Gardner gets first Dem challenger for 2020 Senate race

Gardner gets first Dem challenger for 2020 Senate race
© Greg Nash

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 GardnerBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt Lawmakers eager for 5G breakthrough 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 ClintonRoger Stone shares, quickly deletes Instagram photo of federal judge on his case Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Why the national emergency? A second term may be Trump’s only shield from an indictment MORE defeated President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration 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 CrowHow gun control activists learned from the NRA Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 MORE defeated Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 MORE (R) for a House seat, while in the governor’s race, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisKey Colorado House committee passes bill to decide presidential elections by popular vote, not Electoral college Gardner gets latest Democratic challenge from former state senator Gardner, Portman endorse Trump for 2020 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 PerlmutterBusinesses need bank accounts — marijuana shops included Congress poised to put Trump in veto bind Oregon Dem top recipient of 2018 marijuana industry money, study finds MORE and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to The Denver Post.