DENVER (AP) — Senate candidate Cory Gardner has released a pair of campaign ads reaching out to Colorado's all-important centrist voters, who have soured on some GOP positions, and cast himself as a "new kind of Republican" who supports over-the-counter birth control pills and renewable energy.
The TV spots released this week come in a close race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in a swing state that has become increasingly reluctant to elect conservatives as coastal transplants have pushed the politics to the left.
Democrats have won every top-of-the-ticket statewide race in Colorado since 2004, and Udall and his allies have followed the established playbook by attacking Gardner as being against reproductive rights and the environment.
But Gardner, a U.S. House representative, has hit back with his new ads.
In the first, which launched Monday, Gardner walks past wind turbines and asks, "So what's a Republican, like me, doing at a wind farm?" He notes that he co-authored legislation, backed by a former Democratic governor, to create a state agency to support new Colorado renewable energy businesses. The ad's female narrator calls Gardner "a new kind of Republican."
Then, in a spot unveiled Tuesday, Gardner, who is anti-abortion, highlights his proposal to make birth control pills available without a prescription. Gardner tells a mostly-female audience in the ad that Udall "wants to keep government bureaucrats between you and your health care plan."
Gardner's campaign and other conservatives say the congressman is responding to a Democratic caricature of his positions.
But Democrats say Gardner is trying to sell himself as a centrist in the line of Udall, a well-known environmentalist and abortion rights supporter.
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