More Colorado newspapers are making their picks in high-profile 2020 races as voters begin returning their ballots for the Nov. 3 election.
The Colorado Springs Gazette gave stamps of approval to Republicans U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert, the GOP nominee in the 3rd Congressional District. (The Gazette is owned by Clarity Media, the parent company of Colorado Politics.)
In its endorsement of Gardner, who is running against former Gov. John Hickenlooper in a bid for a second term, the Gazette said the 46-year-old Republican from Yuma is "the five most productive and bipartisan members of Congress" and pointed to to his success getting more bills signed than the rest of Colorado's congressional delegation combined.
"Ejecting Gardner from the Senate is an act of political suicide, call it state-icide, that could cost Colorado dearly. If voters make that mistake, they might cost Colorado its likely selection to serve as the permanent home of Space Command," the Gazette's editorial board stated. "It would cost Colorado the largest chunk of what relatively little influence its congressional delegation has in Washington."
The paper warned that electing the 68-year-old Hickenlooper would stymie the state's chances of having a senator who could ever "achieve A-list stature in Washington," since "he would approach his 80s before seeking a second term." (Hickenlooper would be 74 on Election Day 2026, if he was elected and sought a second term.)
"Colorado has only one marquee politician in Washington, and his name is Cory Gardner — a man who has delivered for Colorado’s public lands, environment, and public health and welfare," the Gazette's endorsement said. "Keep Colorado relevant in Washington by reelecting Cory Gardner."
The newspaper's editorial board also cited seniority and Space Command in its glowing endorsement of Lamborn, the paper's hometown congressman, who is seeking an eighth term. Democrat Jillian Freeland, a midwife and small business owner, is running against the incumbent in the Colorado Springs-based 5th Congressional District, the most Republican-leaning in the state.
"As a seasoned and ranking member of the House, Lamborn is able to deliver for the Pikes Peak region and the rest of Colorado on everything from VA benefits, to public lands, to transportation, to safe and productive energy policy," the Gazette said.
Turning its attention to their pick's opponent, the paper said that on every issue, Freeland "comes across as a left-wing extremist with a radical agenda to fundamentally change the United States."
Concluded the Gazette's editorial board: "Vote for Doug Lamborn. It is a vote in favor of Space Command and Colorado’s continued run of success."
In endorsing Boebert, the Gazette broke ranks with the other 3rd Congressional District newspapers, which endorsed Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush for the seat covering most of Colorado's Western Slope, Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley
"Young Republican candidates with the full package of intelligence, looks, passion, and skills to articulate good principles seldom come along," the Gazette's editorial board wrote. "Voters in Congressional District 3 have the opportunity to elect a mom, business leader and impassioned champion of Colorado and the United States to the House of Representatives."
Boebert, the young owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle, shot to stardom in conservative circles this summer when she unseated U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, the Cortez Republican, in the primary.
The newspaper's endorsement echoed the case Boebert has been making, that she'll take on the Democrats' most prominent liberal voices with a brash conservative message.
"In the big league of Congress, Boebert could lead a national, youthful, patriotic, pro-capitalist movement to rival the fashionable left-wing narrative that tells young Americans their country is evil," the editorial board said. "While left-wing feminist leaders cast women as victims, Boebert looms large as a 100-pound symbol of female empowerment. Women can start with nothing and have big families, provide for them, and defend them."
Describing Boebert like a promising new stock offering, the Gazette continued: "Entering Congress at age 34, colleagues would view Boebert as a star of the near future to invest in today. She would likely win coveted committee assignments while standing out nationally as an energetic new symbol of what people can do in a country that stands for justice, prosperity, personal empowerment, and freedom for all above all."
Mitsch Bush, the Gazette said, "represents the antithesis of western, rural Colorado values." The former state lawmaker and retired sociology professor hs "supported nearly every regulatory attack on oil, gas and coal producers who provide high-wage jobs and tax revenues throughout her district," the paper said.
The Durango Herald endorsed John Hickenlooper, the Democrat challenging Gardner, saying the former governor won the editorial board's support as the only candidate with proposals that will protect Coloradans’ health care.
"On the most significant issue facing Americans, access to properly priced health insurance and medical care, Senate candidate John Hickenlooper easily deserves support," the Herald said.
"Incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, on the other hand, clings to longtime notions of the cure lying with cross-state line and common employment plans and medical savings accounts. Those ingredients, which would have been somewhat helpful in pre-ACA days, would fail to bring the breadth and depth needed to give Americans the coverage and bill paying they deserve."
The paper emphasized the two candidates' positions on the Affordable Care Act, known colloquially as Obamacare.
"The Affordable Care Act, which made it possible for millions to gain insurance, is not perfect. Hickenlooper would work to improve and expand it, while Gardner would vote to toss it out with no successor plan. The solutions do not lie in returning to pre-ACA," the Herald said.
The paper said it likes Hickenlooper's background, including his roots in business.
"His brewpub, done collaboratively with other nearby business owners, brought economic vitality to several blocks of downtown Denver and added to the craft beer industry statewide," the Herald said. "He served as Denver’s mayor. As governor he oversaw the creation of improved oil and gas exploration rules by conversation and negotiation rather than by force. The state’s first water plan, with more negotiation, was another badly needed product."
In conclusion, the Herald repeated some of the argument Hickenlooper made for his candidacy when he ran for president last year.
"Adding another Democrat to that party’s side of the aisle in Washington would help break the current Senate logjam, which is desirable. Hickenlooper would be helpful by envisioning the future and bringing his penchant for applying negotiations and moderate positions that made him good for Colorado. We endorse John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate," the Herald said.