U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner hits Colorado's airwaves Friday morning with a statewide campaign focusing on the Republican's work securing medical equipment during the coronavirus pandemic in the first major television ad buy of the pivotal U.S. Senate race.
The 30-second ad, made available to Colorado Politics in advance of its airing, features local headlines and excerpts from news reports crediting Gardner and his contacts with world leaders for massive shipments of protective equipment and testing kits.
"Coronavirus tests are coming to Colorado from South Korea because of Sen. Cory Gardner," says one news anchor. "Sen. Cory Gardner has developed relationships with heads of state in countries like South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan," says another.
The ad includes a clip of Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, praising Gardner's work helping the state's respond to the outbreak.
"Sen. Cory Gardner, who I talk with multiple times every day, has done everything I've asked to help in our response," says Polis, who visited President Donald Trump at the White House with Gardner on Wednesday.
"We are going to get through this," Gardner says. "We will get through this together."
The Gardner campaign is spending six figures to air the ad through May 28 on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction TV markets, the campaign said.
"Coloradans deserve a senator who will go to bat for them when it matters most. And, right now, it matters more than ever," said Gardner campaign manager Casey Contres, in a statement. "Cory's record on Coronavirus relief is a message that rings loud and clear and it's time Coloradans know that their Senator is working hard to deliver for them each and every day."
It's the first salvo in what promises to be one of the most expensive and hardest-fought Senate races in the country this year, with more than $17 million in TV spending already reserved by the leading Democratic and Republican Senate campaign groups.
Seeking his second term in a state won last cycle by Democrat Hillary Clinton, Gardner is considered among the most vulnerable Republican senators on the ballot.
Colorado Democrats unloaded on Gardner's ad, criticizing the senator for his close alignment with Trump and for supporting efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act during a public health crisis.
“Sen. Gardner’s deceptive ads won’t change the fact that he’s stood by President Trump 100% of the time as they’ve played political games with lifesaving medical supplies and tried to yank health care coverage away from Coloradans when we need it most,” said Morgan Carroll, who chairs the Colorado Democratic Party, in a statement.
“Coloradans can see through his Washington spin and know that Sen. Gardner is just another politician selling out Colorado for Donald Trump.”
Democrats will choose a nominee in a June 30 primary between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.