Yuma, Colo., a farming town of 3,500 people near the Kansas border, celebrated last month as homegrown Republican Cory Gardner was elected to the U.S. Senate. Gardner, a high school football player and the son of a farm equipment dealer, defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to help the GOP gain control of the Senate in the second-most expensive congressional race of all time.
Gardner represented Colorado’s 4th Congressional District for four years, an expansive territory that covers the mostly flat and rural eastern third of the state. Farmers there mostly grow corn to feed cattle, and water comes from the quickly depleting Ogallala Aquifer.
Gardner ran for Senate as “a new kind of Republican.” That means he was bold enough to stand in front of a wind turbine and voice support for both renewable energy and natural gas. But Gardner, who leans toward the Tea Party, has also questioned whether people are causing climate change. His climate-skeptic position is ironic — and dangerous for his very constituents.
Climate models project that Gardner’s current House district — along with much of the food-producing Great Plains and Corn Belt —... Read more