The AP and Fox News are calling Colorado for Cory Gardner. Right now, the Udall campaign is disputing the results. But the voting data is consistent with a Gardner win. Assuming Gardner does take the seat — which is what the polling predicted in recent weeks — this is very bad news for Democrats.
So far tonight, Democrats have lost seats in South Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, and Arkansas. All those losses were expected — and, for the Democratic Senate majority, survivable. But losing Colorado makes keeping the Senate very, very hard.
And Colorado is not a loss Democrats can easily explain away. The state went for Obama in both 2008 and 2012. Democrat Michael Bennet — who is running the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee this year — even held on in the Republican wave of 2010. It isn’t a red state. If Democrats are losing seats in Colorado that’s a bad sign for their hopes elsewhere.
The Colorado race had two unique features. One was that Udall focused like a laser on the “war on women” theme. He argued, almost endlessly, that Gardner wanted to ban all sales of birth control — a charge that Gardner denied, and countered by releasing a proposal for birth control to be sold over the counter (which is, for the record, an excellent idea). If Udall loses what was clearly a winnable race, it suggests that perhaps the war-on-women theme wasn’t such a good move.
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