Colorado’s U.S. Senate candidates on 13 issues

Second Amendment

In Colorado’s high-profile U.S. Senate race, former Gov. John Hickenlooper and incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner bring very different visions for the country.

As ballots drop and the state’s voters prepare to decide a contest that could help determine control of the Senate, here’s where Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Gardner, a Republican, stand on 13 key issues:

Supreme Court

Gardner has voted to confirm 98% of President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. He supports taking a vote before Inauguration Day on Trump pick Amy Coney Barrett. This is a reversal of position from 2016, when, nearly a year out from that year’s election, he opposed a vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee because, he said, it was too close to the election to fill the seat.

Hickenlooper supported Merrick Garland’s confirmation in 2016, but he says because Republicans created a new precedent that year by declining to vote on Garland, the same standard should apply now, and he opposes Barrett’s nomination. He has expressed mixed but mostly skeptical feelings in the past when asked whether Democrats should try to expand the court with new seats to flip the power balance, and he’s been mum on this topic lately.

Donald Trump

Gardner was critical of Trump during the 2016 election and said he did not vote for him. Things have changed significantly since then, and Gardner was an early Senate endorser of Trump’s reelection bid. He voted against impeaching the president earlier this year, and Trump has thanked him publicly at various points for his loyalty.

Hickenlooper called for impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump in mid-2019 and then slammed Gardner and the GOP-controlled Senate for its handling of the impeachment trial. He has been consistently critical of the president and has centered much of his messaging this election on Gardner’s closeness with Trump.

Black Lives Matter and police

Gardner condemned the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, but, remarking on the Black Lives Matter protests that followed, he said he supports police having the ability to “stop the carnage that is happening” in the streets. When asked earlier this year about the president calling for law enforcement and National Guard troops to “dominate” protesters, Gardner said merely that he hadn’t heard those remarks.

During a Senate primary debate, Hickenlooper responded to a question about what “Black Lives Matter” means to him by saying that “every life matters.” He later said he misspoke and that he is proud to stand with anyone who, like him, wants to combat systemic racism. As Denver mayor, he hired as a consultant one of the leading advocates for “broken windows” policing — that is, cracking down on minor crimes — which has been shown to lead to over-policing of nonwhite communities.

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