A new poll finds Colorado Republican Cory Gardner neck and neck with the Democratic senator Mark Udall in what's become one of the hottest Senate races of the midterm elections. Rasmussen Reports finds Udall with 43 percent support and Gardner, a two-term congressman, with 42 percent support, a virtual tie between the candidates.
The Rasmussen poll is just the latest to show first-termer Udall below 50 percent support, and Real Clear Politics's poll average shows the race is a true toss-up. Both Udall and Gardner easily won their respective primaries this month, with Gardner clearing the Republican field earlier this year in a move that signalled to the national party the race was winnable.
The ad war between the two has already started, with Udall appearing in an ad attacking Gardner for wanting to ban birth control, and Gardner responding with his own ad targeting the Democrat's vote and continued support for Obamacare. The 39-year-old Gardner has also argued the Senate needs a "new generation," contrasting himself with the 63-year-old Udall, who also served in the House of Representatives for 10 years before entering the Senate.
Colorado Republicans also say they are counting the issue of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas drilling will work their advantage in a state where the ascendent Democratic party is starting to fracture around the issue. Democratic congressman Jared Polis is financing several local ballot initiatives to ban or limit the practice of fracking, while the state's Democratic governor John Hickenlooper, a geologist by trade, has traditionally supported Colorado's energy industry. Udall, meanwhile, has remained silent on the proposed bans. Expect to hear more about these divisions in the coming months.