Gardner Loves Conservative Radio Shows But not Town Halls

Over 1,500 people gathered last month and put questions to a cardboard cutout of Colorado's senator.
04/14/2017 12:12 pm ET Updated Apr 17, 2017
Tom Williams via Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) hasn’t held a town hall meeting this year, but he’s graced the warm airwaves of 15 talk-radio shows, taking gentle questions from some of Colorado’s most conservative figures.

For example, in February, March, and April, Gardner took time to chat with KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, a staunch right-wing Republican, who begged listeners during the last election to jump on the Trump bandwagon.

A recurrent issue on Caplis’ show is abortion, which he wants to ban. But he’s also a fierce opponent of Obamacare, legalized marijuana, gun-safety measures, and Democrats.

Caplis concluded his most recent conversation with Gardner by telling him the senator that he’s “doing a great job back there.”

Gardner took time in February to talk to KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman as well.

Like Caplis, Silverman is a huge Gardner fan, which he made clear by concluding his last Gardner interview with, “You always leave me in a good mood.”

Over on KHOW 630-AM, Ross Kaminsky is reliably leading the charge for cuts in Medicaid, the federal program for the poor. Gardner appeared on his show four times this year, once discussing how Gardner might dismantle Obamacare without having to estimate how many millions of people would lose health insurance.

Gardner has chatted twice this year with KNUS hosts Steve Kelley and Krista Kafer, both well-known Colorado conservatives. In an April 4 interview, Kelley and Gardner rejoiced over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and Kelley told Gardner that his number one reason for voting for Trump was to put a conservative on the highest court.

Gardner does not appear to respond to progressive media outlets.

One progressive columnist, Mike Littwin, wrote a Colorado Independent column at the end of last year with numerous questions for Gardner, whose office, Littwin wrote, “seems to have a policy of never returning my calls.”

Littwin wrote, “I figure I’ll write the questions [for Gardner] down, making it easier on everyone. They can just email me the answers. Or text me. Or use Instagram, or telegram, or send it via the KGB. It’s all good for me.”

Gardner’s his office did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

Gardner has also taken questions from Jimmy Lakey, a former GOP congressional candidate, who hosts a show on Ft. Collins’ Fox News Radio. And Gadner has talked repeatedly with KNUS’ Jimmy Sengengerger (also on KDMT 1690-AM).

None of the conservative talk radio hosts took calls from listeners during Gardner’s 15 appearances on their shows this year. Such calls, if they had been accepted, would have been screened by a producer, as is the norm on talk radio.

Gardner has held telephone conference calls with constituents, during which he’s taken questions.

But many of Gardner’s constituents remain so frustrated that Gardner refuses answer questions in person that over 1,500 people gathered last month and put questions to a cardboard cutout of Colorado’s senator.

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