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 GardnerOn The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle McConnell pledges to be 'Grim Reaper' for progressive policies Cain withdraws from Fed consideration 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 ClintonTrump rips Krugman, NYT after columnist writes GOP no longer believes in American values Klobuchar jokes to Cuomo: 'I feel you creeping over my shoulder' but 'not in a Trumpian manner' Dems seek to rein in calls for impeachment MORE defeated President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussia's election interference is a problem for the GOP Pence to pitch trade deal during trip to Michigan: report Iran oil minister: US made 'bad mistake' in ending sanctions waivers 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 Crow20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Denver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' How gun control activists learned from the NRA MORE defeated Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard Coffman20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Denver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R) for a House seat, while in the governor’s race, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado governor signs 'red flag' gun bill Colorado governor expected to sign net neutrality bill Colorado sheriff says 'red flag' gun bill doesn't address mental health 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 Perlmutter20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform On The Money: Wells Fargo CEO steps down | Trump vows to keep funding for Special Olympics | House panel approves marijuana banking bill | Controversial Fed pick gains support in Senate House panel approves marijuana banking bill MORE and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to The Denver Post.