What a difference ten years makes:

In early 2010, Cory Gardner sent an email to supporters that criticized his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, for supporting “the most expensive spending bill in the history of the United States,” an economic stimulus package that cost upward of $800 billion.

“The stimulus has failed. But anyone with common sense knew it would fail — you simply can’t spend your way out of a recession,” Gardner said then, a popular refrain from a popular Republican candidate who went on to win that November.

A decade later, with America’s economy careening toward recession, now-Sen. Gardner adamantly supported the most expensive spending bill in the history of the United States, a roughly $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package, last week.

This time, he says, it’s different.

“You had people who, back then, were doing bad things and then turned around and tried to get a bailout,” Gardner said in an interview last week. He contrasted that with workers today harmed “through no fault of their own” while “adhering to the advice of their government” to remain home and close their businesses.

There is no reason to believe Gardner’s support for this year’s $2.2 trillion stimulus bill will hurt his November re-election odds. The senator does not face a viable Republican challenger and the economic stimulus has been popular, supported by President Donald Trump as well as Gardner’s top Democratic opponents.

“We need to get this country moving again,” Gardner said.

That was the argument in 2008 and 2009, too. But economic stimulus bills were not bipartisan then, as they were this month. Instead, they gave rise to the Tea Party movement, its adherents convinced that government spending could soon send the nation over a fiscal cliff. Gardner was concerned about that, too.

“From town hall meetings to coffee shops to neighborhoods, all I hear are worries about too much spending and the growth of government,” he told The Denver Post in the fall of 2010.

The stimulus won’t be what takes Gardner down. His constant allegiance to Trump will be what takes him down. Meanwhile, both of Gardner’s top opponents are adapting to the new normal of reaching out to voters.

John Hickenlooper:

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper plans to hold an online discussion Monday afternoon about health care and the coronavirus pandemic with former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The FacebookLive event is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Monday on the former two-term governor's campaign page. Participants can submit questions for Hickenlooper and Sebelius here.

Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, was President Barack Obama's first HHS secretary and oversaw implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the federal response to the 2009 H1N1 epidemic.

Andrew Romanoff:

U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff used some of his political stage time to shine a light on concerns over coronavirus Friday.

The former Colorado House speaker from Aurora spoke with three infectious disease specialists who work with Colorado hospitals in a telephone town hall. He read questions submitted online from Coloradans. Romanoff is one of a handful of Democrats hoping to take on Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in November.

“We used to hold town hall meetings in person at coffee shops, in brew pubs and in back yards and living rooms throughout the state the last 14 months, but obviously we can't do that,” Romanoff said, promises more events about other policy implications of the pandemic.  

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John Hickenlooper

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  • March 31, 2020