DENVER — By the time Republican Cory Gardner bounded into a room full of volunteers and supporters at the Colorado GOP offices in Greenwood Village Monday, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was beginning his third campaign event of the day.
Gardner’s speech, which lasted just five minutes, was his first public appearance since Saturday and possibly his last before voting wraps up Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Udall, who has stumped at 14 separate events over the last 48 hours, is planning to hold three more events on Tuesday on the three largest college campuses in the state — and for good reason.
As of Monday afternoon, younger Democratic voters had yet to turn out, with 33 percent of the counted Democratic vote coming from voters 65 years old and older (in 2010, those voters accounted for just 23 percent of the Democratic vote).
With Republicans maintaining an 8.2 overall edge in the 1.46 million ballots already processed by county clerks, the Udall campaign is in overdrive over the campaign’s final days, working furiously to push Democrat-leaning voters — mainly Hispanics and millennials — to cast enough ballots to help them overtake Gardner once the final votes have been counted.
“You can feel the energy here today,” Udall said as he met briefly with reporters following his first campaign rally on Denver’s Auraria Campus. “Democrats vote late, we’ve got a state-of-the-art ground game, I’m feeling very confident.”
But Gardner’s decision to keep a lower profile, being content to sit back and let the race take its natural course, tells you that the challenger’s campaign is currently in the driver’s seat thanks to palpable Republican enthusiasm about the opportunity to send a message to President Obama and the party’s chance of breaking a 12-year losing streak in Colorado’s top statewide races.
“Republicans are motivated to win,” Gardner said. “They’ve seen over the past six years the failure of Barack Obama’s policies, and that’s why they’ll continue to vote from today through 7 p.m. tomorrow.”
Gardner also argued that Democrat’s eleventh hour emphasis on turning out the vote, and a larger focus on process as opposed to Udall and a policy platform, is revealing.
“They’re talking about tactics and process, so they’ve actually lost sight of winning on their own message,” he said.
The reality remains that Udall is unlikely to overtake Gardner without a surge of late-voting Democrats in the final days of the campaign, which explains his high visibility down the stretch on college campuses and in neighborhoods with a high percentage of Hispanic residents.
Udall spent most of the day stumping alongside Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, the author of the DREAM Act and a hero to many of the country’s Hispanics.
“750,000 DREAMers are on the line tomorrow,” said Gutierrez, who also promised that President Obama would sign an executive order by Christmas to suspend the deportations of millions of undocumented immigrants, trying to foster late enthusiasm among Hispanic voters disappointed by Obama’s decision to put that action off until after the election.
After rallying alongside Gutierrez, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and other local Hispanic leaders, Udall was asked about Obama’s decision to delay that executive order.
“I made it very clear I was disappointed in his decision to not use his executive order,” Udall told reporters. “I’m going to hold him to his word, when we go back to Washington next week, that he uses his executive authority by Christmas, as congressman Gutiérrez said, to keep families together.”
[protected-iframe id=”b962b549af76cad7a9f5a472710a4cb4-29290497-36744130″ info=”p+” ]