Earlier this month, Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks, the MAGA Republican who ran for the GOP Senate nomination and was crushed by Joe O’Dea, endorsed Libertarian Brian Peotter, calling him "the only conservative on the ballot… O’Dea is definitely not a conservative, nor a Republican for any reason other than convenience. It is well documented he contributed to over a dozen hard-left, socialist Democrats– including the one he is feebly losing to in this 2022 race. Conservatives see through his failed political venture as a safety valve for leftists, on the remote chance the elections might spin out of control. During the campaign, O’Dea laughably declared he would govern like Joe Manchin, the Democrat Senator from West Virginia. Joe Manchin gave in to the corrupt demands of Chuck Schumer after negotiating a better price for his vote. Far from a hero, Manchin has proven himself to be a mere political prostitute, interested only in the best price for his services. In his self-assessment of his presumed legislative style, I believe O’Dea to be accurate. If the COGOP’s candidate O’Dea were elected, he would be to the left of every other fake Republican in office, including the contemptible Mitt Romney. Another Mitt Romney or Liz Cheney will not move the red wave forward, nor make America great again. Another spoiled apple in the US Senate is not a solution to the problems we face– it is a recipe for more pain and disaster.”
Every forecast has incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet ahead of O’Dea, generally by unassailable numbers. Nonetheless, the old-line— non-Trumpist— Republican establishment is fantasizing about stealing Colorado. Writing yesterday for Politico, Natalie Allison reported that “in the final weeks of the 2022 midterm campaign, with the GOP’s pickup prospects fading in states like Arizona and Georgia, national Republicans are looking for backup opportunities and holding out hope that O’Dea can eke out an upset in a state that’s on the bluer side of purple.”
McConnell’s SuperPAC has taken funds out of Arizona and New Hampshire that were earmarked for deranged MAGA candidates Blake Masters and Don Bolduc, and moved some of them into Colorado. As of the September 30 FEC filing deadline, Bennet had raised $19,580,414 and was still sitting on $4,898,614 while O’Dea raised a total of $6,539,786 (over 40% of which— $2,659,730—was self-funded) and has just $712,268 in his campaign account.
But it’s not just Hanks saying O’Dea isn’t conservative enough, Allison reported that “In at least one critical part of the state for the GOP, the local Republican Party is in shambles. In El Paso County, an area O’Dea will need to win with high margins to offset Bennet’s numbers elsewhere, some local Republican leaders are encouraging voters to leave races blank on their ballots rather than support candidates they don’t believe are sufficiently conservative. O’Dea’s primary opponent Ron Hanks, who ran much further to the right but captured 46 percent of the GOP vote, has endorsed the libertarian candidate in the Senate race.” Both in 2016 and 2020 Trump won more votes in El Paso County— by far— than in any other county in Colorado.
But O’Dea has been alienating Trump voters— with a helping hand from Trump himself. On his social media site, Trump wrote that O’Dea O’Dea “is having a good old time saying he wants to ‘distance’ himself from President Trump, and other slightly nasty things… MAGA doesn’t Vote for stupid people with big mouths. Good luck Joe.”
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND): “It certainly is not helpful. I would hate to see O’Dea lose to Sen. Bennet by a few votes just because Donald Trump urged Republicans not to vote and we came up short of the majority by one senator.”
Yesterday, CNN’s Manu Raju reported that O’Dea and Trump are sniping at each other. Trump called him a RINO and said his own supporters wouldn’t vote for a “stupid” person like O’Dea. On Sunday O’Dea was on State of the Union blaming Trump for not stopping the insurrection and promising to “actively” campaign against Trump and for other GOP candidates if Trump runs again. “Trump,” he told CNN, “is entitled to his opinion but I’m my own man and I’ll call it like I see it. Another Biden, Trump election will tear this country apart. DeSantis, Scott, Pompeo or Haley would be better choices. These elections should be focused on Joe Biden’s failures– supercharged inflation, a broken border, rampant crime, a war on American energy– not a rehash of 2020. America needs to move forward.”