DENVER — GOP congressman Cory Gardner took incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s seat Tuesday, a key win that helped Republicans take control of the Senate.

“What is happening in Washington isn’t working and it’s time to stop,” an ebullient Gardner said in his victory speech to cheering supporters. “Tomorrow we go to work to fix Washington, a town that is out of step, out of touch and out of time.”

President Obama won Colorado in both of his presidential races, but his unpopularity this year weighed down Udall, who spent the summer distancing himself from his party’s leader. Gardner’s supporters attacked Udall for voting with the president most of the time and argued Colorado needed a voice to counter the president’s agenda.

It’s a message that reached voter Mary Evans, 70, who dropped off her mail ballot in Erie on Tuesday morning.

Evans said she voted for Gardner because she believed GOP control of the Senate would help break the political logjam, forcing more compromise. She said she voted for Republicans and Democrats at the state level but believed Gardner could help move things ahead on the national level.

“We have a better chance of that happening in a majority,” she said. “If I don’t vote, I can’t blame anybody else for what happens. This is one day the little guy gets heard.”

Gardner has a very conservative voting record in Congress, in part because he represented Colorado’s conservative Eastern Plains. But he motivated voters across the state to turn in their ballots in an all-mail election Democrats thought would favor them.

A downcast Udall thanked supporters and thanked voters for lending him their power over the past six …read more