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Immigration Activists Protest as Cory Gardner Accepts GOP Nomination for Senate

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Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) officially captured the GOP nomination for the Senate this weekend, which means he will be running against Democratic incumbent Mark Udall this fall.  While state Republicans gathered at the Coors Event Center, however, pro-immigration reform activists protested outside, calling out Gardner’s anti-immigrant policies and holding up signs like “separating families is not cool.”

While other House Republicans like Mike Coffman have come out in favor of immigration reform with a path to citizenship, Gardner hasn’t even done that much.  Latino voters are about 14% of Colorado’s electorate, and as Gardner campaigns this year he will have to answer for the votes he’s taken with Steve King as well as the House’s overall refusal to take action on immigration reform.

It’s like Benjy Sarlin wrote in September of last year:

If there’s one thing Republicans have learned over the last few years, it’s that what plays well in Greeley doesn’t always translate outside of it.

[Ken] Buck discovered the hard way that his anti-immigration posture made him repellent to Latinos. In 2010 he ran for Senate only to lose 81% of the Latino vote and the election to incumbent Democrat Michael Bennett. The same year, Tancredo lost 86% of the Latino vote in a three-way gubernatorial race against Governor John Hickenlooper. Two years later, Democrats captured solid majorities in the state legislature while 75% of Latinos voted for Obama over Mitt Romney in 2012.

Latino voters aren’t the only reason for the state GOP’s implosion, but it’s hard to imagine the party bouncing back without them. The Latino share of Colorado’s electorate jumped from 8% in 2004 to 14% in 2012 and demographic trends suggest it will keep rising.

View a few of the tweets from the activists outside on Saturday: