Colorado senator expects 2016 field to winnow
© Greg Nash

BOULDER — Colorado Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Graham: Trump officials not adequately briefing on Iran threat MORE (R) said Wednesday that the Republican presidential candidates should focus on issues of importance to voters in Western states. 

“I think you'll hear some Western issues. I would encourage and have encouraged the candidates to talk about Western issues tonight," Gardner told reporters in Boulder ahead of the third GOP debate.

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Gardner mentioned energy as an example of a Western issue that should be discussed at the debate hosted by CNBC.

The senator also said he expects the field of 15 Republican candidates to winnow after Wednesday's debate. 

“I think you'll start to see some whittling tonight, I really do, in the coming weeks,” Gardner said, noting that two Democratic candidates dropped out of the 2016 White House race recently.

“We may see that same thing over the next couple weeks,” he said.