Mar 3, 2021 - News
Michael Bennet on prospect of Gardner challenge
Sen. Michael Bennett and Sen. Cory Gardner walk down a hallway together
Sen. Michael Bennet (D), left, and Sen. Cory Gardner (R), center, walk together to the Senate floor in 2018. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

Ahead of his 2022 re-election bid, Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is sounding the alarm about former Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

Driving the news: Bennet's campaign sent an email that highlighted Gardner's new role raising money for Republicans and suggested his former colleague is "doing whatever it takes to … make sure Michael loses his seat."

In a recent interview with Axios, Bennet said Gardner would be a "formidable" candidate, but he downplayed concern about a direct challenge.

  • What he's saying: "The voters of Colorado know our voting records very well, and I feel extremely comfortable facing re-election with the voting record that I have."
  • Gardner has not indicated whether he’s interested in running after losing his own re-election bid in November.

Be smart: Bennet also must defend his left flank. Former Democratic state Rep. Joe Salazar, a Bernie Sanders acolyte, is making noise about a possible primary run.

  • Between the lines: Bennet is betting his centrist approach is the right fit despite the state's increasingly deeper blue hue.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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