Oct 2, 2020 | By Isabel Hicks | Photo by Anil Jergens
This November, Colorado voters will decide who they want to fill the state’s open U.S. Senate seat for the next six years. The race is between incumbent senator Cory Gardner (R) and challenger John Hickenlooper (D), who was the Mayor of Denver from 2003-2011 as well as the Governor of Colorado from 2011-2019. Gardner was the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s Fourth congressional district from 2011-2015.
While the rest of the country struggles to catch up, Colorado citizens have been voting by mail for years. People can register to vote online here. As long as you register by Oct. 26, your ballot will automatically be mailed to you — no special forms required. If you miss the deadline, you can still register to vote up until 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 and vote in person at a polling center. Early voting runs from Oct. 19 through Nov. 2, but dates and hours vary depending on where you live in the state.
If you’re already registered to vote, why not double check to make sure your mailing address is up to date? You can do so here. You can also register to work as a paid poll worker for your local county on election day here. To make in-person voting and working at the polls easier for students, CCSGA announced in an email this past Monday that all classes are cancelled on Election Day, Nov. 3.
Gardner and Hickenlooper: Where they stand
ON JUSTICE AMY CONEY BARRETT
Gardner: Gardner supports approving Trump’s Supreme Court Justice nominee before the November election. On Saturday, Sept. 26, Senator Gardner tweeted, “In the days and weeks ahead, I look forward to meeting with Judge Amy Coney Barrett and thoroughly examining her judicial record as I fulfill my constitutional duty of advice and consent.” He then added, “The American people elected a President and Senate majority who committed to nominating and confirming judges who follow the Constitution, uphold the law, and refuse to legislate from the bench.”
When Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February 2016 and left a vacancy in the Supreme Court months before the presidential election, Gardner told KNUS radio that he thought the election was too near for Obama to appoint another justice. “The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision,” he said.
Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper does not support approving Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. On Saturday, Sept. 26, he tweeted: “A lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is too important to be rushed through 38 days before the election. As Cory Gardner said in 2016, “The election is too close, and the stakes are too high. The fate of the ACA and Roe v Wade are on the line. The people deserve to be heard.”
Gardner: In the “Issues” section of his website, Senator Gardner says that the fundamental problem with our nation’s healthcare system is the high cost. “Fixing our healthcare system will require repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with patient-centered solutions, which empower Americans and their doctors,” he writes. Gardner supports allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines, encouraging competition in the market, and providing consumers with price transparency as achievable policies to address our healthcare system.
Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper supports expanding the Affordable Care Act and implementing a public health insurance option. He wants to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid, fight to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and push for transparency in hospital pricing. “Unlike Senator Cory Gardner, I believe universal coverage is possible — and necessary,” he writes on the “Issues” section of his website.
ON ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Gardner: In the Senate, Gardner serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee. On his website, he says that he supports developing and utilizing American energy of all kinds, including traditional power like coal, oil, nuclear, and natural gas, and renewable sources like wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power. “While clean and renewable resources provide us with an abundant amount of energy, reducing our overall energy usage though energy efficiency is necessary and is also beneficial to our environment,” he writes.
Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper’s climate plan calls for a transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy by 2050, with a goal to be 43 percent below 2005 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. He supports the country rejoining the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump withdrew from in 2017. Hickenlooper wants to make a large-scale government investment in climate technology research, raise fuel economy standards with the goal of shifting to a 100 percent electric vehicle fleet, and create a Climate Corps problem that encourages young people to pursue careers that help fight global climate change.
ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT
Gardner: Gardner says on his website that he is proud to support and protect an American’s right to bear arms. “For centuries, Americans have exercised their Second Amendment rights responsibly, and I’m committed to pursuing policies that encourage such responsible firearm usage,” he writes. “By focusing on mental health services and stopping dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms, we can prevent heinous, criminal acts from occurring.” He also emphasizes the importance of firearm training and safety.
Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper supports “comprehensive, common-sense policies to tackle gun violence.” These policies include requiring background checks for all gun sales, establishing national magazine limits, and restoring an assault weapons ban.
ON THE ECONOMY, SPENDING, AND TAXES
Gardner: Gardner supports “unshackling” our economy from “unneeded regulations that have crippled America’s economy.” He is in favor of policies that dial back government spending, reinstate congressional oversight of federal regulations on American businesses, and eliminate “duplicative and wasteful federal government programs.”
Hickenlooper: On his website, Hickenlooper writes, “For too long, the economy has benefited the wealthiest among us, at the expense of small businesses and working families.” He believes that the economy cannot recover from the effects of COVID-19 until the pandemic is “under control.” He supports congressional legislation to “provide fiscal relief to local governments to jumpstart the economic recovery in states like Colorado.” He views the one COVID-19 stimulus bill that Congress passed in May as insufficient, and says he’d work to provide additional economic support to American families.
BIGGEST CRITICISMS OF THE CANDIDATES:
Gardner: Democrats accuse Gardner of being largely silent and invisible to the public eye, dodging calls from journalists and constituents alike. Though he once ran on the promise that the public could hold him accountable through town hall meetings he hosted, Gardner was criticized in January for not holding a town hall in at least two years. Indeed, opponents of the senator created a large cardboard cutout of Gardner, nicknamed Cardboard Cory, to bring along to events he failed to attend as a symbol of his elusiveness.
Hickenlooper: During his June primary, Hickenlooper was hit with an ethics violation, and was held in contempt for initially refusing to attend a hearing with Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission due to its COVID-induced video format. On June 12, The Colorado Sun reported that “The [ethics] panel voted 4-0 to impose a $2,200 fine [on Hickenlooper] for a trip to Connecticut on a private jet owned by a top political donor. It then voted 4-1 to impose a separate fine of $550 for a Maserati limousine ride he took in Italy.”
From the far left, Hickenlooper has been criticized for his environmental policies not being progressive enough. Criticisms on his failure to support a fracking ban are most notable, as the politician was a former petroleum geologist who once bragged to Congress about drinking fracking fluid to prove it was safe.