Trump, not holding town halls with constituents, and for staying quiet on key issues. Already, several Democrats—including former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who entered the race on August 22, shortly after ending his presidential campaign—have filed papers to challenge him, and national outlets have picked this race as one to watch.

Plus, Colorado’s political landscape is in a state of constant flux. When Gardner first ran for Senate, about 35 percent of active voters were unaffiliated. Now, 39 percent of active voters are unaffiliated and tricky to define. All candidates will need to motivate their bases to get out the vote, but it is likely that now, more than ever, Colorado’s unaffiliated voters could play a major role in deciding this race.

With all that in mind, we wanted to give you one spot, which we’ll update regularly, to keep tabs on who’s in the race, who’s out, and what matters most. Who will inspire donors? Will Colorado elect its first female senator? There will be plenty of time to discuss it all.

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Editor’s note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity; last updated on October 11, 2019

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