GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX/KFQX)- The major race for U.S Senate in Colorado comes to a close. Former Colorado governor and Democrat candidate John Hickenlooper and Republican incumbent, Senator Cory Gardner make a final pitch to voters.
A recent poll released at the start of this week found John Hickenlooper about 8 points ahead of Cory Gardner with likely Colorado voters.
But both candidates say the polls aren’t a good indicator, and last minute voter engagement is crucial.
KREX 5/Fox 4 secured interviews with both candidates on the eve of the Nov. 3 General Election.
Cory Gardner spent part of his final day campaigning on the Western Slope with stops in Delta, Montrose, and Grand Junction. John Hickenlooper engaged with voters across the state in mostly virtual events. Both men have made their previous accomplishments as politicians an important part of this campaign.
“We’re talking about moving the Bureau of Land Management headquarters right here in Grand Junction, the Great American Outdoors Act, the bills we’ve passed to fix fire borrowing,” Gardner said.
Gardner’s bipartisan Great American Outdoors Act signed into law by President Trump over the summer provided massive funding for backlogged maintenance projects in national parks, as well providing more financial stability for the Land Water and Conservation Fund.
Hickenlooper says his accomplishments as governor, and helping Coloradans through difficult times during his tenure as governor, are major factors in why he feels he is the right candidate to represent Coloradans in Washington.
“We’ve worked through fires, floods, and the movie theater shooting (referring to 2012 Aurora mass shooting which left 12 people dead),” Hickenlooper said. “We went from 40th in job creation to the number one economy.”
A big point of contention in this race has been the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Hickenlooper says Gardner is putting American’s healthcare in jeopardy by supporting Barrett, due to the Supreme Court hearing a case on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act after the election. Gardner feels he acted in the country’s best interest by appointing Barrett.
“I think any time you can put justices on the Supreme Court who are going to do the three things I need all judges to do: to uphold the constitution, to defend the law, and to not be activists and create policy from the court, I think that’s good for the country,” Gardner said.
Hickenlooper has attacked Gardner for his support of Barrett and about healthcare policy in general.
“Healthcare is something people feel is at the top of the list and something Cory Gardner hasn’t delivered on,” Hickenlooper said.
COVID-19 has been an important of this campaign. About two weeks ago republicans in the U.S. Senate proposed a $500 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill that would provide more funds for the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses, and additional unemployment funds, but not a direct stimulus to the American people. Gardner says he’s willing to negotiate for more money in the next bill, but he feels democrats are preventing Congress from getting things done, after senate democrats blocked the $500 billion COVID bill.
“I think we should have a debate on it, they (democrats) wouldn’t even let it come up for debate,” Gardner said. “I would support additional dollars, but they won’t let anything go through, they wouldn’t even let unemployment benefits go through. They wouldn’t even let Paycheck Protection dollars go through.”
Hickenlooper says more is needed than $500 billion in the next COVID stimulus bill.
“I can’t imagine it’s going to be less than $1 trillion,” Hickenlooper said. “I mean just from when you look at the chunks of resources that are needed for this, I think we have to put some money out there for the truly small businesses. The first stimulus was oriented so much more towards large small businesses.”
Additionally, Hickenlooper and other democrats have been advocating for funding for a national testing and tracing strategy in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill.
Gardner says regardless of the results tomorrow, he’s determined to address COVID-19, wildfire management, and addressing the federal budget in the lame duck period after the election prior to the next congress beginning in January.