Nov 6, 2020 | NEWS | By April Kwan | Image by Xixi Qin
One of the most nationally watched races on Colorado’s ballot was a critical U.S Senate seat, which was contested between Cory Gardner (R) and challenger John Hickenlooper (D).
Republican incumbent Sen. Gardner fell short to former Gov. Hickenlooper Tuesday night. With an estimated 92% of votes reported as of Thursday afternoon, Hickenlooper received 53.2% of the votes in comparison to Gardner’s 44.5%. Within El Paso County, 56.3% voted to retain Gardner, whereas 40.5% supported Hickenlooper.
Leading up to the election, FiveThirtyEight predicted Hickenlooper’s win based on various polls. As of Nov. 2, Morning Consult’s poll projected Hickenlooper to receive 52% of the votes and Gardner to receive 44%. Another poll by Swayable gave Hickenlooper 57% to Gardner’s 43%.
Gardner represented Colorado as a senator since 2015. Previously, he served as a member of Colorado’s House of Representatives from 2005-2011. He then went on to become a U.S Representative for Colorado’s 4th district from 2011-2015 before winning the 2015 senate race.
Gardner’s campaign focused on the Rebuilding and Renewing Rural America Act, which aims to support rural communities through decreasing government regulations and expanding tax credits. Gardner’s immigration positions included campaigning to increase border security and offering a 12-year path towards citizenship. He pledged to a bipartisan approach to both combating climate change and growing the economy. Gardner also proposed the Student Loan Repayment Acceleration Act, allowing employers to contribute up to $10,000 a year towards pre-existing student loan debt that is set aside from payroll and free from taxation.
Upon stepping down, Gardner’s speech reflected on his six years in the Senate, and he sent his regards and support to Hickenlooper, stating that “[Hickenlooper’s] success is Colorado’s success, and our nation and our state need him to succeed. We need to be united together.”
Gardner ended his remarks by mentioning, “No matter how things turn out, we must always figure out how to finish the job, because people are depending on all of us to get it done. As Ronald Reagan once said, ‘The trail was long but the company was always the best.’” He then thanked his supporters.
Newly elected Hickenlooper is a Pennsylvania native and former geologist. He was previously the mayor of Denver (2003-2011) and Colorado’s governor (2011-2019). Hickenlooper also ran for the 2020 presidential Democratic nomination.
Hickenlooper’s campaign focused on issues that include a four-point economic plan to combat the pandemic. This involves providing immediate help to those in need, integrating Colorado’s various needs, and innovating industries for the future.
Hickenlooper views healthcare as a human right and promotes universal healthcare by supporting a public national healthcare option. He proposes Common-Sense Gun Safety Policies that incorporate background checks for gun sales, enforce limits on magazines, enact a ban on assault weapons, and fund community-based violence intervention.
Hickenlooper supports immigration reform, seeking to fund more process centers, a faster process to gain citizenship, and medical assistance to those in need.
In his acceptance speech, John Hickenlooper said, “Tonight, I pledge to you I will work my heart out for the state that I love. And I will do everything I can to bring common sense and decency to our work … Thank you so much; let’s get to work.”
John Hickenlooper’s win flips the previously Republican held Senate seat representing Colorado. While it’s a win for the Democratic Party, the ongoing ballot counting in several key states leaves control of the Senate up in the air.