DENVER — Incumbent Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) has declined an invitation to debate the winner of the 2020 Democratic primary on 9NEWS.
The proposed debate would have been held with Colorado State University (CSU) and seven other statewide media outlets: The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Colorado Politics, Rocky Mountain PBS, KRDO in Colorado Springs, KJCT and KKCO in Grand Junction and KOBF in the Four Corners. The event was tentatively scheduled for Oct. 13 at CSU in Fort Collins.
Gardner had not initially responded to the invitation. Wednesday, his campaign declined via campaign spokesman Jerrod Dobkin.
Neither of the leading Democrats, former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, have declined.
Gardner is the first U.S. Senate candidate since Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell in 1998 to decline to debate their opponent on 9NEWS. Nighthorse Campbell, a Democrat turned Republican, was facing Democrat Dottie Lamm at the time.
He is also the first candidate in any race to decline to debate their opponent on 9NEWS since 2014, when Tom Tancredo refused to debate Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp.
Gardner did agree to five other debates planned this fall.
The Democratic primary takes place June 30, though voters should receive ballots in the mail in the coming weeks.
Had Gardner accepted the invitation, it would not have been his first Senate debate on 9NEWS. He went against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall before winning his first term in the Senate in 2014.
These were the lineups of the last several U.S. Senate debates on 9NEWS:
- 2016: Democratic Senator Michael Bennet vs Republican challenger Darryl Glenn.
- 2016 Republican Senate primary debates (2): Robert Blaha, Ryan Frazier, Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, Jon Keyser, Peg Littleton, Jerry Natividad and Tim Neville.
- 2014: Democratic Senator Mark Udall vs Republican challenger Cory Gardner
- 2010: Democratic Senator Michael Bennet vs Republican challenger Ken Buck
- 2008: Democratic Senator Mark Udall vs Republican challenger Bob Schaeffer
- 2004: Democratic Senator Ken Salazar vs Republican challenger Pete Coors.
- 2002: Republican Senator Wayne Allard vs Democratic challenger Ted Strickland
SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Full Episodes of Next with Kyle Clark