U.S. Senator Cory Gardner's office says he canceled a lunch with a group of supporters to hold a meeting on health care, not because of a protest taking place outside the Steamboat Springs restaurant where the lunch was scheduled.

Local Republican chairman Don Mathis told supporters in an email that Friday's lunch was called off because of the "current threat assessment and current events." He told the Steamboat Pilot & Today he was referencing the protest organized by Democrats.

Gardner spokesman Casey Contres said Tuesday that a staffer wrongly relayed that explanation to Mathis but said the protest wasn't a factor in the cancellation. He says Gardner instead met with Routt County commissioner Doug Monger, who appears in a television ad criticizing the House health care bill.