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Gardner on court vacancy: Country needs to mourn Ginsburg 'before the politics begin'

Gardner on court vacancy: Country needs to mourn Ginsburg 'before the politics begin'
© Greg Nash

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-Colo.), one of a handful of GOP senators facing tough reelection battles in November, said Saturday that the country needs to mourn late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgPence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate 'Packing' federal courts is already a serious problem McConnell and Schumer's relationship shredded after court brawl MORE “before the politics begin.”

Ginsburg died Friday evening of complications from pancreatic cancer, creating a vacancy on the conservative-majority Supreme Court. Republican leadership immediately indicated that it plans to move forward with a nominee before the November election, while moderates facing tough reelections have been treading lightly on the topic. 

In a town hall Saturday afternoon, Gardner said he agrees with Democratic Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE (W.Va.), saying that "out of decency and respect for this country, we need to make sure that we are giving time for personal reflection on this loss of an American icon."

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Gardner did not directly say whether he would support a vote on a nominee this year.

"I hope before the politics begin — because there will be plenty of time for that — that we have some time for this country to reflect on a great woman who led our nation’s highest court and the work that she has done for this nation, whether you agree or not," Gardner said. "There is time for debate, and there is time for politics, but the time for now is to pray for the family and to keep [them] in our hearts and prayers as we mourn as a nation."

Gardner is running a tight race against former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperBiden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race MORE, the party's Democratic Senate nominee. Throughout the town hall Saturday, Gardner touted his bipartisan relationships in the Senate. 

Another moderate GOP senator, Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGideon holds 3-point lead over Collins in new poll The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - One week out, where the Trump, Biden race stands The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Justice Barrett joins court; one week until Election Day MORE of Maine, announced Saturday that she does not think the Senate should vote on a nominee before the election. Collins and Gardner are the only two Republican senators running for reelection in states won by former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton responds to Chrissy Teigen tweet: 'I love you back' Trump fights for battleground Arizona Biden leads Trump by 12 in new national poll MORE in 2016.