With the focus on a struggling economy social issues have taken a backseat this election season in Colorado's 4th Congressional District. There has been little talk between the two major party candidates about their stances on abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration.
Cory Gardner, the Republican candidate for the seat seems to have downplayed the importance of these issues, "They (Democrats) try to distract the voter with social issues," Gardner said in a recent interview with 600 KCOL, a local FOX affiliated radio station.
Other statements Gardner has made give the impression that this was an intentional strategy on his part. When asked if he would deliberately avoid "hot-button social issues" during the primary campaign last year Gardner told reporters, "Certainly. I am focusing on the economy...A failure of Republicans in the past has been (not focusing on) the basic nuts and bolts of governing."
Another example of Gardner avoiding social issues can be found in an August New York Times article as well, "Mr. Gardner, pressed several times in an interview for his views on abortion and same-sex marriage, simply declined to answer," according to the article.
"Rep. Gardner is trying to pass himself off as something he's not by avoiding these issues. He's trying desperately to cover up the fact that his views are in lockstep with Marilyn Musgrave, and hoping that nobody will notice," said Ben Marter, Markey's spokesperson.
Gardner's spokesperson, Rachel Boxer, refused to comment on Gardner's positions saying simply, "The only person in this race talking about social issues is Rep. Markey. Cory is focused on jobs, the economy and reigning in spending."
With the repealing of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in the national spotlight and Amendment 62, it doesn't seem that Markey is the only one talking about these issues. In spite of this Boxer declined to comment any further on Gardner's positions.
With Gardner's recent silence aside he has been pretty clear about some of his positions in the past, particularly abortion.
When asked about his support of an outright ban of abortion, including cases of rape, incest and the health of the mother, Gardner told the Coloradoan, "I'm pro-life, and I believe abortion is wrong."
Markey has made her position clear as well and is strongly against such a ban.
"Rep. Gardner's support for the so-called 'Personhood Amendment' is extremely out of step with this district. In 2008, the same measure failed in EVERY single county in the 4th Congressional District," Marter said.
The failed measure Marter is referring to is Amendment 48, Colorado's 2008 proposal similar to this year's Amendment 62 that suffered a lopsided defeat with 73% of the electorate voting against it.
Boxer would not provide a comment on Gardner's stance on same-sex marriage.
"Betsy would not support that amendment. She believes the government should stay out of people's bedrooms," Marter said.
The most important social issue faced by the country today in Markey's opinion, "Betsy believes we must fix our broken immigration system and pass comprehensive immigration reform," Marter said.
As the election season comes to its climax this November 2nd it seems that Gardner's strategy of avoiding social issues might pay off as he holds a lead in most polls, but as it is said, "only time will tell."
Follow Jesse Benn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JesseBenn