Gardner gets first Dem challenger for 2020 Senate race

Community organizer Lorena Garcia on Tuesday announced that she’ll run for Senate in Colorado in 2020, becoming the first Democratic opponent to challenge Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters The Hill’s Campaign Report: Republicans go on attack over calls to ‘defund the police’ MORE (R).

Garcia, the executive director at the nonprofit Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, tweeted on Tuesday that she’s running against Gardner to focus on “economic equity for all,” arguing for the need for a “new voice” in the Senate.

“We are at a crossroads in our history where we can no longer accept the status quo and must take action to fix our broken government systems,” Garcia, a self-described progressive, said in a statement, according to the Colorado Springs Independent.

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“I’m running because we need innovative leaders who will work on behalf of the interests of every Coloradan, not for political self-interest.”

A first-time candidate, Garcia currently works for a nonprofit organization that provides training for parents to be involved in their children’s education. She’s also previously worked with communities in Nepal and Nicaragua as the executive director of Namlo International.

Gardner, chairman of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm in the 2018 cycle, is one of the Democrats’ top targets in 2020, though he is a formidable campaigner. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE defeated President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE in the state by roughly 5 points in 2016.

Democrats are feeling even more bullish about their prospects in Colorado given their victories in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Democratic veteran Jason CrowJason CrowGun control group rolls out House endorsements Bipartisan House bill seeks to improve pandemic preparedness Human Rights Campaign rolls out congressional endorsements on Equality Act anniversary MORE defeated Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanBottom Line Koch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform MORE (R) for a House seat, while in the governor’s race, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisState leaders urge protesters to get tested for coronavirus amid fears of new outbreaks The Hill’s Morning Report – Protesters’ defiance met with calls to listen Overnight Health Care: White House shifts focus from coronavirus | House Democrats seek information on coronavirus vaccine contracts | Governors detail frustrations with Trump over COVID-19 supplies MORE (D) easily won over Republican Walker Stapleton.

Plus, Democrats now hold all statewide offices in Colorado in addition to majorities in the state house and Senate.

Democrats will be battling for the Senate majority in 2020 after losing a few seats in the midterms. If Republicans win Mississippi’s Senate runoff on Tuesday night, they’ll have a 53-47 seat majority.

With Mississippi still up in the air, Republicans will be defending at least 21 seats, while Democrats will be protecting 12 seats.

The Democratic field in Colorado is expected to grow, with some high-profile names already in the mix. Rumored potential candidates include: Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, Rep. Ed PerlmutterEdwin (Ed) George PerlmutterFor safety and economic recovery, Congress must prioritize cannabis banking Eight surprises in House Democrats’ T coronavirus relief bill Democrats introduce bill to include cannabis businesses in coronavirus relief MORE and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to The Denver Post.

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