10/03/2014 11:51 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2014

Empanadas and Women Don't Mix Well With Cory Gardner

Women gathered at Maria's Empanada Thursday to express their concerns about senatorial candidate Cory Gardner.

After sampling the fare prepared by restaurant owner Lorena Cantorovici, four woman spoke to reporters about how Gardner's positions have hurt them and their families.

Patricia Barela Rivera, a businesswoman and founder of PBR Solutions, said that "women know better than to trust Cory Gardner, because he is hurting the economy."

The next speaker was Shayla Sanders, a recent graduate from the University of Denver and a working mother.

Sanders said she was "appalled to find out that Congressman Cory Gardner voted to cut spending for Pell Grants, making education less affordable for students. Women know better than to trust him to help students get ahead."

"At a time when hardworking Colorado Women need higher paying jobs, Congressman Gardner voted against equal pay for women for equal work," said Josette Jaramillo, a resident of Pueblo and President of AFSCME Local 333. "Time and time again he makes decisions that make the American Dream of working and getting ahead impossible for Colorado families."

The final speaker was Leah Capritta, an attorney and working mother of two.

"Cory Gardner thinks that, as a politician in Washington D.C., he gets to decide the healthcare choices we make.," Capritta said. "That just doesn't make sense. Being able to decide how and when to have a family is not just a health issue, it's an economic issue for women."

This week, Gardner has been refusing to answer questions about why he sponsored a federal bill banning all abortion, even for rape, and some forms of birth control.

Woman are widely seen as the decisive voting bloc in the November 4 election, and political campaigns are scrambling to capture their votes. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed to voters Oct. 14.

In 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet won a narrow victory over Republican Ken Buck, and analysts credit Bennet's popularity among woman as the key factor in his victory.

This year, polls show Gardner's Democratic opponent, Sen. Mark Udall, to be ahead of Gardner by a wide margin among women voters.