DENVER — NextGen Climate Colorado, the group founded and funded by San Francisco billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer, is hitting Colorado’s airwaves for the first time Tuesday with a new TV ad attacking GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner.
Steyer, who has pledged to spend $50 billion of his own fortune this campaign cycle to help Democratic candidates willing to take action on climate change, has already raised eyebrows with unconventional TV spots attacking Republicans in other states.
The spot taking aim at Gardner, R-Yuma, features a number of people shutting doors and drawing down window-shades; the message to Gardner: “Keep out.”
“He thinks he knows better than the scientists, NASA and the U.S. military on climate change,” a female narrator says over sinister images of a window being closed and a door being pulled shut.
On the screen, text reads: “Denies the science of climate change.”
But the narrator moves right on to highlight a number of other issues: Gardner’s opposition to same-sex marriage and his support for personhood and additional legislation to restrict access to birth control.
“He’s Congressman Cory Gardner and he thinks he should decide for us, because he thinks he knows better,” the narrator says. “Don’t let him.”
Udall’s campaign has sought to focus largely on Gardner’s past support for personhood and the incongruity of his current stance: Gardner came out in February in opposition to the Colorado personhood initiative but remains listed as a co-sponsor of the federal Life Begins at Conception Act that is tantamount to personhood.
Steyer is looking to leverage his wealth to affect political change that will lead to action combating climate change; but he’s not limiting his attack lines to that issue.
“As an elected official, Gardner has relentlessly tried to impose his extreme views to reduce or stop the funding of science research on climate change and to interfere on women’s health issues to the point where he would have made abortion a felony,” said Abby Leeper, spokesperson for NextGen Climate Colorado.
“And now he wants to ‘shake up the Senate’ with his harmful Gardner-knows-best attitude. Congressman Gardner’s voting record is outside the mainstream in Colorado, and NextGen Climate will continue to point that out through the election.”
Last Tuesday at a renewable energy conference in Aspen, Steyer said that his focus is on turning out the voters who will help the Democratic candidates he supports more than it is on persuading undecided voters.