Udall, Gardner campaigns battle over floods, government shutdown

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Congressman Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, (left) and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, took an aerial tour of the flood damage last fall roughly five months before Gardner decided to challenge Udall this fall.

DENVER — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner blasted Democratic Sen. Mark Udall Friday for “politicizing” the tragedy of last fall’s devastating floods.

Gardner, who joined Udall and other state and federal officials last year during the response to the floods, blasted the senator for trying to “exploit the tragedy for political gain” after Udall’s campaign Thursday attacked Gardner “endangering flood recovery” efforts by voting against a federal disaster bill and supporting the government shutdown that delayed federal assistance to Colorado communities.

“I was incredibly disappointed to hear and see Senator Udall dismiss our work together on behalf of flood relief last fall,” Gardner said Friday in a release from his campaign.

“When Colorado suffers a disaster, we have a history of banding together as Coloradans and helping our family, friends, and neighbors recover. I led the effort in the House to secure federal disaster relief and stood proudly with Senator Udall and others when we successfully moved this legislation through Congress.”

Gardner spent several days speaking with local officials, helping coordinate the federal response and even took a helicopter tour to survey the damage with Udall, according to Gardner’s campaign.

“Coloradans should be concerned that Senator Udall is stooping so low as to politicize a terrible tragedy and maliciously lie about what happened during Colorado’s floods,” Gardner’s spokesman, Alex Siciliano, said.

“Simply put: Mr. Udall’s rhetoric is unbecoming of a United States Senator.”

Udall’s campaign, which released a new TV ad earlier this week featuring Jamestown’s mayor praising the senator for helping her community recover from the floods, is defending its line of attack against Gardner and his fellow Republicans for voting to shut down the government last fall in an effort to stop the implementation of Obamacare.

“Congressman Gardner put his radical, Tea Party ideology over the needs of Colorado communities who were fighting to hold on after the worst natural disaster in our state’s history,” Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch said. “When Coloradans needed him to stand up, Gardner just shut down. That kind of selfish disregard for our families and communities is just too extreme for Colorado.”

The shutdown, which occurred just weeks after the floods, delayed federal disaster relief.

Legislation to lift a federal $100 million cap on the amount of money states can receive to expedite highway repairs that was, incidentally, sponsored by both Udall and Gardner, in the Senate and House, respectively, was delayed an entire day due to the 21-hour filibuster waged by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who led the shutdown effort.

Udall’s campaign Friday pointed the media to a Facebook post from Gardner last Aug. 9 in which he “bragged…about supporting Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz’s reckless efforts that caused the government shutdown.

“The shutdown severely hampered the federal government’s ability to assist recovery efforts when Coloradans needed them most,” Udall’s campaign continued.



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