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“I’m going to buck the party”: O’Dea embraces moderate label as Senate race heats up

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- He's trying to upset Democratic Senator Michael Bennet in a state that's voted blue in every Presidential election since 2004. But will Republican Joe O'Dea's attempts to label himself as a moderate in the GOP be enough to pull it off?

You may already notice the TV ads on your screen about three months out from election day. The U.S. Senate race is perhaps Colorado's most anticipated general election race and it's heating up early. 

O'Dea is running as a common sense Republican, hoping a moderate approach will be enough to win over undecided voters that have sent Bennet to Washington since 2009.

In an interview with KRDO, O'Dea even said he hopes that former President Donald Trump does not run again in 2024.

"I don't think Biden should run, I don't think Trump should run. I think it'll tear the country apart. We need some new faces."

That's not where O'Dea's views may differ from some Republicans either. 

"I am the only Republican that came out and said that I wouldn't be in favor of a total ban on abortion," O'Dea said. "I'm going to buck the party. I'm going to do what's right for Colorado." O'Dea added he does not support late-term abortions.

He says his willingness to part from his party separates him from Bennet. 

"I'm not the one that has a track record of voting with his party 98% of the time," he says referencing Bennet.

Bennet cautions this isn't the real O'Dea, and told KRDO that O'Dea's public stance has changed since he beat far-right candidate Ron Hanks in the primary.

"Look, I'll grant you this, he wasn't there on January 6," Bennet continued. "Obviously, he's trying to show he's not the radical that he is."

O'Dea was also critical of Bennet's involvement, or in his eyes, lack thereof, in trying to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs. Both of them agree it should stay in Colorado.

Meanwhile, Bennet says it's not his fault President Trump made the call to move it to Huntsville, Alabama.

"I'm not the president, so I can't I can't make the decision," Bennet said. "If I were, it would be staying."

Senate minority leader Republican Mitch McConnell has reportedly said he and the Republicans are, "all in" on the Colorado Senate race. But the money pouring in may tell a different story. FEC filings show Bennet has already taken in nearly $12 million in contributions, more than five times O'Dea. 

Still, the Republican thinks he's got a shot on election night.

"I'm just going to tell you, you might want to call me on November 8 and be on the phone with us," O'Dea told KRDO. “We're going to win."

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is the weekend evening anchor, and a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.


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