The coronavirus has already reshaped how the political world operates and it’s going to play a front and center role in November too.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has a six-figure ad buy that will run across television stations in Colorado and online for two weeks. The ad features clips from various news outlets about his efforts to secure N95 masks and COVID-19 tests from South Korea for Colorado, and his ability to work across the aisle.
“Sen. Cory Gardner, who I talk with multiple times a day, has done everything I’ve asked to help with our response,” said Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in a clip featured in the television spot.
When asked about the ad during his Friday news briefing on the pandemic, Polis said: “Now’s not the time for politicking.”
“I work closely with our federal delegation, with Sen. Bennet, with Sen. Gardner. Our federal delegation has risen to the occasion, has been very responsive. It’s not the time to talk about political credit or to make political hay over Coloradans who are doing their job,” Polis said.
The governor said that both the state’s Republican and Democratic officials have “been very responsible in doing their jobs on behalf of the people of Colorado.” In the end though, Gardner’s message of “getting things done” will be a major campaign theme for the incumbent senator.
Democrats were quick to denounce the new ad, blasting out an email shortly after it was announced.
“Sen. Gardner’s deceptive ads won’t change the fact that he’s stood by President Trump 100 percent of the time as they’ve played political games with lifesaving medical supplies and tried to yank health care coverage away from Coloradans when we need it most,” said Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll. “Coloradans can see through his Washington spin and know that Sen. Gardner is just another politician selling out Colorado for Donald Trump.”
Gardner’s campaign has also been running digital COVID-19 ads on Facebook since April 17. Those ads don’t highlight his efforts. Instead, they criticize China’s communist regime.
“The Chinese Communist Party isn’t telling the whole truth. But the lies, deceit, and blatant cover-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic are only the beginning of a deep-rooted history to distort the truth,” the ad states.
To political consultant Eric Sondermann it’s not surprising that politicians are emphasizing the pandemic because it’s the environment they find themselves in.
“Given that there is really only one issue at the moment, the COVID virus and all its attendant health, economic and cultural impacts, of course, political candidates are going to make that the axis point. In fact, to not do so would be tone-deaf and wasted energy. If everyone is focused on A, B and C, there is little value in politicians talking about X, Y and Z,” Sondermann said.
A lot of money is expected to flow into Colorado’s U.S. Senate race as it’s a key contest in the battle for control of the Senate. The two men hoping to challenge Gardner, former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, and former statehouse Speaker Andrew Romanoff held their first head to head forum Thursday night via Zoom.
At the end of the last quarter, Gardner had $9.6 million cash on hand for his reelection bid. Hickenlooper had more than $4.9 million available and Romanoff had $806,000.