061620 Hickenlooper Romanoff debate

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper debates state House speaker Andrew Romanoff in the studio of Denver7 in Denver on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

A memo sent to the campaign for Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner Tuesday predicted a win tonight for former Gov. John Hickenlooper in the Democratic primary, and foreshadowed how the campaign take him on.

The memo is from Gardner's consultant, Chris Hansen, and was obtained by Colorado Politics. Gardner's campaign spokesman confirmed its authenticity. 

The subject line foretold the email's contents: "Re: Gardner set to face 'hot mess' Hickenlooper in general election."

Hansen tells Gardner's people that though it's likely Hickenlooper will beat former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, "he will emerge a bruised and battered candidate. His once-pristine reputation is tarnished. His glass jaw is fully exposed."

Hickenlooper weathered several campaign setbacks, including being found guilty of two ethics violations for his travel while governor, as well as a contempt count for not showing up to testify the first day he was asked, despite a subpoena. The former governor has characterized the situation as the work of his political enemies.

He also had to apologize two weeks ago for flippant remarks about slavery, as Romanoff surged in the debates.

A 9News/Colorado Politics online poll last week, however, gave Hickenlooper a 30-point advantage.

Hansen characterized Hickenlooper as "the worst candidate in the country."

The memo includes links to articles about the former governor's campaign stumbles and goes on to praise Gardner's record with a list of accomplishments the campaign should play up.

"Great candidates win," Hansen wrote. "Cory Gardner is an extremely effective Senator who has delivered for Colorado time and time again. He has been ranked the most effective member of the Colorado delegation, the 3rd most bipartisan Senator, and has had 9 bills signed into law, more than the rest of the Colorado delegation combined."

He attributes Romanoff's expected loss to the money the "Democratic machine" put behind Hickenlooper, "and partly because Andrew Romanoff is working on a doctorate in concession speeches," if the former legislator drops his third race for Congress.

"His timidity in attacking Hickenlooper and his inability to harness the progressive energy that gave Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren a combined 52% of Colorado’s Democrats sealed his fate."

The Hickenlooper campaign declined to comment on the Gardner memo but pointed to a similar memo posted on its website on June 16. 

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