Can the Pill Give Republican Senate Challenger an Edge in Colorado?

Earlier in this race, the issue of women’s reproductive rights became a hot one with the Hobby Lobby decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision determined that closely held businesses could control the availability of contraceptives for employees when the contraceptives were part of a business-sponsored healthcare plan.

While the decision seemed to lean in Gardner’s favor in relation to his stance on personhood, he immediately distanced himself by setting the stage for the recent over-the-counter contraceptives proposal. He said in June that he wanted to “move quickly to make oral contraceptives available to adults without a prescription.”

Of note, at least two other Republican candidates on the federal level have joined Gardner in the call for OTC contraceptives. They are Ed Gillespie in Virginia and Mike McFadden in Minnesota, both running against Democratic incumbents for the U.S. Senate.

Gonzales speculated that the Democrats would rather discuss the broader issue of making those contraceptives available at no charge (or minimal charge) via employer-sponsored healthcare plans, with an eye toward benefiting the women who can’t afford it. So Gardner is essentially dipping his toe into the waters of women’s reproductive healthcare.

“Cory Gardner can’t win the race by being pigeon-holed as a typical Republican,” Gonzales said. “He has to appeal to the voters in the middle.”

Another example of Gardner’s effort to appeal to the moderate and unaffiliated voters, Gonzales said, is Gardner’s recent reminders on TV that it has been Gardner, not Udall, who has recently supported legislation that would encourage the production of natural gas and keep energy prices low. Gardner makes those statements while standing in one of Colorado’s numerous wind farms, which are notoriously embraced by the most left-leaning voters.

“I think Colorado is a great race, one of the most competitive in the country,” said Gonzales.