Sen. Cory Gardner speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a Keep America Great rally on Feb. 20, 2020, in Colorado Springs. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner will get a boost in his uphill battle for reelection at a high-dollar Cherry Hills Village fundraiser this weekend, courtesy of a top executive at one of Colorado’s largest oil and gas firms, according to an invitation obtained by Newsline.
Steve Struna, CEO of Bayswater, a Denver-based oil and gas producer, is listed as a co-host for the fundraiser for the Gardner campaign, scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10, in one of the Denver area’s wealthiest neighborhoods. “Suggested contribution levels” for the event range from a minimum of $250 per attendee to the maximum $2,800 allowed by federal law.
Gardner and his Democratic challenger, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, are scheduled to participate in a debate hosted by CPR News and Denver 7 on Friday evening. Representatives for Gardner — who has consistently trailed Hickenlooper in public opinion polling — could not immediately be reached for comment.
Despite working alongside several Senate colleagues who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks, Gardner’s campaign said prior to a previous debate with Hickenlooper last week that the senator had tested negative.
“We are closely monitoring public health officials’ guidance regarding COVID-19,” the invitation for Saturday’s Gardner fundraiser notes. “This event will adhere to CDC, State of Colorado, and local health officials’ guidance regarding social distancing and capacity.”
Gardner has been one of the U.S. Senate’s top recipients of contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2020 election cycle, according to campaign-finance database OpenSecrets. The $481,223 he has accepted from fossil-fuel interests in the last two years is second only to the amount received by Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn in his own 2020 reelection bid.
Gardner has long been a target of criticism from Democrats over his record on environmental and climate-change issues, including for his opposition to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and his vote against a 2015 Senate amendment affirming that global warming “is real and not a hoax.”
Earlier this week, HuffPost published audio of a Yuma columnist’s 2017 phone interview with Gardner, in which the senator repeatedly refused to answer directly when asked whether humans are causing climate change, while speculating that efforts to reduce emissions are driven by “people who want to control the economy as a result of their belief about the environment.”
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