1014 3 LINKEDIN 26 COMMENTMORE

KUSA - The U.S. Senate race in Colorado has been heating up ever since GOP candidate Cory Gardner announced his candidacy less than three weeks ago.

A Rassmussen Reports poll says Gardner (R-Yuma) is one percentage point behind Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. The poll released Monday says Gardner has 41 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 500 Colorado residents and asked by telephone who they would vote for.

The up-and-coming, relatively unknown Gardner is now making the race a toss-up.

9NEWS Republican political expert Ryan Frazier says the Democratic strategy will shift to a negative campaign a lot earlier than many expected.

"They're trying to attack Cory Gardner." Frazier told 9NEWS. "They're trying to talk about social issues so they can paint him as extremist [and] too extreme for Colorado."

"It is early for Udall to come out on the attack, but he has to be," 9NEWS Democratic political expert James Mejia said. "Gardner is not as well known so [Udall's] got to try and establish the narrative about Gardner before Gardner can establish the narrative about himself."

While Udall will have the clear edge in the fundraising campaign as an incumbent, our 9NEWS political experts anticipate a candidate to fall back in the race.

"It's going to be a tough election but I expect it to be close," Frazier said. "But if anyone can beat Udall in 2014, it's likely Cory Gardner."

Mejia says the recent Rasmussen poll tells voters why Gardner entered the race in attempts to unseat Udall.

"I think it boils down to turnout," he said.

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

1014 3 LINKEDIN 26 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://www.9news.com/story/news/politics/elections/2014/03/15/gop-star-heating-up-co-senate-race/6461097/