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DENVER — Former Colorado Senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart has written a letter to the Denver Post calling the newspaper’s endorsement of GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner “one of the worst endorsement decisions” of his lifetime.

It’s not yet clear whether the letter, obtained Tuesday by FOX31 Denver, will be printed in the newspaper.

The Post’s endorsement, posted last Friday, urged voters to support Gardner, who ranked last year as the 10th most conservative member of the House GOP caucus, as someone who could usher in a new era of bipartisanship in the Senate; and it excoriated Udall, a Democrat seeking a second term, for an “insulting” campaign that has focused almost entirely on women’s reproductive health.

“You have chosen to support a conventional partisan over a legislator concerned with the nation interest,” Hart, 77, writes.

Hart is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance of late thanks to a new book, All the Truth is Out, in which Matt Bai argues that the media’s decision to uncover the former senator’s apparent infidelity in 1987 marked a critical turning point in the way media covered politics, and in politics itself — the moment when a candidate’s character started to become more important than his or her political experience and views.

Here is Hart’s letter to Post editor Gregory Moore in full:

Dear Mr. Moore:

Your editorial board’s decision to endorse Congressman Cory Gardner for the United States Senate ranks as one of the worst endorsement decisions, not only by the Denver Post but by any serious newspaper, in my lifetime.

As a Colorado citizen who pays more than ordinary attention to American politics generally and to Colorado politics particularly, I am dumbfounded and appalled by your endorsement.  Colorado quite possibly has the best two Senators in the United States and you choose to dismiss one of them.  It is flatly false to say that Senator Udall is not a leader or that he is not at the center of major debates.  It is much more accurate to say that he is not a self-promoter, which seems to have become the coin of the political realm.

I know for an absolute fact that he is at or near the center of virtually all serious national security, energy, environment, and economic debate currently occurring.  I know for a fact that he is widely respected as a serious legislator by Senators of both parties.  I cannot imagine from what sources you are deriving your information, but it is clearly not other United States Senators or anyone with a clear picture of what is going on in our nation’s capital.  You have chosen to support a conventional partisan over a legislator concerned with the nation interest.

For you to conclude that Mr. Gardner will be anything other than a consistent vote for a Tea Party dictated agenda on the major social and economic issues of the day is confounding.  Simply because one source called him a “rising star” does not qualify him for Senate membership.  I had the privilege of serving with serious Senators of both parties.  Mr. Gardner has a very long way to go before even coming close to their standard of statesmanship. Senator Udall, from a distinguished public service family whom I have known and with whom I have served, has the gravitas concerning the future of our nation that a partisan such as Mr. Gardner will never have in his life.

I will leave it to my wife to decide whether to continue her subscription to the Post.  I have lost confidence in the seriousness of your editorial judgment.


Gary Hart