- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was projected to defeat Sen. Cory Gardner after polls closed Tuesday, flipping a critical seat to the Democratic column as the parties sparred for control of the Senate.

Mr. Gardner conceded shortly after the Associated Press and major networks called the race for his opponent, tweeting, “It has been such an honor serving the people of Colorado in the Senate for the past 6 years.”

Mr. Gardner, who ousted Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the 2014 Republican wave, faced an uphill battle from the outset in Colorado, a state that has rapidly trended blue in the last few elections.

Mr. Hickenlooper, a former two-term governor, entered the race after dropping out of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in August 2019, prompting accusations that he saw the Senate seat as a consolation prize.



Coming back to haunt Mr. Hickenlooper were his previous comments about being uninterested in running for the Senate—”I’m not cut out to be a senator,” he said in February 2019—as well as ethics violations for accepting free travel in excess of the state’s limits on gifts.

Still, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide for Mr. Gardner, who came under Democratic fire for voting with President Trump and opposing the Affordable Care Act.

Both candidates had likability in their corners. Mr. Hickenlooper had never lost an election in Colorado—he previously served as Denver mayor—based in part on his goofy charm, while Mr. Gardner was described in 2014 by columnist George F. Will as a “human sunbeam.”

Mr. Hickenlooper also enjoyed the funding advantage, raising $39 million to $26 million for the Gardner campaign, according to OpenSecrets, although both candidates were able to inundate the airwaves with seemingly non-stop campaign ads.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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