GOP Candidates Swap Races

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner (R)
U.S. Representative Cory Gardner (R)

Wednesday’s surprising race swap between Representative Cory Gardner and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck may demonstrate a game changer for Colorado’s Republican Party. Colorado State University political science professor Kyle Saunders says the solidly Republican 4th Congressional District is a more natural fit for Ken Buck. He thinks Gardner has a better opportunity to win the Senate race against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall.

“It really is a move that made a lot of sense for all the parties involved," Saunders said. "That in and of itself shows an increased awareness of the Republican Party and an increased discipline of the Republican Party of seeing an opportunity and taking advantage of it.”

Buck narrowly lost to Democratic Senator Michael Bennet in 2010, and some Republicans were worried that the mistakes Buck made on the campaign trail against Bennet would doom him against Udall.

Meantime another leading Republican candidate, State Representative Amy Stephens, announced plans to drop her bid Thursday, calling Gardner “the great uniter.”

Colorado's 4th Congressional District consists of eastern Colorado, including Las Animas, Otero, and Crowley counties.