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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 GardnerDemocrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle Trump expressed doubt to donors GOP can hold Senate: report The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 spending wars | Biden looks to clean up oil comments | Debate ratings are in 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 ClintonHouse Judiciary Republicans mockingly tweet 'Happy Birthday' to Hillary Clinton after Barrett confirmation Hillary Clinton tweets 'vote them out' after Senate GOP confirm Barrett CNN: Kayleigh McEnany praised Biden as 'man of the people' in 2015 MORE defeated President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote 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 CrowGiffords launches national Gun Owners for Safety group to combat the NRA House approves .2T COVID-19 relief bill as White House talks stall Lawmakers grill Pentagon over Trump's Germany drawdown MORE defeated Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanColorado governor says he was not exposed to COVID-19 after Aurora mayor tests positive Colorado mayor says he called protesters 'domestic terrorists' out of 'frustration' Colorado governor directs officials to reexamine death of Elijah McClain in police custody MORE (R) for a House seat, while in the governor’s race, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado governor says he was not exposed to COVID-19 after Aurora mayor tests positive Nursing home residents stage protest of coronavirus restrictions Newsom's EV executive order will help make California breathable again 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 PerlmutterGreen neighborhoods for better jobs, a cleaner environment, and a sustainable future Congress needs to finalize space weather bill as solar storms pose heightened threat OVERNIGHT ENERGY: 20 states sue over Trump rule limiting states from blocking pipeline projects | House Democrats add 'forever chemicals' provisions to defense bill after spiking big amendment | Lawmakers seek extension for tribes to spend stimulus money MORE and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to The Denver Post.