US Senate 2020 Election

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This page is for the 2020 primary and general election of the U.S. Senate seat (Class 2) currently held by Republican Cory Gardner. It will be a seat that will be watched nationally and potentially treated as a bellwether. It had served as such when Gardner was first elected to it in 2014 in the second wave of Tea Party election cycles. Gardner defeated the incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, who had himself flipped the seat from GOP control in 2008.

Due to the vote in the 2016 General Election to amend the state constitution to eliminate the presidential caucus, the 2020 Caucus will be about this U.S. Senate seat as it is what will be the effective top-of-ticket position.

U.S. Senate seats are not districted. They represent and are voted by registered voters throughout the entire state.


General Background

The U.S. Senate has 2 seats for every state. With 50 states, there are 100 seats in the body. Terms last 6 years with no limits on terms won and served. The U.S. Senate is divided into three classes: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. This is due to election cycles. Every 2 years is a regular federal election. The U.S. House has all 435 seats up every two years, but the senate has one-third up every two years. One cycle, Class 1 seats are up, two years later are Class 2, and two years after that are Class 3.

Colorado has Class 2 and Class 3 seats. Michael Bennet has the Class 3 seat, which will be up in 2022.

The U.S. Senate, as of the 2018 election, has a balance of power of +6. Going into the 2019 session, the GOP holds 53 seats (plus the Vice President to break ties, should enough Republican Senators break ranks). The Democrats have 47, which includes two independents who caucus with Democrats (Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine). This means that U.S. Senate Democrats need to hold their caucus 100%, plus get 4 GOP senators to flip in order to pass or deny any legislation, while also avoiding the Vice Presidential tie-breaking.

In 2020, there will be 12 Democratic-held seats and 22 Republican-held seats up or election. This appears favorable to Democrats overall, but in terms of seats that are vulnerable, Democrats have a higher percentage of vulnerable seats than Republicans do. About half of the Democratic seats up are vulnerable. Less than one-fourth of Republican-held seats are potentially vulnerable. (FiveThirtyEight, using single digit scores.)

However, Cory Gardner's seat is often a fixture at the top of national lists for most vulnerable seat in the country, a distinction typically shared with fellow incumbent Republican Senator--Susan Collins of Maine.


Primary

Tuesday March 3rd, 2020 are major party caucuses, according to state statute. For the majority of parties and counties, delegate selection will be based on candidate support for U.S. Senator. For most counties, delegates will advance to County Assemblies, and from there to State Assembly.

There are 3 ways U.S. Senate candidates in either the Republican or Democratic parties candidates can gain ballot access for the primary in the state of Colorado:

  • STATE ASSEMBLY ONLY - Achieve at least 30% of the vote at State to advance to the primary ballot.
  • PETITION ONLY - Must have at least 1,500 verified signatures of eligible voters registered to the same party who have also not signed another petition for another candidate per each congressional district. (1,500 x 7 Congressional districts = 10,500 total signatures)
  • STATE ASSEMBLY AND PETITION - Achieve the requirements of petition, plus receive at least 10% of the final vote at State Assembly.

Any eligible candidate can submit (or withdraw) their name for State Assembly by 10 days prior to the State Assembly vote.

From there candidates who meet the respective thresholds will advance to the party primaries, where they can now also garner support of unaffiliated voters (who can only choose ONE party primary to vote in).


Republican Party


Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
Cory Gardner (i)
(Has not formally announced, but is presumed to run)
(FEC Filings)
Current U.S. Senator for Colorado (Official Twitter)
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Email
(970) 663-2679
 
 Rumored/Exploring Candidates

(i) = incumbent


Democratic Party


Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
Lorena Garcia
(FEC Filings)
Issues Page on Official Website

Wage Equity
Single-Payer Healthcare
Unrestricted Access to Women's Healthcare
Eliminate Electoral College
Free Tuition to State Colleges
Reinstatement of Tribe Sovereignty
Shift to Renewable Energies
Social Equity and LGBTQ Rights
Clear Path to Citizenship
End the War on Drugs and eliminate private prisons
Government Accountability and Transparency
Term Limits
Website
Email
Contact Page
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Mike Johnston
(FEC Filings)
Website
Email
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Dustin Leitzel
(FEC Filings)
Issues Page on Facebook

Renewable Energy
Believes healthcare is a basic right
Pro-Choice
Diversity
Pledges to pay summer interns
LinkedIn Website (Broken link)
Facebook
Twitter
Keith Pottratz
(FEC Filings)
Issues Page on Facebook

Better funding to public schools
Government Transparency
Help Homeless Veterans
"Pro-2nd Amendment"
Mental Health Screenings for Gun Ownership
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Andrew Romanoff
(FEC Filings)
FEC filing was said to be to update previous run,
but party operatives say there's been contact established on a potential candidacy.
Website
Email
[ Contact Page]
Facebook
Twitter
[ Instagram]
Trish Zornio
(FEC Filings)
Emerge Colorado alum (Class of 2018) Website
Online Contact Page
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram


Rumored/Exploring Candidates
Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
Kerry Donovan State Senator to SD 5
Stan Garnett Stated on the record that he would "look closely at a certain 2020 US Senate race."
Current shareholder/senior partner at Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber and Schreck
Boulder County District Attorney (2009-2018)
Democratic candidate for Attorney General in 2010
Joe Neguse Current U.S. Congressman (CD 2), elected 2018
Widely considered unlikely to run for US Senate
John Walsh Says will make up mind in April
Former US Attorney for Colorado (Obama-appointee)
Former Partner at WilmerHale, Denver office lead by Ken Salazar
At WilmerHale, Walsh lead a team on criminal and complex civil litigation.


Speculative Candidates
Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
John Hickenlooper Running for President in 2020
Former Governor of Colorado (2011-2019)
Crisanta Duran Running in 2020 Democratic primary in CD 1
Former State House Speaker
Ed Perlmutter Not currently considering a US Senate run
Current U.S. Congressman (CD 7), entering 7th term.


Former Candidates
Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
Derrick Blanton
(FEC Filings)
(FEC Termination Approval)
Facebook Announcement of withdrawal


Third Parties


Some requirements for third parties differ. The Assembly process appears to be statutorally similar. The major difference are in the signature amount requirements for those petitioning. (Still must be eligible electors, registered to the respective party, and has not signed any other petitions for U.S. Senator.)

  • PETITION - 1000 or 2% of votes cast (whichever is less). This is not specified by districts, so this is the total amount.
    • 2% of votes cast for candidates of U.S. Senator in 2014 is 40,822, therefore 1,000 is lesser so 1,000 will be the requirement for 2020.


Party Name Issues Focused On Selected Experience Endorsements Campaign Contact Info
 
 Rumored/Exploring Candidates


Previous Election Results


For this specific seat (Class 2).


Seat Current Holder Next Election 2014 Election 2008 Election
(Presidential Year)
(Obama +8.95)
U.S. Senate-CO
(Class 2)
Cory Gardner
(Republican)
2020 1.95% (48.21%)

Mark Udall 46.26%
Gaylon Kent 2.59% (Libertarian)
Steve Shogan 1.44% (Unaffiliated)
Raul Acosta 1.18% (Unaffiliated)
Bill Hammons 0.31% (Unity Party)

Defeated Dem Incumbent
10.3% (52.8%)

(Mark Udall)
Bob Schaffer 42.49%
Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell 2.56% (Constitution)
Bob Kinsey 2.14% (Green)
(Total Write-Ins 135 votes)

Flipped from GOP to Dem control


Other Statewide Seat Election Results


U.S. Senate Class 3 (Michael Bennet)
Seat Current Holder Next Election 2016 Election
(Presidential Year)
(Clinton +4.91)
2010 Election
U.S. Senate-CO
(Class 3)
Michael Bennet
(Democrat)
2022 5.66% (49.97%)

Darryl Glenn 44.31%
Lily Tang Williams 3.6% (Libertarian)
Arn Menconi 1.34% (Green)
Bill Hammons 0.34% (Unity)
Dan Chapin 0.3% (Unaffiliated)
Paul Noel Fiorino 0.12% (Unaffiliated)
1.68% (48.08%)

Ken Buck 46.4%
Bob Kinsey 2.19% (Green)
Maclyn "Mac" Stringer 1.27% (Libertarian)
Jason Napolitano 1.09% (INR)
Charley Miller 0.64% (Unaffiliated)
J. Moromisato 0.32% (Unaffiliated)
Total Write-Ins 83 votes


ALL STATEWIDES - President, U.S. Senator, Governor, SoS, AG, Treasurer, CU Regents At-Large
Seat Current Holder Next Election 2018 Election 2016 Election
(Presidential Year)
2014 Election 2012 Election
(Presidential Year)
2010 Election 2008 Election
(Presidential Year)
President Donald Trump
(Republican)
Democrats have won 2016, 2012, 2008
2020 X 4.91% (48.16%)
(Hillary Clinton)

Donald Trump 43.25%
Gary Johnson 5.18% (Libertarian)
Jill Stein 1.38% (Green)
Other Third Party 2.03%
X 5.36% (51.49%)
(Barack Obama)

Mitt Romney 46.13%
Gary Johnson 1.38% (Libertarian)
Jill Stein 0.29% (Green)
Other Third Party 0.71%
X 8.96% (53.66%)
(Barack Obama)

John McCain 44.7%
Bob Barr 0.45% (Libertarian)
Cynthia McKinney 0.12% (Green)
Other Third Party 1.07%
U.S. Senate-CO
(Class 2)
Cory Gardner
(Republican)
2020 X X 1.95% (48.21%)

Mark Udall 46.26%
Gaylon Kent 2.59% (Libertarian)
Steve Shogan 1.44% (Unaffiliated)
Raul Acosta 1.18% (Unaffiliated)
Bill Hammons 0.31% (Unity Party)

Defeated Dem Incumbent
X X 10.3% (52.8%)

(Mark Udall)
Bob Schaffer 42.49%
Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell 2.56% (Constitution)
Bob Kinsey 2.14% (Green)
(Total Write-Ins 135 votes)

Flipped from GOP to Dem control
U.S. Senate-CO
(Class 3)
Michael Bennet
(Democrat)
2022 X 5.66% (49.97%)

Darryl Glenn 44.31%
Lily Tang Williams 3.6% (Libertarian)
Arn Menconi 1.34% (Green)
Bill Hammons 0.34% (Unity)
Dan Chapin 0.3% (Unaffiliated)
Paul Noel Fiorino 0.12% (Unaffiliated)
X X 1.68% (48.08%)

Ken Buck 46.4%
Bob Kinsey 2.19% (Green)
Maclyn "Mac" Stringer 1.27% (Libertarian)
Jason Napolitano 1.09% (INR)
Charley Miller 0.64% (Unaffiliated)
J. Moromisato 0.32% (Unaffiliated)
Total Write-Ins 83 votes
X
Governor Jared Polis
(Democrat)
2022 10.62% (53.42%)

Walker Stapleton 42.8%
Scott Helker 2.75% (Libertarian)
Bill Hammons 1.02% (Unity)
X 3.34% (49.29%)

(John Hickenlooper)
Bob Beauprez 45.95%
Matthew Hess 1.94% (Libertarian)
Harry Hempy 1.3% (Green)
Mike Dunafon 1.18% (Unaffiliated)
Paul Noel Fiorino 0.29% (Unaffiliated)
Total Write-Ins 31 votes
X 14.67% (51.05%)

(John Hickenlooper)
Tom Tancredo 36.38% (Constitution)
Dan Maes 11.14%
Jaimes Brown 0.74% (Libertarian)
Jason R. Clark 0.48% (Unaffiliated)
Paul Noel Fiorino 0.19% (Unaffiliated)
Total Write-Ins 86 votes
X
Secretary of State Jena Griswold
(Democrat)
2022 8.01% (52.7%)

Wayne Williams 44.69%
Amanda Campbell 2.08% (Constitution)
Blake Huber 0.53% (Approval Party)

Defeated GOP incumbent
First Dem elected to this position in 60 years.
X 2.36% (47.34%)

(Wayne Williams)
Joe Neguse 44.98%
Amanda Campbell 3.95% (Constitution)
Dave Schambach 3.73% (Libertarian)
X 5.65% (49.52%)

(Scott Gessler)
Bernie Buescher 43.87%
Amanda Campbell 6.6% (Constitution)

Defeated Dem incumbent
Dem was appointed
X
Attorney General Phil Weiser
(Democrat)
2022 6.44% (51.58%)

George Brauchler 45.14%
William F. Robinson III 3.28% (Libertarian)

Flip from GOP control to Dem
X 9.05% (51.43%)

(Cynthia Coffman)
Don Quick 42.38%
David K. Williams 6.19% (Libertarian)
X 12.65% (56.32%)

(John Suthers)
Stan Garnett 43.67%
X
Treasurer Dave Young
(Democrat)
2022 7.3% (52.23%)

Brian Watson 44.93%
Gerald F. Kilpatrick 2.85% (Constitution)

Flip from GOP control to Dem
X 4.93% (49.87%)

(Walker Stapleton)
Betsy Markey 44.94%
David Jurist 5.18% (Libertarian)
X 1.4% (50.7%)

(Walker Stapleton)
Cary Kennedy 49.3%

Defeated Dem incumbent
X
CU Regent, At-Large
(Seat 1)
Heidi Ganahl
(Republican)
2022 X 2.22% (51.11%)

Alice Madden 43.34%
X X 6.59% (50.52%)

(Steve Bosley)
Melissa Hart 43.93%
Jesse B. Wallace 5.54% (Libertarian)
X
CU Regent, At-Large
(Seat 2)
Lesley Smith
(Democrat)
2024 8.93% (51.95%)

Ken Montera 43.02%
James K. Treibert 3.82% (Libertarian)
Christopher E. Otwell 1.21% (Unity)
X X 2.65% (42.25%)

(Stephen Ludwig)
Brian Davidson 39.6%
Daniel Ong 4.74% (Libertarian)
Tyler Belmont 2.5% (Constitution)
X X


Gardner Voting History


Polling

Gardner Favorability Ratings


Gardner Favorability Ratings
Date Source Favorable % Unfavorable % Undecided / Don't Know
or Neutral
Margin of Error
 
 2019
/-//19 []  %  %  % %
 
 2018
10/1-12/31/18 Morning Consult 37% 35% 28% 1%
12/2-12/4/18 Change Research
(ProgressNow Colorado)
38% 50% 12% 4.2%
7/1-9/25/18 Morning Consult 39% 37% 24% 1%
4/1-6/30/18 Morning Consult 38% 37% 25% 1%
4/1-6/18/18 Morning Consult 48% 29% 23% 2%
1/1-3/31/18 Morning Consult 40% 36% 24% 2%
 
 2017
11/9-11/15/17 American Politics Research Lab
(CU Boulder)
25%
(4% Strongly Approve)
48%
(23% Strongly Disapprove)
27% 3.5%
10/1-12/31/17 Morning Consult 41% 36% 22% 2%
8/2-8/3/17 Public Policy Polling
(Our Lives On The Line)
24% 56% 20% (Unknown)
7/1-9/30/17 Morning Consult 40% 39% 22% 2%
6/30-7/1/17 Public Policy Polling
(Save My Care)
27% 54% 19% (Unknown)
Apr-June 18, 2017 Morning Consult 48% 29% 23% 2%
4/26-4/27/17 Magellan Strategies 40% 37% 23% 4.38%
Jan-Mar 2017 Morning Consult 49% 30% 21% 2%
 
 2016
10/17-10/24/16 American Politics Research Lab
(CU Boulder)
(Though results are in 2017 survey)
43%
(7% Strongly Approve)
24%
(8% Strongly Disapprove)
33% (Unknown)
 


Sources:


2020 Election Polling


Cory Gardner vs. Generic Democrat
Date Source Cory Gardner % Generic Democrat % Undecided / Don't Know
or Neutral
Margin of Error
 
 2018
12/2-12/4/18 Change Research
(ProgressNow Colorado)
41% 47% 12% 4.2%
 
 2017
8/2-8/3/17 Public Policy Polling
(Our Lives On The Line)
41% 46% 13% (Unknown)
6/30-7/1/17 Public Policy Polling
(Save My Care)
39% 53% 8% (Unknown)


Campaign Finance

Hard Money

"Hard Money" is a term used to describe contributions and disbursements directly made to or paid from the official campaign.

The FEC has a guide on campaign finance limitations. This section would fall under the "Candidate Committee" portion.

U.S. Senate candidates committees file quarterly reports until the month before the general election.

Future Filing Dates:

  • 4/15/19
  • 7/15/19
  • 10/15/19
  • 1/31/20
  • 4/15/20
  • 7/15/20
  • 10/15/20
  • 10/15/20-10/31/20 (48-hour Notice Period - $1,000 contribution per source)
  • 10/22/20
  • 12/03/20
  • 1/31/21


Primary

Republican
HOLD FOR 4/15/19 FILING DEADLINE
Name Total Receipts Total Disbursements Total Cash On Hand Notable Individuals
Cory Gardner (i)


01/01/2017 to 12/31/2018
Name Total Receipts Total Disbursements Total Cash On Hand Notable Individuals
Cory Gardner (i) $1,925,424.27 $318,089.62 $1,701,437.57
(Began with $94,103)
(FULL LIST)

Jeff & MacKenzie Bezos (Amazon) (maxed out)
8 other Amazon Execs (maxed out)


01/01/2015 to 12/31/2016
Name Total Receipts Total Disbursements Total Cash On Hand Notable Individuals
Cory Gardner (i) $711,316 $894,267 $94,103
(Began with $277,053)


Democratic
HOLD FOR 4/15/19 FILING DEADLINE
Name Total Receipts Total Disbursements Total Cash On Hand Notable Individuals
Lorena Garcia
 
Mike Johnston
 
Danielle Kombo
 
Dustin Lietzel
 
Keith Pottratz
 
Andrew Romanoff
 
Trish Zornio


01/01/2017 to 12/31/2018
Name Total Receipts Total Disbursements Total Cash On Hand Notable Individuals
Lorena Garcia
(Did not file until 11/05/18)
$6,942.00 $3,531.72 $3,420.28
 
Dustin Lietzel
(02/01/2017 to 09/30/2017)
$5,399.00 $3,622 $1,775 Turing Eret (LinkedIn) (maxed out)
 
Keith Pottratz
(Did not file until 11/28/18)
$1.00 $0 $1.00
 
Andrew Romanoff
(Previously ran in 2010 primary)
$0 $524.70 $3,306.33 (Still has $248k outstanding loan to candidate)
 
Derrick Blanton
(04/01/2017 to 04/01/2018)
$1,118 $1,538 (Campaign terminated) Derrick Blanton - $471


Third Parties

As of 12/31/19 there are no third party candidates filed with the FEC.


General

Republican
Democratic
Third Parties


Sources:

Link to all candidates' FEC filings


Soft Money

"Soft Money" refers to donations and disbursements made to or from a committee formed outside the formal campaign for either a candidate or ballot initiative, but may support or oppose either a candidate or specific topic (or both), but due to federal law cannot directly collaborate with candidates or their campaigns. These committees span all across the political spectrum, supporting or opposing a wide variety of interests.

Examples are unions (typically support living wages and workplace safety), Democrats for Education Reform / Raising Colorado (education reform), Americans for Prosperity (Most associated with the Koch Brothers and mainstreaming libertarianism. Its precursor organization created the Tea Party in 2002)

The FEC has a guide on campaign finance limitations. This section would fall under the "PAC (SSF and nonconnected)" portion.


Primary

General