Mr. Gardner’s supporters are optimistic that once voters hear the extent of his record “separate from Trump,” as Ms. Solin put it, his stance on the president will matter less. His supporters point to his yearslong effort to relocate the Bureau of Land Management from Washington, D.C., to Colorado, which the administration has announced as officially underway. They also promote his work with Democrats including Senator Elizabeth Warren to allow cannabis businesses access to the banking industry in states like Colorado, where marijuana is legal.
Mr. Gardner is likely to end up facing John Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor now running for Senate, in the general election, and he will probably maintain many Republican votes — even if cast grudgingly.
At the recent Denver G.O.P. breakfast, where some people wore “Make America Great Again” and “Keep America Great” hats, but where Mr. Gardner’s campaign was limited to a leaflet, Herb Glasser, a 54-year-old public accountant, said he planned to support Mr. Gardner despite resigning himself to being “unhappy” with the senator a long time ago.
“We have no choice,” said Mr. Glasser, who described himself as a “true conservative.”
According to Mr. Sandberg, the G.O.P. operative, it’s now up to Mr. Gardner’s campaign to reach those Coloradans who, despite their disdain for the president, might still be persuaded to give his party a chance.
Voters, perhaps, like Amy Conklin. Ms. Conklin, a former Littleton City Council member, is a registered Democrat, but says she has long “put out yard signs for both sides.” She was a legislative aide when Mr. Gardner was a member of the state House, and remembers him as “a really good legislator,” someone who “would reach across the aisle.”
Her feelings since have changed. “I’ve been intensely disappointed in his behavior since he’s gone to Washington,” she said.