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 GardnerTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout 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 ClintonPoll: Majority of Democratic voters happy with their choices among 2020 contenders No presidential candidate can unite the country GOP lawmakers speak out against 'send her back' chants MORE defeated President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade 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 CrowHouse passes bills to boost small business cybersecurity Katherine Clark quietly eyes leadership ascent Senators offer bill to protect small businesses from cyberattacks MORE defeated Rep. Mike CoffmanMichael (Mike) Howard CoffmanKoch political arm endorses Colorado Sen. Gardner 20 years after Columbine, Dems bullish on gun reform Denver Post editorial board says Gardner endorsement was 'mistake' MORE (R) for a House seat, while in the governor’s race, Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisColorado governor pokes fun at FaceApp Number of openly LGBTQ elected officials rose nearly 25 percent since 2018: report GOP gun rights activist arrested for flashing handgun at U.S. marshal 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 PerlmutterHillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp On The Money: Liberal Dems warn moderates against changes to minimum wage bill | House grapples with Facebook's Libra | Congress, White House inch closer to budget deal | Blue states sue over tax law regulations House asks Facebook: 'What is Libra?' MORE and outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper, according to The Denver Post.