It's the final stretch of the election and Cory Gardner isn't the candidate Dems expected

Sarah Murray --- The Wall Street Journal 

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.—Rep. Cory Gardner isn’t the Senate candidate Democrats were expecting to face—and that fact is driving this year’s race here.

Freshman Sen. Mark Udall and his fellow Colorado Democrats planned their campaign imagining a contest against Ken Buck, a tea-party Republican with a history of making controversial comments. Instead, they got Mr. Gardner, a conservative who has also tacked to the center on issues including over-the-counter access to birth control, renewable energy and immigration.

While Democrats have used a familiar playbook—defining Mr. Gardner as a far-right-winger, particularly on reproductive issues—Mr. Gardner is doing all he can to deflect the label. His pitch might be working. The last five polls showed Mr. Gardner with a slight edge over Mr. Udall.

Colorado is one of a handful of races that will help determine control of the Senate in this November’s election. While most consider it a swing state, Republicans have struggled to win statewide here recently.

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