Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is high on Democrats’ target list, particularly given that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton carried the state by five points (48 percent to 43 percent for Donald Trump) in 2016 and Democrats have won the last four gubernatorial races. Democratic strategists argue that Colorado now sits more in the blue column than the purple one, making Gardner all the more vulnerable in their eyes. Not surprisingly, there are a number of Democratic names being floated to challenge Gardner; one of them, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, made his candidacy official today Gardner, 44, served two terms in the U.S. House before being elected to the Senate in 2014, beating then-Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall by two points in what was a very good year for Republicans nationally. Udall ran a one-note campaign against Gardner – arguing that he held extreme positions on birth control and abortion, and was thus hostile to women – but voters didn’t buy it. Gardner is certainly not the most moderate member of the Republican Senate Conference, but he is well

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