Colorado U.S. Senate race heats up the nation | CraigDailyPress.com

Colorado U.S. Senate race heats up the nation

Janelle O'Dea

Cory Gardner

One of Colorado's most contested elections could swing the U.S. Congress majority balance and was dubbed a "race to watch" by The Washington Post.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall faces Republican opponent and U.S. House Rep. Cory Gardner for the Colorado U.S. Senate seat in November.

According to recent polls, the race is about as close as it gets.

Since Udall took office in January 2009 to September 2014, he missed 36 votes of 1,743 roll call votes, or 2.1 percent, according to http://www.govtrack.us.

Udall voted with Democrats in the U.S. Senate 251 out of 261 roll calls, or 96 percent of the time.

Critics of Udall point out his unwillingness to stray from commander-in-chief President Barack Obama. According to Roll Call Congressional Quarterly, Udall voted with Obama 99 percent of the time.

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Colorado station 9News in Denver did a "truth check" on the 99 percent claim against Udall, and the check said it is true but needs context. According to their analysis, Udall voted 107 out of 108 times with Obama on issues that Obama took a public stance on, and Congress cast a total of 291 votes last year.

From January 2011 to September 2014, Gardner missed 45 of 2,761 roll call votes, or 1.6 percent.

Gardner voted with Republicans in the U.S. House 1,037 out of 1,092 times, or 95 percent of the time, according to http://www.opencongress.org.

Critics of Gardner use his position on the personhood issue to demonstrate his inability to stand behind his opinion.

Gardner originally supported personhood and then reversed his position in March after realizing it could outlaw some forms of birth control, among other things, according to The Denver Post.

“This was a bad idea driven by good intentions,” Gardner said to The Denver Post in March.

In an interview with the Craig Daily Press, Gardner said he opposes Amendment 67, the current personhood initiative on Colorado's ballot.

Gardner also said representing all Colorado voters, and not just those east of the Western Slope, is an important part of his campaign.

"If I'm elected there will be no forgotten Colorado," Gardner said.

He also wants to assure Northwest Colorado voters that he will fight for the energy industry, an important part of the Western Slope's economy.

"I've opposed the EPA's efforts to hurt coal," Gardner said. "I am committed to making sure energy jobs and coal jobs are a part of our economy in Colorado."

Udall did not make himself available for an interview with the Craig Daily Press.

Contact Janelle O'Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@craigdailypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

U.S. Senate candidates

Cory Gardner, Republican

Mark Udall, Democrat

Gaylon Kent, Libertarian

Raúl Acosta, unaffiliated

Bill Hammons, Unity

Steve Shogan, unaffiliated