It’s a mile deep, up to 18 miles wide, and nowhere near the home turf of embattled Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
It’s the Grand Canyon, and ― geography be damned ― it nevertheless features prominently in a new pro-Gardner reelection ad titled, “Delivering For Colorado.”
The spot opens with soaring music and a narrator who, in deep baritone, talks up “Colorado’s greatest natural resources: our people, our land.” In the background, a panorama of the Grand Canyon sweeps past.
The Grand Canyon is 6 million years old. It’s spent every single one of them in the area we now know as “Arizona.”
James Owens, who served as press secretary for the Democratic senator Gardner beat in 2014, Mark Udall, first noticed the discrepancy. “Not how you win in [Colorado]!” he remarked:
Gardner is considered the most vulnerable Republican senator on the ballot this year, in part because of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity in Colorado. Polls have consistently shown Democrat John Hickenlooper, the state’s former governor, with a comfortable lead over Gardner.
A super PAC by the name of ESAFund (formerly “Ending Spending Action Fund”) paid for the Gardner ad. OpenSecrets.org, a nonpartisan political finance tracker, links the organization to Joe Ricketts, billionaire co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and longtime financier of conservative causes.
In an emailed statement to HuffPost, Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Eli Rosen accused Ricketts of trying to greenwash Gardner’s record in exchange for the incumbent having supported massive tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest people.
“Apparently Gardner’s out-of-state billionaire backer can’t tell the difference between Colorado and Arizona,” Rosen quipped.
Gardner’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.