Republican candidate for Senate Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) said on Tuesday that Democratic incumbent Mark Udall is a "fanatic" for the environmental policies of leftist billionaire Tom Steyer.
Gardner told the Washington Free Beacon that he would continue to press Udall on his comments that fracking "keeps us locked into the old system," which the Democrat flatly denied during a debate on Monday. His comments were recorded at an event in April.
"When it’s convenient to oppose hydraulic fracturing, Sen. Udall opposes hydraulic fracturing," Gardner said. "When he’s before a group of business executives, he says that, ‘Oh, you’re just making that up.’ We have the tape of him to a constituent where he says hydraulic fracturing keeps us locked in the old system."
"Those are words that Sen. Udall said months ago," he said. "What does he mean by that? We would like to know."
Gardner said energy issues are extremely important in Colorado and added that voters will pay attention to Udall’s ties to Steyer.
"When there’s a possible energy ban in Colorado, Sen. Udall was AWOL," he said. "When there was a possibility that Tom Steyer would challenge and pay for a hydraulic fracturing ban in Colorado, Sen. Udall said nothing, but instead was in [Steyer’s] living room enjoying some hors d’oeuvres of some kind that made him a total fanatic for Tom Steyer policies."
In February Udall attended a fundraiser hosted in Steyer’s mansion in San Francisco.
Steyer’s Super PAC NextGen opened five offices with a team of 68 staffers in Colorado in support of Udall. The group has also spent at least $700,000 on television ads attempting to paint Gardner as a climate change "denier."
Steyer strongly opposes the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which Udall has voted against four times.
Gardner’s comments came following an event where he and Sen. John Thune (R., S.D.) rallied GOP supporters at a campaign office in Greenwood Village, just south of Denver.
Thune called the Colorado Senate race one of the most important in the country. "This is a really important race," he said. "The stakes couldn’t be higher and the consequences greater, this election in Colorado."
Thune said the senate is "dysfunctional" under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
"For all intents and purposes it’s been shut down," Thune said. "The Senate is as dysfunctional now as it has ever been. We went for an entire year, an entire year in the U.S. Senate we only voted on 11 Republican amendments, less than one a month. Think about that, the world’s greatest deliberative body and nothing’s getting done."
Gardner announced at the event that his campaign raised nearly $4.4 million last quarter, and spoke confidently to his Republican supporters. Gardner and Udall are currently running neck and neck, with a recent Rasmussen poll giving the Republican a one-point edge.
"We are going to win this race because the people of Colorado understand the best way to a brighter future and more opportunity is not through bigger government," Gardner said. "It’s not by putting more Washington in Colorado, it’s by making sure we have less Washington in Colorado, and more Colorado in Washington."