- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 23, 2014

DENVER — Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway is supporting Republican Rep. Cory Gardner’s Senate bid, but progressives opposing the congressman are hoping to win over some of the Broncos faithful.

ProgressNow Colorado hired a prop plane to fly an anti-Gardner message over Denver before Thursday night’s home game against the San Diego Chargers. Activists also plan to hand out anti-Gardner materials during the game outside Sports Authority Field, according to a Thursday press release.

The last six polls show Mr. Gardner leading in his bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Wednesday found the Republican ahead by 46 to 37 percent. The statistics website FiveThirtyEight gives Mr. Gardner an 80 percent chance of winning the seat in Wednesday’s update.

Mr. Elway, the Hall of Famer who now serves as Denver Broncos vice president of football operations, recently contributed $5,000 to Mr. Gardner’s Senate campaign, according to federal campaign-finance records.

ProgressNow’s angle is to compare Mr. Gardner to San Diego linebacker Manti Te’o, who was the victim of a highly publicized online hoax in college involving a fake girlfriend. The slang term for creating a false online identity in order to lure someone into a romantic relationship is “catfishing.”

“Colorado currently has our own catfishing scandal. U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner has created a fake persona of his own with the goal of duping Colorado voters into a romance at the ballot box,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms in a statement.

The banner being flown says, “Cory Gardner is Catfishing Colorado.” In response, the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels quipped, “In other words, Democrats are worried about all those polls showing Gardner ahead of Udall.”

This isn’t the first time football has made an appearance in the Colorado Senate race. The website Deadspin was forced to retract and apologize for a story last week that accused Mr. Gardner of lying about playing high school football. It turns out Mr. Gardner played for Yuma High School for three years.

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