Alexandra Jaffe -- The Hill
Colorado Democrats are fretting that Sen. Mark Udall’s (D-Colo.) “war on women” battle cry against Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is starting to sound like a broken record.
After a series of polls this past month have shown the race statistically tied or even with Gardner up, some Democrats are urging Udall to find a new refrain against his opponent, lest Republicans claim the seat in November.
“Gardner gave him a lot to work with on that subject, but a lot people think he may have overdone it,” said one well-connected Democratic operative in the state.
Starting essentially from Gardner’s entry into the race, Udall’s main line of attack on the GOP congressman has been his support for a federal “personhood” measure, which would effectively ban abortion and restrict many forms of birth control.
Gardner, however, has said he regretted his past support for the statewide initiative and has also helped mitigate hits against him by coming out for over-the-counter birth control — the first in a string of GOP Senate candidates to do so.
The problem is not that the attacks on Gardner haven’t worked, Democrats say — it’s that Udall is swimming against a far tougher tide than many had initially expected, even when the party was preparing for a tough cycle.
They point in particular to President Obama’s underwater approval rating in the state, and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s own tougher than expected reelection thanks, in part, to self-inflicted wounds.
“There’s a little dissatisfaction with Obama that translates down the Democratic ticket,” admitted Mike Feeley, a former Democratic state Senate minority leader. “I think Udall is trying to overcome that.”
Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli, who’s done work for both parties, said that “for a while, the national environment turned very negative against the Democrats” — and agreed that Udall’s “war on women” attacks may be growing stale.