In an interview with The Denver Post on Friday Gardner, who recently jumped into the race to defeat Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), said he couldn't support personhood anymore. Critics of personhood have said that the proposal effectively outlaws all types of birth control.
"This was a bad idea driven by good intentions," Gardner told the Denver newspaper. "I was not right. I can't support personhood now. I can't support personhood going forward. To do it again would be a mistake."
Gardner's decision to switch stances comes after Democrats focused their early attacks against the newly declared Senate candidate and GOP favorite on social issues. Liberal organizations highlighted a video of Gardner in a 2010 debate where, as a state lawmaker, touted his support for personhood and helped efforts to get the issue on the Colorado ballot.
Gardner admitted to the Post that his position switch would likely also be used against him throughout the Senate campaign.
"The fact that it restricts contraception, it was not the right position," Gardner said. "I've learned to listen. I don't get everything right the first time. There are far too many politicians out there who take the wrong position and stick with it and never admit that they should do something different."
Colorado voters defeated essentially identical personhood measures in 2008 and 2010.
The Udall campaign panned Gardner's position switch.
"Gardner is showing a profound lack of respect for Colorado voters," Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement. "Coloradans want a Senator who always promotes and protects women's health, not one who simply pretends to during election years."