As the Colorado Senate race heats up, candidates John Hickenlooper (R) and Senator Cory Gardner (R) have found common ground in the hitherto controversial fight for the Senate seat.
The couple reunited for the third of four previously scheduled debates and for the first debate that was broadcast live statewide on Friday.
The fiery 90-minute interaction was widely used by Gardner as an opportunity to attack Hickenlooper to highlight the glaring differences of the candidates.
SEN. GARDNER TRAILS IN SURVEYS BUT INTENDED TO CHANGE THE TIDE
But the two found common ground on the coronavirus issue and agreed relief was needed. They also both rejected the establishment of a national mask mandate. The consensus ended there with regard to US policy.
Hickenlooper condemned Gardner’s support for President Trump, while Gardner dodged questions of whether or not he agreed or not with the president’s handling of the pandemic.
“President Trump, from the very beginning, his negligence in identifying the real challenge and risk of COVID-19 and then incompetence to respond once they finally get it – which made our consequences more serious than any other industrialized – or just about any industrialized country in the world, “Hickenlooper said. “Our economy is turned upside down and we still cannot get further relief.”
Gardner pushed back and criticized Hickenlooper for his condemnation of the GOP-led coronavirus relief program in September. Democrats argued he had not done enough to alleviate or address the economic grievances caused by the pandemic.
“He thinks it is more important to be in politics than to help the people of this state,” Gardner said. ” [T]The relief the American people need was on the floor with more to come a few weeks ago. ”
Hickenlooper is not in any office, so he had no decision-making authority in the matter.
Gardner, who has been repeatedly accused by Hickenlooper of blindly following Trump’s orders, has also blatantly condemned white supremacy, as has Hickenlooper.
Several GOP members followed suit after Trump sparked controversy by telling the Proud Boys in the first presidential debate to “step back and stand tall.”
And when asked by a moderator of the debate whether Trump “inspired domestic terrorism,” Gardner said, “I sure hope not. No. ”
Hickenlooper, meanwhile, believed there was a direct correlation, telling the moderator, “Most likely, yes.”
Gardner also took a bit of heat on his change of stance on whether or not a Supreme Court judge should be confirmed in an election year.
Gardner, who rejected President Obama’s 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland for being “too early” for the general election, cast his support for Trump’s choice in the Supreme Court.
“It’s consistent with our precedent, and it’s just what I was referring to in 2016 and what I’m referring to today,” Gardner told Fox News.
“Our precedent indicates that we are not subject to any restriction or prevention … to appoint and confirm a judge to the Supreme Court,” he added.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
But Gardner also pointed to Hickenlooper’s appointment of a Colorado Supreme Court justice at the end of his term as governor, calling his position to rush the selection of the US Supreme Court as hypocritical.
Early voting began in Colorado on Friday, but the two candidates will meet for a final debate on Tuesday, before voters go to the polls on November 3.