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Joey BunchJoey BunchOctober 4, 20174min3490

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner had a hard time getting his point across over liberal opponents in a series of town halls this summer, but Friday morning he’ll try again in Pueblo.

The Republican from Yuma announced Wednesday morning he will meet with constituents at the Pueblo Convention Center from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The doors open at 8:30 a.m.

“Constituents are encouraged to arrive early, as space is limited,” Gardner’s office said in a statement.

The Pueblo Convention Center seats about 1,300. The hall is located at 320 Central Main St.

Gardner was grilled on health care and the Trump agenda, in general, during town hall meetings in Durango, Colorado Springs, Greeley, Lakewood and Grand Junction last summer. Those town halls came after Democrats and other opponents staged a series of protests calling for him to hold a town hall meeting to explain his positions.

Gardner has supported failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, and he has been a leading voice in the Senate calling for an appropriate response to the nuclear threats posed by North Korea.

Last month in Summit County he spoke about the need for tax reform, the latest item on the GOP’s stalled agenda under President Bush, and to relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 70.

Gardner also is likely to get questions, if not anti-GOP protests, over President Trump’s plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, however, has supported the Dream Act. He and fellow Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Denver, are co-sponsoring legislation to defend young immigrants and provide a path to citizenship under certain conditions.

“Children who came to this country without documentation, through no fault of their own, must have the opportunity to remain here lawfully,” Gardner said in a statement this month.

Pueblo is considered in play, after being a Democratic stronghold for decades. Last year, Pueblo County went for President Trump, the first Republican presidential candidate to win there since Richard Nixon outpolled George McGovern there in 1972.

Gardner lost to incumbent Sen. Mark Udall by less that half a percentage point in Pueblo County in 2014.


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Peter MarcusPeter MarcusAugust 17, 20174min2061

Jason Crow, who is seeking to replace Colorado’s Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District, received impressive endorsements from top Democrats Thursday.

Former U.S. senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar – one of the state’s highest profile and most respected Colorado Democrats – threw his support behind Crow. State Sen. Irene Aguilar of Denver, who represents a more progressive side of the party, also announced her endorsement for Crow Thursday.

“I am extremely honored to have the endorsements of Secretary Ken Salazar and State Senator Irene Aguilar,” Crow said in a statement. “Secretary Salazar has been a trailblazer, fighting for Colorado his entire career. He has worked hard for years on immigration reform, expansion of public lands and renewable energy, and civil rights and his commitment to Colorado and bipartisanship is inspiring. I am humbled to have his support.”

Aguilar was the main backer of ColoradoCare, the failed ballot initiative last year that would have established a state single-payer healthcare system. Crow noted Aguilar’s work on health care.

Amendment 69, the ballot initiative that would have made Colorado the first state to provide universal healthcare, failed by nearly a 4 to 1 margin in November.

“Senator Aguilar has been a long-time friend and progressive leader for Colorado,” he said. “Her dedication to bringing health care to every Coloradan and her commitment to progressive values shows true leadership. From day one, this campaign has been about focusing on what unites us, not what divides us, and I am incredibly humbled to have these two leaders in my corner.”

Crow is competing in a primary against attorney David Aarestad and former Obama administration energy policy adviser Levi Tillemann.

“Jason has served our nation with distinction in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Salazar said. “He is a stellar community leader and father, and loves Colorado. He has proven his ability to unify the community through positive leadership and build coalitions to get things done – from his work with other veteran leaders in the fight for the VA Hospital in Aurora, to helping build organizations to address the growing substance abuse crisis in our community. In Congress, Jason will find solutions that help the people of the 6th Congressional District and end the gridlock in Washington. I enthusiastically endorse him.”

Aguilar said in a statement. “I first came to know Jason as a community leader and was extremely excited to learn of his candidacy. I have always admired Jason’s military career but what I have come to appreciate most is his good heart and the kindness he was able to maintain through his three combat tours. Jason is a strong progressive with courage of conviction and a dedication to public service. He cares deeply for his family and community and I know that the 6th District and Colorado will benefit greatly with him as a representative.”

Crow previously received endorsements from former U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and former Gov. Bill Ritter.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchAugust 15, 20175min3831

Trish Zornio’s resume says scientist, but it could soon say candidate. The 32-year-old biomedical scientist from Superior is putting noticeable research into her consideration of running against U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

A Democrat from a family of New Hampshire Republicans, she has a detailed website about her potential candidacy. Monday evening she held the latest in a series of town hall-style meetings at the Boulder Public Library, and she’s trying to figure out what it would take financially for a newcomer to run.

Zornio brings a resume proving authenticity to her issues. She is a millennial woman with a razor-keen background in science and the environment and an outsider to the political outcomes and baggage many voters are tired of. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump showed the latter.

“The health-care votes were a tragedy,” Zornio said of her reasons to oppose Gardner. “That in no way is what Colorado should have had in a representative, and it in no way is what should have happened on a national stage.”

Zornio has worked on medical research for the University of Colorado Boulder, Denver Health Medical Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine, and most recently on a National Institutes of Health-funded study on rare and undiagnosed diseases.

She said the Affordable Care Act is imperfect, but it improving it makes more sense than creating a vacuum for care. Zornio said she was concerned by Senate Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace it last month, but especially their failed “skinny repeal” without a replacement health-care system for tens of millions of people.

Zornio said the science around the environment is clear.

“We need senators who are in office who understand and appreciate the science, and not only that, but can advocate,” she said. “And when you have a party that’s rising, that’s pulling us from things like the Paris (climate) accord and such, this isn’t acceptable. This isn’t a partisan issue, protecting our environment and our public lands.”

Acknowledging the role energy development has in the state, Zornio supports the advancement of renewable sources, because “we have the opportunity here in Colorado to make headway and be on the forefront of the nation,” she said.

Zornio’s potential candidacy in Colorado was featured in Melissa Healy’s health and science blog in the Los Angeles Times in June. The post is titled, “What happens when scientists leave their labs to experiment with politics?”

Zornio is the lead coordinator for the Colorado chapter of 314 Action, a nonprofit that helps those who work in science, technology, energy and math get involved in policy-making.

But can she raise the kind of bucks it takes to compete? Gardner has collected and spent more than $13 million since he jumped in the Senate race against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in 2013.

“I think that’s a really good question,” she said with a nervous laugh. “That’s part of the exploration process, but I think there’s a huge movement right now with a number of organizations trying to get women, scientist particularly in office, youth in office … We’ve seen that it’s possible to get candidates elected from the grassroots level. It’s possible to do.”

A Colorado resident since 2009, Zornio has done a lot of work in the community work, as well.

She is a board adviser for the 500 Women Scientists Youth Pod in Boulder County, as well the principal director of CoMusica, a community music program she founded in 2013 .


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 7, 201712min3515

Will voters care if Democratic congressional candidate Jason Crow represented some unsavory characters early in his career as an attorney? It’s a serious vulnerability, says one of his primary opponents, and a veteran Republican strategist who won two statewide races in Colorado thanks to similar attacks on another Democrat agrees. Crow’s campaign team, however, says his background and experience will only serve to strengthen his bid to unseat Republican Mike Coffman, a five-term incumbent.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningAugust 1, 20173min2110

The campaign organization that works to elect Democrats to the Colorado Senate has named political veteran Michael Whitehorn as its executive director, it announced Monday. Whitehorn, who was most recently U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette’s campaign manager and senior counsel to the Denver Democrat’s congressional office, takes over from Andrew Short, who helmed the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund in the last cycle.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJuly 17, 20178min731

Declaring that the 5th Congressional District needs someone who will "fight for what he knows is right" and not just vote the right way, Darryl Glenn, the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in Colorado last year, announced on Monday that he's running for the seat held by incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, another Colorado Springs Republican.


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Chris BianchiChris BianchiJune 22, 201721min2420

The quick answer: yes. The real answer: it's complicated. Helped by an influx of transplants drawn to Colorado's liberal marijuana laws, high-tech economy and overall high quality of life, the state, by most metrics, is in a considerable economic boom. That same associated population growth, by the way, likely means ...