DENVER (CBS4) - Once a rising star in the Republican party, Sen. Cory Gardner defended his conservative credentials at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on Friday.
"There's no place I'd rather be than here with the largest gathering of conservatives in the Western U.S.," said Colorado's junior senator.
Gardner previewed his 2020 campaign strategy, talking about his rural Colorado roots and his conservative record in Congress.
"The United States Senate has been able to deliver a record number of judges who vow to uphold our Constitution -- two Supreme Court justices, 42 circuit court justices and 83 district court judges," Gardner told the crowd.
"Now I know that the next president will most likely choose two more Supreme Court justices. I know who President Trump would select, somebody like Colorado's own Allison Eid. And I know who Bernie Sanders would select -- Castro anyone?"
But that was Gardner's only reference to President Donald Trump.
In a state where Trump is as popular with Republicans as he is unpopular with non-Republicans, Gardner is trying to appeal to both by warning it's him -- a fifth generation Coloradan -- or what he calls a radical socialist agenda.
"Just look at the policies their party now stands for. Socialized medicine, the Green New Deal, eliminating the Electoral College, dictating what job you can and can't have, packing the courts, massive tax increases, open borders and the list goes on and on and on," he said.
A total of 10 Democrats have already announced they are challenging Gardner and more are expected to enter the race. The race will be one of the most watched in the country.
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