The Get More Smarter Podcast Breaks Down the Bluenami

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Seth Masket, Director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, to break down the massive Bluenami that overtook Colorado on Election Day.

And, no, we still don’t know who won the race in CO-03 between Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch.

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Joe O’Dea: Con Man, Or Victim Of A Long Con?

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea waves goodbye to several million dollars.

The dust is settling after the sweeping Democratic triumph in Colorado in the 2022 elections Tuesday, turning what was once hyped as a coming “red wave” into a cementing of total control over state government by Democrats, expanding their majorities in the Colorado House and Senate and easily re-electing the downballot statewide Democrats who historically were regular victims of ticket-splitting. The results of the 2022 election show much less ticket-splitting in general than prior elections, with voters staying faithful to Democratic candidates all the way down the ballot.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, as readers know, the poll averages maintained 538 and other aggregators were pretty close to the outcome in the two top Colorado races: clearly showing gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl losing in excess of 15% and U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea losing around 10%. But in the final days before Tuesday’s election, Colorado’s poll averages in the Senate race were thrown off by what we now know were highly inaccurate partisan polls showing Republicans far more competitive than would turn out to be the case. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reports, those bogus last-minute polls were part of a Republican headfake to motivate their own base and fool gullible reporters:

Political journalists were suckered by a wave of Republican junk polls in the closing weeks of the campaign. They were also swayed by some reputable polling organizations that, burned by past failures to capture MAGA voters, overweighted their polls to account for that in ways that simply didn’t make sense. And reporters fell for Republican feints and misdirection, as Republican operatives successfully created an artificial sense of momentum by talking about how they were spending money in reliably blue areas…

It was telling that Republican campaigns didn’t release their own polls to confirm the dubious results Trafalgar and Rasmussen were producing. Still, such polling helped skew handicapping websites. RealClearPolitics, for example, moved Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) into “toss-up” status in the closing days of his reelection bid. Bennet beat his Republican opponent by double digits. [Pols emphasis]

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner, Joe O’Dea.

Coming into the 2022 elections, Democrats nationwide were battling against an entrenched presumption that the party in power always suffers during the midterms. In Colorado, facing an electorate very much soured on the GOP brand, Republicans tried to position themselves as “a different kind of Republican” in the Cory Gardner mold–but general election voters never believed it according to the polls. Hype and spin from the campaign aside, O’Dea never lived up to the post-partisan image he wanted to project, and the “moderate” veneer O’Dea tried so hard to hold together fell apart under scrutiny. Attempts to show an endearing personality like riding his horse through the suburbs to get strip-mall sushi instead became punchlines for jokes about out-of-touch rich people.

As Election Day approached and the polls continued to show the major Colorado races locked in their respective ranges, the sudden bewildering announcement that Real Clear Politics had moved the Colorado Senate race to a toss-up gave Joe O’Dea’s campaign an infusion of false hope.

Real Clear Politics has shifted its prediction of a hotly contested Senate race in Colorado from leaning toward Democratic victory to a “toss up” as several high profile races across the country continue to tighten with Republicans hoping to take back control of the chamber next week.

On its updated election prediction map, Real Clear Politics now shows the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet and his challenger, Republican construction magnate Joe O’Dea, is classified as a “toss up” after previously being viewed as “Leans Dem.”

The fake polls showing the race tightening led directly to this:

While Real Clear Politics moved Colorado’s Senate race to a “toss-up” based on polls that turned out to be completely wrong, O’Dea poured another million and a half dollars of his own money into his campaign–a significant percentage of the total of $4.6 million O’Dea ponied up throughout the race. It’s one of the clearest cases we’ve ever seen of a candidate “believing his own bullshit,” throwing good money after bad in a race that ended up close to the worst-case scenario.

That brings us to a central question of Joe O’Dea’s failed Senate campaign.

Did O’Dea’s campaign consultants, led by Josh Penry, take him for a ride?

Joe O’Dea proudly ran as a candidate with no political experience, and despite repeated promises never received significant outside help from national Republicans. This resulted in O’Dea, with a net worth upwards of $77 million, funding this race largely by himself–despite promises from Republican leadership like Mitch McConnell, who declared the party “all in” for O’Dea but never followed those words up with dollars. And when these last-minute fake polls flooded the averages, O’Dea’s consultants, who knew or should have known those polls were not reliable, nonetheless did not prevent O’Dea from dumping another million and a half into what we now know was a futile effort.

Looking at his race with the benefit of hindsight, O’Dea’s duplicitous attempt to triangulate off the Republican brand while bringing a who’s who of Republican big names to the state to campaign for him could be reasonably termed a con job. But it’s also possible that Joe O’Dea was the victim of a larger and longer con job, by consultants who pretended this campaign had a shot in order to extract money from Joe O’Dea.

Joe O’Dea never had a chance. If any one of O’Dea’s “crew” of loyalists had been honest enough to say so, he could have saved a lot of money. Instead, “Joe’s Crew,” with the help of the Republican fake news industrial complex, fleeced their sucker to the very end.

That’s sure what it looks like, anyway.

Why Republicans Can’t Have Nice Things (Like Election Victories)

Elephant fight!

The Republican Civil War in Colorado will not pause for elections.

While candidates and volunteers were working hard on GOTV efforts this weekend, El Paso County Republicans were busy spending several hours yelling at each other about some other really dumb thing. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

By an overwhelming margin, members of the county party’s central committee approved a resolution to “censure and condemn in the strongest possible terms” more than 30 current and former elected officials, GOP nominees and party volunteers associated with Peak Republicans, an effort launched this spring by local Republicans who said they couldn’t count on the county party to get behind Republican candidates.

The resolution, spearheaded by El Paso County GOP chairwoman Vickie Tonkins, ordered the Republicans to “cease and desist,” claiming the Peak Republicans aren’t allowed to call themselves Republicans, and demanded they issue a public apology. If they don’t, the resolution added, the county party wants the state GOP to step in and exercise its legal right to prevent any organization from using the word “Republican” in its name without permission.

We wrote last month about this latest idiotic argument that stems from the heavy-handed political tactics of the El Paso County Republican Party, which is full of paramilitary weirdos and fervent election deniers under the heavy hand of Chairperson Vicki Tonkins. The El Paso GOP has been hemorrhaging support for years and does not tolerate dissent; things regularly get so bad at county party meetings that the Colorado Springs Police Department or the El Paso County Sheriff are called to come restore some semblance of order.

El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Vicki Tonkins.

This current issue revolves around 2022 campaigns worried that the official county party wasn’t doing its job on volunteer coordination and GOTV efforts. Concerned about the ticking election clock, many El Paso County Republicans started their own group to make sure that this important election work was being done for both local and statewide candidates. Campaigns for both Senate hopeful Joe O’Dea and gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl have been working with “Peak Republicans” in the last month.

Among those formally censured by the El Paso County GOP on Saturday — for the crime of [checks notes again] using the word “Republican” — were State Sen. Larry Liston; State Reps. Mary Bradfield and Andres Pico; County Commissioners Cami Bremer and Holly Williams; Colorado Springs City Councilman Wayne Williams; and former state lawmakers Lois Landgraf and Kit Roupe. As Luning continues:

Tonkins argued during Saturday’s party meeting that the upstart outfit — run out of an office near Interstate 25 and Garden of the Gods Road — was confusing voters and candidates by “presenting itself” as the county party headquarters, though a lead organizer behind the effort said no one appears to be confused about what they’re doing. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s just a nickname, that’s all it is,” said organizer Jody Richie. The group hasn’t set up a formal organization but is instead acting like a vendor for candidates who want to get their messages out to voters, she said. She added that it appears Tonkins and the county party lack legal standing to tell the Peak Republicans whether or not they can use the name “Republicans,” according to a state law that grants that authority to the state party.

This is not a new complaint about the El Paso County GOP; in 2020, campaigns for former President Donald Trump and then-U.S. Senator Cory Gardner also set up separate local outreach offices.

Dave Williams

Outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams told Luning that this bickering in El Paso County is a continuation of a long-running feud “between the party’s old guard and current county party leadership.” Williams apparently tried dumping the problem on the State Republican Party, to no avail:

“If we’re going to succeed long-term, we do have to figure out how to work together when their side doesn’t win,” Williams added. “What’s disingenuous is they try to play innocent in all this, and that’s not the truth. It takes two to tango. If we really want peace and we really want unity, they’re going to have to step up and demonstrate some leadership…

…[State Republican Party Executive Director] Joe Jackson refuted Williams’ assertion that the state party hadn’t given any direction to the county GOP about its gripe with Peak Republicans.

“It’s unfortunate Rep. Williams feels the need to lie,” Jackson said in a text message to Colorado Politics. “As he well knows, the county party was given guidance to stop their attacks on fellow Republicans and help get out the vote instead. Just because they don’t like the advice doesn’t mean it wasn’t given.” [Pols emphasis]


Again, Colorado Springs Republicans spent a good chunk of the last Saturday before Election Day arguing about who gets to say the word “Republican.”

Absolute lunacy.

Master GOP strategist Colin Larson

Elsewhere, Nick Coltrain and Seth Klamann of The Denver Post wrote an early preview of Tuesday’s midterm elections in Colorado that also included some strange quotes from local Republicans.

State Rep. Colin Larson, a Ken Caryl Republican, predicted a “red riptide” in Colorado, rather than a wave. Even 2010 — an infamously disastrous year nationally for Democrats — was blunted here, he said, and the state’s turned bluer in recent years.

Following a string of electoral setbacks and infighting over recent years, Larson said the Republican Party in Colorado has been “lost in the wilderness for a little while.” But he was critical of the Democrats’ singular control of the state in recent years, pointing to crime and the cost of living. He’s confident that a fiscal conservative streak remained here, citing the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and voters’ refusal to strike it down. A re-focused Republican Party could still make inroads here and shade Colorado purple, he argued, and local legislative races will help signal if that’s possible.

“If Barbara Kirkmeyer wins,” he said, “and we win one or two statewide races, significantly narrow the (Democrats’) House majority, narrow the Senate majority, then we will signal the course has turned.” [Pols emphasis]

Larson is trying to both simultaneously LOWER expectations for Republicans on Tuesday and make a case that a few smaller victories would mean that Colorado is moving to the red column. You’d need to have a minor concussion for this to even begin to make sense.

Over in the other legislative chamber, State Sen. John Cooke is still using the same talking points from 10 years ago:

“If Democrats continue controlling the state senate, then I think Colorado is lost for a generation,” state Sen. John Cooke, the outgoing Republican leader, said. “It’s California, it’s Oregon.”

He predicted a future that’s anathema to many in his party: a kneecapped oil and gas industry; powerful oversight commissions staffed by the governor’s appointees and confirmed by an agreeable senate; a “war” on rural Colorado.

Colorado will turn into California! The oil and gas industry has been destroyed! There’s a war on rural Colorado!

Republicans keep saying this nonsense, year after year, and Colorado voters keep electing more Democrats. Maybe try something else?

It’s not really a mystery as to why Democrats have been so successful in Colorado over the last 4-5 election cycles. Democrats choose solid candidates who run professional campaigns and do a great job of organizing volunteers and supporters.

Republicans nominate candidates like Ganahl, repeat tired talking points, and spend the weekend before Election Day lowering already shin-high expectations and yelling at each other over trivial nonsense.

The Facts About Facts

“With respect, your word is not evidence, sir.”

 — Kyle Clark responding to Joe O’Dea’s claims that Google is “censoring” his campaign (10/28/22).

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post wrote a detailed breakdown this week on the truth about election fraud in the United States. The short version is that actual cases of voter fraud in a given election number in the dozens. Total. Nationwide.

Kessler notes that the conservative Heritage Foundation has maintained a database counting 1,384 cases of voter fraud since 1979. That works out to an average of 32 examples of voter fraud per year…out of a total vote count in the BILLIONS.

But it is a paragraph that appears much later in Kessler’s story that caught our attention for a different reason:

Trump ignores that at least 86 judges, including Trump appointees, rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters and that they consistently found there was no substantive evidence to support claims of fraud and irregularities. “Calling an election unfair does not make it so,” wrote Trump federal appeals court nominee Stephanos Bibas in one opinion. [Pols emphasis] “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

This line stuck out to us because it is reminiscent of an important — if largely overlooked — exchange from last month’s U.S. Senate debate on 9News in which moderator Kyle Clark asked GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea if he had any proof of his claims that Google was censoring his campaign (O’Dea did not). Here’s that discussion:

KYLE CLARK: Mr. O’Dea, would you like to provide any evidence [that Google is censoring your campaign]?

JOE O’DEA: I’m not going to do it here tonight, Kyle. I’m not debating you. I’m debating Michael Bennet.

CLARK: Well, I’m asking you if you’re interested in backing up this allegation…

O’DEA: I told you, you can go look it up. It happened. Two weeks, they downed our Google efforts so we couldn’t…search for our stuff. It’s documented.

CLARK: It actually…it is not. Because these things are public. And we looked again this morning. And you have run Google ads without a single day of interruption since April 14th.

O’DEA: That’s not true. That’s just not true.

CLARK: The public can go, and they can go look…

O’DEA: They can go look. That’s just not true.

CLARK: …at the transparency portal, and they can see that you have run ads…

O’DEA: That’s not true.

CLARK: …every single day, without interruption. There’s a single ad pulled in June for an unspecified violation…

O’DEA: A single ad, they pulled…

CLARK: …which your campaign won’t tell us what that was for, or if you attempted to fix it. So just one last question: Serious allegation, about a behemoth company, that you could regulate as a U.S. Senator, do you have any evidence?

O’DEA: I just told you, they pulled one of our ads for two weeks. That’s the evidence…

CLARK: With respect, your word is not evidence, sir. Any evidence? [Pols emphasis]

O’DEA: It’s there, you can find it.

CLARK: Very good.

What Clark said at the end is incredibly important, and it applies to numerous 2022 candidates — most of whom are Republicans.

O’Dea absolutely has the legal right to make an unsupported claim about Google censoring his campaign. We would not argue otherwise.

What O’Dea does NOT get to do is argue that his statement at all resembles a “fact.” We must all push back on this approach at every opportunity. It is too dangerous to ignore.


We saw a similar example of this “it’s a fact because I said so” mentality in Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s month-long obsession with the idea that “furries” are invading Colorado schools. Ganahl insisted that “furries in schools” was a real thing because some parents of students told her that it was happening.

Peggy Propst, a Republican candidate for the State Board of Education in Colorado, said during a recent interview that she knows that schools are providing litter boxes for little furries; it’s true, she said, because she heard it somewhere. By this metric, we could say that it is a known fact that Propst milks cats every morning for her cereal. It’s true because we just said it!

Shaun Boyd, a silly “reporter” at CBS4 Denver, was somehow convinced to later run an entire story arguing that the furry conspiracy was real because some people said it was. Josh Moody, a higher education reporter, rightly called Boyd’s story “perhaps the worst education journalism I’ve seen.”

This troubling trend of trying to re-define the meaning of “facts” is different than other nonsense we’ve seen in 2022. For example, Republican congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer has been getting hammered for saying in a TV ad that Democrats in the state legislature legalized fentanyl. Kirkmeyer knows better, so this is more a flat lie than a redefinition of a “fact.”

Republican Attorney General candidate and current JD-18 District Attorney John Kellner wants voters to believe that he’ll do a better job than incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser on fighting crime, despite the FACT that data clearly shows crime rates have increased in Kellner’s judicial district at a much faster rate than in the rest of the state. We’d classify this as more akin to typical political bullshit than a redefinition of “facts.”

Former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway infamously used the phrase “alternative facts” in 2017. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

These are FACTS: Trees are tall. Concrete is hard. This sentence you are reading is written in English.

These are just words: “This one guy told me that Jared Polis is a lizard person from a hostile planet in a distant galaxy.” We like words. Words are cool. But words are not facts.

Look, we realize that we might just be shouting into the abyss on this subject, but it needs to be said over and over and over, because we are truly doomed as a society if we just allow reality to be co-opted by gibberish.

Joe O’Dea Courts Dozens of Voters in Final Days of Campaign

UPDATE: On a Thursday night before Election Day, Joe O’Dea was in Rifle, Colorado.



There are about 10,000 people who live in Rifle. About 45% of Coloradans cast ballots in the last midterm election in 2018.

You can do the rest of the math yourself. This is NOT what we would be doing five days from Election Day if we were trying to win a statewide race.



Remember me?

Way back in 2008, Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer telegraphed his pending 10-point defeat to Democrat Mark Udall by spending the final week of the election puttering around the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Schaffer even started running a television ad in which he spoke to the camera in front of a barn and some cows, which was about as country as Schaffer got in that race.

Schaffer was apparently trying to appeal to rural Colorado voters in the final days of that campaign, which was a weird strategy given that the vast majority of Colorado voters don’t live in rural parts of the state.

Fourteen years later, another Republican Senate candidate is preparing for his own likely defeat by doing pretty much the same thing. Denver businessman Joe O’Dea is touring Southwest Colorado and the Eastern Plains in the waning days of his campaign…which is as even weirder in 2022 than it was in 2008.

As Reuben Schafir (probably no relation) reports for The Durango Herald today:

Joe O’Dea, the GOP challenger to Sen. Michael Bennet, visited La Plata County for the first time since the primaries this week. He stopped briefly in Durango after holding a campaign event Monday afternoon in Pagosa Springs. Former state Sen. Ellen Roberts confirmed she had a private meeting with O’Dea on Monday to discuss issues important to the region. [Pols emphasis]

According to O’Dea, about 50 people attended the event in Pagosa Springs, which he held at the Den Restaurant. Although 49% of La Plata County voters are unaffiliated with a political party and the remaining 51% are approximately evenly split between the Democratic and Republican parties, O’Dea has not held a public campaign event in the county since March.

In their private meeting Monday, Roberts said O’Dea sought input on issues relevant to the region. She said the two discussed the Colorado River crisis as well as Front Rage dominance on political and policy issues, and that she reinforced how important it is for O’Dea to get to know the region.

“I am comfortable he had done that,” Roberts said. “He let me know all the places he’s going to be in the next week and many of them are western and out on the eastern plain, so I’m comfortable that he’s spending a lot of time with the whole state and not just the Denver-metro area.” [Pols emphasis]



O’Dea seems to have wrapped up the support of former Republican state lawmaker Ellen Roberts. That’s nice for O’Dea, but it may not be the best use of his time at the moment. The election, you may have heard, is next week. More than 90% of Colorado voters live along the Front Range between Ft. Collins and Pueblo…and O’Dea is driving AROUND them.

Cory Gardner on Election Day 2020

In the Fall of 2018, then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton also visited Pagosa Springs — but Stapleton went through town in September.

When they know that defeat is inevitable, statewide Republican candidates have been known to end up in strange places in the last few days before an election. Schaffer was spending half a day touring a power plant in the last week in 2008. On Election Day in 2020, then-Sen. Cory Gardner started the day waving to no-one in Greeley. Recently, Gardner told Republicans in Akron that the key to victory in November was to “run up the score” in rural Colorado, which is a really terrible piece of advice for simple mathematical reasons.

Perhaps O’Dea is touring smaller parts of Colorado in an effort to avoid scrutiny in the final days of his doomed campaign. The Durango Herald story mentioned earlier is also noteworthy for an important acknowledgement by the reporter in response to O’Dea’s false claims about Bennet’s record:

The O’Dea-Bennet race splashed across headlines after tensions between the two reached a boiling point during their only televised debate Friday. O’Dea repeated a claim that Bennet has written only “one bill in 13 years that became law.” Bennet responded that the claim was not true, calling O’Dea a liar.

The claim rests on the fact that many of the other bills Bennet has written have become incorporated into other pieces of legislation but have not been passed as stand-alone laws…

…O’Dea has promised to lead in the mold of Sen. Joe Manchin, who he says is an example of how a senator ought to buck his or her party to serve a state. He says Manchin’s work to approve the permitting of a pipeline in West Virginia is exemplary of the way that a senator should put a state first – however, Manchin backed off that legislation after colleagues from both sides expressed disdain for the amendment. If the statistics on Bennet’s work during his time in the Senate are to be interpreted the way O’Dea has repeatedly done, Manchin has also only written one bill that has been passed into law. [Pols emphasis]


Oh, well. By the time O’Dea finally rolls back into his home in Greenwood Village, there won’t be anything left to do but crack open a beer and pour it into a glass of ice.

Get More Smarter Before Election Day!

This week on a special pre-election episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii make their final prognostications for the 2022 Election.

We also talk again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado, about what to watch out for on Election Night once numbers start trickling in nationally. Later, Jason and Ian show off what they’ve learned from Republicans in 2022 by attempting to repeat — from memory — stump speeches for Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

Remember, friends: Vote early, not often. If you’re still holding onto your ballot, DO NOT drop it in the mail; instead, take your completed ballot to one of many drop boxes in your area. For more information, head over to

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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The Sad Final Days of the Top of the GOP Ticket

Ganahl and O’Dea are less of a “Dream Team” and more of a “Creamed Team”

You can count the number of days until the end of the 2022 election cycle on one hand. As Election Day looms, Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and GOP gubernatorial no-hopeful Hiedi Heidi Ganahl are caught in a weird illogical loop of desperation and internal lies.

Before we update you on the strange last days of each campaign, it’s important to keep this in mind: The last two public polls in each race have shown both O’Dea and Ganahl losing by YUGE margins. On Wednesday, the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab released polling data showing Democrat Michael Bennet leading O’Dea by 12 points and Democrat Jared Polis running ahead of Ganahl by 16. These numbers come on the heels of a poll from Global Strategy Group indicating an 11-point advantage for Bennet and an 18-point lead for Polis.

You could argue about methodologies and polling mechanics until you are purple in the face — and it’s more likely than not that both of these races end up being somewhat tighter after the actual votes are counted — but it’s pretty unlikely that these two recent polls are completely wrong. The question for O’Dea and Ganahl, then, is not if they can win on Tuesday, but if they can avoid being completely annihilated.

With that in mind, here’s what O’Dea and Ganahl have been doing in the last few days aside from avoiding populated areas of Colorado


Lighting Money on Fire

O’Dea put another $1 million of his own money into his campaign on Monday, upping his total personal commitment to more than $4.2 million. Ganahl wrote her campaign another big check last month and has now committed about $2 million of her own money ($1.4 million in loans and $600,000 in contributions).

O’Dea’s $1 million contribution on Monday is an egregious example of a candidate getting positively robbed by his own consultants. By every public metric, the Colorado Senate race is not close enough that a $1 million contribution in the last week will make much of a difference. O’Dea’s previous personal contributions are certainly excusable but are a sunk cost at this point; writing your campaign another $1 million check in the final week is the very definition of good money chasing bad. Any respectable campaign consultant should have told O’Dea that this late contribution was too little, too late.


Running to the Right

Ganahl didn’t really try to moderate her positions after the Primary Election. O’Dea did make that attempt — poorly — but in recent weeks he’s become much more of a right-wing nutter. For example, O’Dea followed up his nightmare interview with Jake Tapper of CNN on Tuesday by talking gibberish on MSNBC, calling Democrat Hillary Clinton the original “election denier.”


There are a lot of Colorado Republicans who wouldn’t blink at making this claim, but O’Dea was supposedly different. O’Dea claimed to be a less-insane Republican who was “not a politician,” but you know who else says insane shit like this? Right-wing Republican politicians.

Ganahl, meanwhile, sent out this message in an email late Wednesday:





We feel more than comfortable saying that the ONLY people who would be excited to know that Ganahl was talking to freaking NewsMax are right-wing Republicans who were already committed to supporting her campaign. There’s a better than even chance that Ganahl is interviewed by Alex Jones before Tuesday.

It’s bad enough that Ganahl took the time to talk to NewsMax, but it’s insane that she sent out an email crowing about her appearance. Is it possible that Ganahl thinks she is running to be Governor of Alabama?

Whoever thought this was a good idea apparently also convinced O’Dea. The Republican Senate candidate made his own inexplicable appearance on NewsMax today. Again, if these candidates are worried about their base heading into the final days of the election, then they’re royally screwed.


Time Travel

Supporters of both Ganahl and O’Dea have been spending a lot of time this week trying really hard to downplay the anti-choice positions of their candidates…and then getting punched in the teeth immediately afterward:



O’Dea supporters have been attempting the same switcheroo, with the same basic results.



If you’re wondering why Ganahl and O’Dea are trying to reassure their base at the same time that supporters are working to make them look less-extreme…well, so are we.



Facing Reality

They’re not laughing WITH you.



National media outlets are also finally starting to realize that the “O’Dea Surprise” is more like a weird casserole than a tasty treat. As Jim Newell reports for Slate:

“So are you doing the ‘this race is going to be closer than you think’ story too?” A Colorado politics reporter asked me my first night in Denver.

I was not the first national reporter to do a “fly-in” from D.C. to see Mitch McConnell’s “perfect candidate.” We were becoming tiresome. Perhaps all the more so because Bennet had been maintaining a roughly 10-point advantage on O’Dea in polling averages. Sometimes they’re “sleeper races” for a reason. (“I’m doing something post-that,” I said, stupidly.).

As we’ve written before in this space, all of the other national stories about Colorado’s Senate race had followed the same pattern of asking if Bennet could be in trouble and then coming to the conclusion that Bennet is not in trouble. Newell, at least, skips to the end:

Being the “perfect candidate” in a long-shot state sounds exhausting. Had Colorado Republicans nominated the nearest available warm body, they would not have had any expectations of possibly winning, and the warm body would have coasted freely to an unremarked-upon 15-point loss. O’Dea, though, built up hopes among Republicans and fears among Democrats. Barring some wild change in polling, he could be walking on eggshells to a much remarked-upon 5- to 10-point loss. (For all of McConnell’s talk about how he would be “all-in” on the state, his aligned super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, only kicked in a perfunctory $1.25 million in mid-October.)

As for Ganahl, she’s finding out that her “Mad Mom on a Meme Mission” nonsense is not resonating with, well, actual moms.


Via The American Politics Research Lab at the University of Colorado.



The Ganahl and O’Dea campaigns have been two of the strangest statewide efforts that we have seen in Colorado in a long time. Perhaps we should give them some credit for keeping it weird until the bitter end…

But really, we’re just ready for them both to go away.

CU Poll: Dems Owning 2022, GOP MIGHT Accept Results

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

Adding to a growing consensus of polling in recent weeks, the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab released their latest Colorado Political Climate Survey, with numbers in line with other recent polls showing Gov. Jared Polis rapidly pulling away in the Colorado governor’s race, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet prevailing over Republican challenger Joe O’Dea by a healthy twelve points, and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, considered the most vulnerable of the three downballot statewide offices, solidly beating Republican Pam Anderson by a ten-point margin.

Less encouraging for what comes after November 8th, the survey found once again a disturbingly wide partisan gap in trust in the integrity of Colorado’s elections, which until Donald Trump began his campaign to overturn the results of an election he lost enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan confidence:

We asked Coloradans about whether they felt elections both 1) across the country and 2) in Colorado would be conducted fairly and accurately. Overall, 54% of Coloradans agreed they would be conducted fairly nationally (with 20% saying they weren’t sure), while 71% agreed they would be fairly in Colorado. In a pattern often repeated, we see substantial differences by partisanship – 73% of Democrats agreed elections would be fair and accurate when asked about the country as a whole, while only 41% of Republicans said the same. When asked about Colorado’s elections, 92% of Democrats expressed agreement with a statement, but only 57% of Republicans agreed (Independents posted 53% agreement). Most Coloradans agreed (75%) that in Colorado all citizens who want to vote in the elections will be able to do so.

We also asked about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, and the need for electoral reforms in the wake of the 2020 elections (both “across the states” and in Colorado in particular). 63% of Coloradans agree that Biden legitimately won enough votes to be elected President (though this number is polarized by partisanship, with 95% of Democrats agreeing, and only 34% of Republicans agreeing).

What happens when Republicans don’t accept election results.

The whole report is worth reading, which you can find here along with links to past year’s surveys.

Although concerning, these numbers do indicate some recovery in popular confidence in American elections from the prior year’s survey, when only 32% of Republicans believed the upcoming election would be fair and accurate compared to 42% today. The persistently more favorable opinion Colorado Republicans have of Colorado’s election system, even though it features most of the accessibility attributes that Trump attacked in 2020 as avenues for election fraud, is another hopeful sign that local Republican officials will accept the result in the event of the defeat this and every other poll now clearly forecasts.

That’s still way too many Republicans who won’t, and we’ll have to wait and see how they respond.

O’Dea Continues Another GOP Tradition: Bombing on National TV

We wrote earlier about Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea inexplicably spending the last week of the 2022 election cycle touring the Western Slope and Eastern Plains of Colorado. This is a strange tradition for GOP Senate candidates who know they are about to lose, from Bob Schaffer in 2008 to Cory Gardner in 2020.

On the checklist of bad traditions among Republican Senate candidates in Colorado, there is another box that O’Dea apparently decided to mark off: Completely imploding on national television. When Democrat Michael Bennet was running for his first full term in the Senate in 2010, his Republican opponent was then-District Attorney Ken Buck. That race went down the wire, and most observers believe Buck lost the Senate race with a disastrous late-October appearance on “Meet the Press” in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism and used the term “buyer’s remorse” in discussing the case of an alleged rape in his judicial district four years earlier.

Buck’s “Meet the Press” appearance was so bad it was even lampooned by “Saturday Night Live.” Had Buck not bombed so memorably, he might well have been elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Joe O’Dea makes his “nailed it” face after repeating for the 100th time his joke about how he doesn’t even agree with his wife 98% of the time.

On Tuesday evening, O’Dea sat down for an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN and flopped in a much different manner. You really should watch the entire seven-minute interview to grasp the extent of the problem for O’Dea, but we’ll break it down into a couple of pieces.

But first, it’s important to understand some context here. Candidates don’t just end up talking to Jake Tapper on CNN; this is the sort of interview that campaign staffers (or national GOP helpers) work hard to arrange. A couple of people had to go to a lot of trouble to get this interview to happen in the last few days before an election. Some of those same people apparently didn’t bother to prepare O’Dea for some difficult questions.

This is a masterclass in how to show voters that you have absolutely no business being anywhere near Congress.

Tapper’s first question is about former President Donald Trump’s outspoken opposition to O’Dea after the Colorado businessman said he would campaign against Trump in 2024. O’Dea dodges this question, which leads to Tapper replaying a moment from a Senate debate last week when Bennet talked about O’Dea’s previous support for Trump.


Tapper asks O’Dea “did it bother you” when Trump pushed his family separation policy at the border or said that there were fine people on both sides after white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. Here’s O’Dea’s response:

JOE O’DEA: Well, I believe that [President] Obama started that policy to be quite frank with you.

JAKE TAPPER: Not really.


O’Dea goes on to say that the border is “leaking like a sieve” and talks about fentanyl “coming right up I-25.” Tapper notes that former President Trump did not solve the border problem, either, and adds that every time immigration reform has come up in Congress in the last 20 years, it is Republicans in the House of Representatives who have blocked it from becoming law. Tapper asks O’Dea if Republicans share some of the blame for a lack of action on immigration reform. O’Dea calls the border situation “a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions”; he says that he is going to run an immigration reform bill and make sure it passes both the Senate and the House.

This is the point where things really start to go downhill for O’Dea. Tapper asks O’Dea about his appearance on “Meet the Press” last week and a question from Chuck Todd about whether O’Dea is comfortable with the idea of using migrants as a “political tool” (such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard).

TAPPER: Do you think it was right for them to ship off migrants under false pretenses into other parts of the country? That part of it — not just bringing attention to [the issue], but that part of it — was that the right thing to do?

O’DEA: [long pause] Well, I know that President Biden is shipping them all over the country right now in airplanes. Nobody said a word.

What? President Biden is flying migrants all over the country?

It appears at this point that a small part of O’Dea’s brain realized that he is screwing up, so he reverts to repeating his same talking points from before.

O’DEA: Every state is a border state now. We’ve got a humanitarian crisis down there — epic proportions. And I believe that Gov. Abbott and Gov. DeSantis are trying to bring some attention to this because of the failed policies of Joe Biden. And Michael Bennet’s right with him. 98% of the time he has failed because he’s with his President instead of stepping out and getting something done. We need change, and that’s why I got into this race.

Epic proportions!

Tapper then shifts to a question about gun violence that clearly surprises O’Dea (for some reason).

We are all Jake Tapper when listening to Joe O’Dea.

TAPPER: You do not support raising the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic weapon — the kind used in Uvalde [Texas] and other massacres. Why should an 18-year-old be able to purchase a semi-automatic weapon before he’s even mature enough to buy a beer?

O’DEA: [long pause] Look, this is about crime. We don’t need any more gun laws. What we need is more cops. And this is about Michael Bennet and Joe Biden having the wrong priorities. Here they pass this inflation reduction act — 87,000 new bureaucrats for the IRS — instead of focusing that money on getting our border under control, focusing that money on putting more cops on the ground here. Colorado had one heck of a weekend. I gotta tell you that we had 12 shootings this weekend, and we lost some Coloradans. Crime is at an all time high here.

TAPPER: Yeah, but, why should a 19-year-old be able to buy a semi-automatic weapon when he can’t even buy a beer or a handgun? That’s my question.

O’DEA: Well, he can sign up and go into our military. So, I just believe that we don’t need any more gun laws. What we need is more cops…

TAPPER: You’re…I’m…I’m sure you know of all the training that enlistees undergo when it comes to how to use a firearm.

Mercifully for O’Dea, Tapper wraps up the interview at this point. Unfortunately for O’Dea, his inch-deep understanding of a bevy of important issues has already been revealed. When the best thing you can say about O’Dea’s interview was that it wasn’t quite as bad as Ken Buck in 2010, you know things did not go well.

In fact, you might even say this interview was a disaster…of epic proportions.

Joe O’Dea Begins Final Sad Week as Senate Candidate

Republican Joe O’Dea is wrapping up his long, strange trip as a 2022 candidate for U.S. Senate by doubling-down on an obvious lie and hanging out with former Sen. Cory Gardner, whose last election cycle concluded with a nearly 10-point loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Before we get to Gardner, we’ll start with Friday’s final Senate debate between O’Dea and incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. This video clip from the Colorado Democratic Party is a pretty good summary of O’Dea’s final few weeks as a statewide candidate:

As you can see, O’Dea got a little emotional about being called out for a ridiculous lie that is still being pushed by his campaign despite the fact that it has been widely debunked…including by O’Dea himself. We’ve been covering the O’Dea campaign’s absurd claims that his campaign is being “censored” by Google — something that appears to be a desperate effort to raise a few more dollars before O’Dea turns back into a little-known contractor on November 8th. In fact, just last week O’Dea told Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs that his “crack team” had already “addressed” the fake problem with Google and “cleaned it up.”

That doesn’t mean that O’Dea’s campaign has stopped running its fake conspiracy fundraising ads, however, which is why Kyle Clark of 9News asked him about it during Friday’s debate:

KYLE CLARK: Mr. O’Dea, would you like to provide any evidence [that Google is censoring your campaign]?

JOE O’DEA: I’m not going to do it here tonight, Kyle. I’m not debating you. I’m debating Michael Bennet.

CLARK: Well, I’m asking you if you’re interested in backing up this allegation…

O’DEA: I told you, you can go look it up. It happened. Two weeks, they downed our Google efforts so we couldn’t…search for our stuff. It’s documented.

CLARK: It actually…it is not. Because these things are public. And we looked again this morning. And you have run Google ads without a single day of interruption since April 14th.

O’DEA: That’s not true. That’s just not true.

CLARK: The public can go, and they can go look…

O’DEA: They can go look. That’s just not true.

CLARK: …at the transparency portal, and they can see that you have run ads…

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea tries to wave away the truth.

O’DEA: That’s not true.

CLARK: …every single day, without interruption. There’s a single ad pulled in June for an unspecified violation…

O’DEA: A single ad, they pulled…

CLARK: …which your campaign won’t tell us what that was for, or if you attempted to fix it. So just one last question: Serious allegation, about a behemoth company, that you could regulate as a U.S. Senator, do you have any evidence?

O’DEA: I just told you, they pulled one of our ads for two weeks. That’s the evidence…

CLARK: With respect, your word is not evidence, sir. Any evidence?

O’DEA: It’s there, you can find it.

CLARK: Very good.

This is a very weird hill to die upon. It’s not “furries” weird, but it’s still strange.

O’Dea’s campaign is apparently so desperate to raise money in the last week of the election that O’Dea is willing to keep this ridiculous conspiracy theory alive…AND to call on 2020’s big election loser to help him collect a few thousand more dollars for his doomed Senate bid. Via Punchbowl News, the original orange Republican leader (former House Speaker John Boehner) will join former Sen. Cory Gardner for a last-minute fundraiser in Denver that is probably more about cultivating O’Dea as a future GOP donor:


We can’t imagine that Tuesday’s fundraiser is going to make much of a difference for O’Dea’s campaign. Are there a lot of people who have not yet donated to O’Dea who are interested in shelling out $10,000 for a photo with two former elected officials and a guy who is only slightly more likely than you are to be in the U.S. Senate next month? This might have been a decent fundraising event two months ago, but not one week before Election Day.

Anyway, there are just a few more days left Joe, and you’ll have all the time in the world to live your best #HorseSushi life.

State Sen. Kevin Priola Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii are joined by State Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson, who made lots of news this fall by switching parties from Republican to Democrat. Senator Priola talks about how he ended up leaving the Republican Party, how he plans to vote in 2022, and what it feels like to be rooting for a different team this election cycle.

Later, we update listeners on all the latest news from the top races in Colorado, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s closing “argument.” We also discuss the relentless disgusting editorializing from The Colorado Springs Gazette; and we introduce a new segment for the show that we’re just calling “That’s Bullshit!”

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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O’Dea to Campaign with Chris Christie

(Time for some traffic problems — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A lovely bridge built by Joe O’Dea’s company and paid for with your tax dollars.

Colorado U.S. Senate hopeful Joe O’Dea is holding a campaign event this Saturday in Denver with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

O’Dea lists transportation infrastructure as a priority issue and his leadership experience is running a company that builds roads and bridges. This makes Christie is an ironic choice considering he infamously closed lanes on a New Jersey bridge in order to cause a traffic jam for political retribution, a scandal that essentially destroyed his political career.

The announcement of the Christie event comes just days after his endorsement by Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is also campaigning on behalf of several election fraud conspiracist candidates this year. Christie, was infamously a Trump sycophant during the 2016 campaign before turning on him later in his presidency.

Today he is one of the few Republicans to blame Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection. That position makes Christie quite a contrast from the far-right Desantis and from O’Dea himself, who said Trump does not deserve blame for the deadly riot and who has acknowledged that while he would prefer Desantis, he will vote for Trump if the former president is the 2024 Republican nominee.

Christie also recently called out Desantis over his hypocritical request for federal disaster relief following Hurricane Ian’s devastation of Florida’s Gulf coast. Christie noted Desantis’ 2013 vote against a similar relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy which wreaked havoc on New Jersey nearly a decade ago. At the time Christie also levied the same attack against all four Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Christie called Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman (both of whom have endorsed O’Dea) as well as Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn, all hypocrites for requesting federal flood aid following their votes against Sandy relief.

Christie’s previous efforts to aid Colorado Republicans haven’t been without controversy. In 2014 while stumping for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Christie attacked the state’s quality of life over legal marijuana.


Newsline: O’Dea Repeats False Bennet Legislation Claim

(Republished under Creative Commons license by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Michael Bennet speaks at the Colorado Water Congress in Steamboat Springs on Aug. 23, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

by Chase Woodruff, Colorado Newsline
October 27, 2022

In Tuesday night’s U.S. Senate debate in Colorado, Republican challenger Joe O’Dea saved his most pointed attack on incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet for his closing statement, after Bennet would have the ability to respond.

“Bennet passed one bill — one bill — in 13 years that he wrote,” O’Dea claimed.

In one of the only tense moments in what otherwise was a night of civil exchanges at Grand Junction’s Colorado Mesa University, a frustrated Bennet interrupted O’Dea: “That’s completely untrue.”

Bennet was right. O’Dea’s false claim — which is also being spread by his campaign staff and allies, and appears in a new TV ad — rests on a misleading search result on a government website and a misunderstanding of how legislation is routinely passed in Congress.

Dozens of individual pieces of legislation sponsored by Bennet have been signed into law after they were added via amendment to larger appropriations or omnibus bills, according to a Newsline review of the congressional record.

Many of the approved amendments are easily traceable using functions on, the official website maintained by the Library of Congress. Others are harder-to-track cases in which Bennet-authored legislation appeared in a larger bill as it was newly introduced, or won passage in a companion bill from the House of Representatives.


Colorado Senate Race Ends With a Whimper and a Shrug

This is the face of a guy who just wants to go get some #HorseSushi and a mug of iced beer.

Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is entering its final days with a big ol’ heaping plate of “whatever.”

For weeks, national news outlets pretended that the battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Joe O’Dea could be a closely-watched race on Election Day. But with less than two weeks to go, reality has sunk in for O’Dea as he faces anger from the right and apathy from everywhere else.

During Tuesday’s Senate debate at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, O’Dea displayed the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager asked to wake up early on a weekend morning. In fact, the most notable takeaway in watching O’Dea might have been his audibly heavy breathing whenever Bennet was talking. O’Dea flubbed many of his lines; declined to use up his full allotment of time in responses; and literally read aloud his closing remarks from a piece of paper (remarks you would think a Senate candidate would have memorized by now).

O’Dea has seen the polls, all of which show him losing badly to Bennet. O’Dea knows that he won’t have the resources to do anything about it in the final stretch of the race, with his campaign resorting to weird tinfoil hat conspiracy theories in a desperate attempt to raise a few more bucks from conspiracy-minded donors.

Quite frankly, we can’t blame O’Dea for having trouble mustering up any excitement. The writing is on the wall. The fat lady is getting ready to sing. Pick your cliché.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote on Tuesday:

Last week, a super PAC affiliated with Mitch McConnell announced it was pulling nearly $6 million out of the New Hampshire Senate race. On Tuesday, the group dumped an additional $6 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race…

Seemingly gone for Republicans are the dreams of picking up the likes of the New Hampshire seat, where Sen. Maggie Hassan is seeking a second term. Ditto Republican hopes of beating Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Michael Bennet is endorsed by every major newspaper making a decision in Colorado.

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun continued this theme today:

O’Dea hasn’t benefited from the kind of NRSC spending Republicans running in other U.S. Senate races have benefited from. And [NRSC Chairman Rick] Scott wouldn’t commit Sunday to allocating more money in Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

In Arizona, for instance, the NRSC has spent nearly $7 million opposing Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. In North Carolina, the group has spent $6 million. The NRSC has spent more than $3 million in each Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The NRSC, by comparison, has spent just $241,000 in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf, and that was in August.

“We spent money defining Bennet. We spent money on polling. We spent money on get-out-the-vote. We spent money on texting. Things like that,” Scott told The Sun.

When asked whether the NRSC would spend millions in Colorado in the next two weeks before Election Day, Scott said “we’re working to raise money every day.”The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has spent $1.25 million in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf. That’s a fraction of the amount the group has allocated to races in other states.

This is a continuation of the national Republican message from earlier this month (which was a continuation from the previous month) that “We’re keeping an eye on Colorado.” It’s reminiscent of a kid asking his mom if they could go out for ice cream, and the mom saying, “We’ll see”; it’s not a definite “no”, but you know enough not to put on your shoes.

With the caveat that, yes, Coloradans still need to cast their ballots, yada, yada…the reality is that the U.S. Senate race is pretty well wrapped up.

Boebert Sets Women’s Rights Back Approximately 2,000 Years

TUESDAY UPDATE: As the Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson reports, freshman GOP perpetual outrage machine Rep. Lauren Boebert is taking the rare step of walking back this latest pronouncement, at least a little, after making unambiguously bad headlines across the nation:

“She meant to say weaker both times, not lesser,” Boebert spokesman Ben Stout said in an email. [Pols emphasis] “Congresswoman Boebert was explaining that while men and women are different, they complete each other in a beautiful way.”

That’s how the Bible verse reads (below), but it doesn’t seem much better overall, does it?

Saturday’s original post follows.


As readers know, we have a general policy of not responding to freshman GOP mother of all train wrecks Rep. Lauren Boebert’s nonstop firehose spray of provocateur outrages, crafted as they are to provoke us into amplifying with outrage Boebert cannot distinguish from praise.

But there are moments, and they do seem to be coming with increasing frequency as Boebert’s next reckoning in the November elections fast approaches, when to simply ignore what Boebert is spewing would do our readers and all of society a disservice–since this is the manifestly twisted thinking that powers her vote in Congress:

Boebert: We are created equal, we’re not the same, women are the lesser vessel, and we need masculinity in our lives to, to balance that, that so-called weakness, you know, just us being more frail and, uh needing that strength in our lives…

Lauren Boebert and her “greater vessel” Jayson Boebert.

If you’re not aware that Boebert is in part quoting the Bible in referring to women as the “lesser vessel,” this will all come across as misogynistic in the extreme–and depending on your reverence for Scripture it might anyway. It is true that in 1 Peter Chapter 3, you’ll find a reference to women being the “weaker vessel,” but all this stuff Boebert tacks on about women needing a big strong hairy (inferring the hairy part) man in their lives to “balance” women’s “weakness” is male chauvinist claptrap that appears nowhere in the text.

Boebert’s interviewer Brad Stine, who unbeknownst to us until today bills himself as “America’s Conservative Comic,” had some facial expressions during Boebert’s commentary that say more about what’s going on here than we can decently write:

We don’t know about you, but the whole experience leaves us ready for a nice hot purgative shower! The only thing we can add is that this is the same Lauren Boebert Colorado Republicans from Joe O’Dea on down have not just tolerated but actively accommodated and praised, O’Dea in particular remarking recently how he has “respect” for the way Boebert “likes to use her voice.”

Imagine O’Dea trying to justify a lightning round of actual Boebert quotes.

MAGA World Turns On Joe O’Dea, Colorado GOP Ticket

Now that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has presented himself on vengeful ex-President Donald Trump’s radar after O’Dea vowed to campaign against Trump in 2024 on national television while Trump happened to be watching, what was once grudging acquiescence to O’Dea among Trump loyalists has flipped like a switch to full-on hostility:

Looming large.

As the Washington Post’s Liz Goodwin reported this weekend from Castle Rock, the Republican rank-and-file is both very much aware of and not happy with O’Dea’s dissing of the Dear Leader:

Barbara Hildebrand left the rally for Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and other Republicans here this week in a cloud of frustration.

“I’m really upset about what [O’Dea] said about Trump,” Hildebrand said as she made a beeline for the door. [Pols emphasis] “I’m an ultra-MAGA … Hasn’t he seen the rallies that Trump has? I mean, those are a lot of people. And he’s alienated them…”

“The idea that you can make up enthusiasm with the unaffiliated by distancing yourself from the base — I’ve never seen it work,” said Randy Corporon, a Republican National Committee member and local conservative talk radio host who said he is worried some Republican voters in the state will leave the Senate race blank on their ballot in protest. A libertarian candidate, who has been endorsed by one of O’Dea’s more conservative primary rivals, also could siphon off some GOP votes.

Earlier this month, as readers know, O’Dea’s vanquished primary opponent Rep. Ron Hanks announced his endorsement of the Libertarian candidate in the U.S. Senate race, Brian Peotter, largely due to O’Dea’s tepid support for Trump. After Trump’s displeasure with O’Dea went public, Peotter is getting a fresh burst of attention from MAGA loyalists like election conspiracy theorist Ashe Epp–here writing for ex-shock jocks Chuck Boniwell and Julie Hayden’s Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle:

U.S. Senate — In the Senate race, it’s incumbent Michael Bennett, or Pro-Choice, Never Trumper Joe O’Dea. President Trump came out against Joe O’Dea in October in response to the candidate’s recent attacks against 45.

Pro-Life Libertarian Brian Peotter is also running for Senate in Colorado, and he is the top polling Libertarian in America. Despite Peotter’s popularity, he is being restricted from debating, an obvious attempt to limit his exposure to the people.

And once you’ve opened the door to undervoting and/or voting third-party in protest, why stop at the U.S. Senate race?

The Post endorsement tells you everything you need to know about the Secretary of State race: A vote for either major party candidate in this race is effectively a vote for the fraud-denying establishment. Soros (Griswold) or Zuckerberg (Anderson) — that’s the “choice.”

The uniparty wants you to believe these are your only choices, though the American Constitution Party has put up Amanda Campbell and the Libertarians are running Bennett Rutledge. Either is a vote for change.

And in the governor’s race:

Then of course, there is the Governor race, where incumbent Democrat Jared Polis is facing off against Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl. There is zero excitement for either candidate across the state.

The American Constitution Party is running Danielle Neuschwanger in this race. Remember, the Governor’s results determine major or minor party status in Colorado, and voters need another party choice in our state. Bonus points for banishing the Republicans to minor status with less than 10%.

Even in the attorney general’s race, Epp writes, “there are options.”

During the Republican Assembly and Convention in the spring, former Republican Stanley Thorne won a spot on the primary ballot for AG, but the Republican establishment — led by Kristi Burton Brown, George Brauchler, and Kellner himself — kept Thorne off the ballot. Thorne has qualified for “write-in” status, and voters can simply write “THORNE” into the space indicated on their ballot.

In the last two U.S. Senate elections, Libertarian candidate performance declined from 3.62% in 2016 to 1.74% in 2020. Current polling shows Brian Peotter substantially outperforming those results, and Peotter’s very conservative (especially for a Libertarian) message means he’ll siphon support almost entirely from Joe O’Dea.

But that’s not where it will end. Now that the former President has shattered Republican unity at the top of the ticket, the collateral damage from that disunity could factor in races all the way down the ballot–at least to the extent that alternative MAGA-approved candidates exist to reap the benefit. This continuing spoiler threat from what should have been inconsequential minor candidates in late October, as it has been ever since Danielle Neuschwanger turned her longshot run for the GOP nomination into a personal vendetta against Heidi Ganahl, is just more proof of the fundamental weakness of the Republican ticket in Colorado this year.

Trump fracturing what’s left of the GOP coalition may turn mere defeat for Colorado Republicans into a landslide.

Joe O’Dea Keeps Making a Joke of “Country Over Party”

Joe O’Dea with RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and NRSC chair Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL).

If you compared the day-to-day news coverage of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Odea’s campaign to the message in O’Dea’s ads, you’d be hard-pressed to know they’re describing the same person. On the one hand, O’Dea’s ads are heavy with his “Country over Party” and “Joe won’t vote the party line” message, while on the trail Joe has voluntarily aligned himself with a veritable who’s who of Republican Party icons–in addition to well-publicized trips back East to kiss the ring of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

This weekend, O’Dea appeared with National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chair Sen. Rick Scott and Republican National Committee chair Ronna “We Don’t Talk About Uncle” Romney McDaniel (photo above) at a public event in Thornton. Last weekend, O’Dea held a less-than-auspicious “meet and greet” with 2020’s Colorado GOP Senate loser Cory Gardner. The week before that, O’Dea announced a fundraiser starring none other than former President George W. Bush.

Are you feeling that “Country over Party” vibe yet?

There is of course one particularly famous Republican who has soured on O’Dea’s campaign after O’Dea announced on CNN that he would “campaign against” Donald Trump, and the loss of support O’Dea faces from Trump’s non-transferable voters who were “holding their nose” to begin with in anticipation of voting for O’Dea is generally considered to be a greater liability than any support O’Dea might gain from swingable “never Trump” conservative voters.

But O’Dea has a countermeasure for this development too, it seems:

With an endorsement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely believed to be positioning himself to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024. DeSantis, who is doing his level best to make himself as polarizing a political figure as Trump himself, can now count Joe O’Dea as part of his crew.

But does any of this make O’Dea look less partisan? The answer of course is that it doesn’t, O’Dea has simply chosen a side within the Republican Party’s upcoming civil war over whether Trump should get another chance to be President. Swing Colorado voters aren’t going to distinguish enough between Trump and the only slightly less villainous Gov. DeSantis enough to consider O’Dea any kind of “post-partisan” third option. In every way that matters except for fealty to the person of Donald Trump, O’Dea is a partisan Republican who will dance with the ones who brought him.

A vote for O’Dea is a vote for Mitch McConnnell, Rick Scott, and now Ron DeSantis.

It’s the message O’Dea chose, and Democrats should be delighted to help spread it.

Podcast: The Blue Wave Cometh (feat. Andrew Baumann)

Andrew Baumann

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado. Baumann explains why the latest poll numbers here look so darn good for Democrats and whether any of that could change in the final weeks of the 2022 election.

We also update you on the latest news from the election season, including a conversation on (some) of the 11 statewide ballot measures in Colorado; we discuss how much longer the Colorado Springs Gazette will be taken seriously given its absurd editorial department; and we offer an important tip for all potential candidates for future office.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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O’Dea Goes Tinfoil Hat: “Google Is Censoring Our Campaign”

THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Still digging, folks:

Cool story, Joe.


THURSDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark investigates Joe O’Dea’s claim that Google is “censoring” his campaign, and just like Heidi Ganahl’s own improbable allegation about Facebook, all Google tech support would like to do is help O’Dea’s campaign figure out their problem:

A review of O’Dea’s ad history on Google, which is publicly available, does not indicate a pattern of ads being removed, and the O’Dea campaign declined to provide evidence of its claim.

They pointed to a screenshot of an ad posting reading, “Removed for a policy violation.”

Such notices are common and can be a result of something as simple as a spelling error or formatting issue with the ad. Advertisers, including political campaigns, often resolve these so-called ad disapprovals by correcting the issue or appealing Google’s determination.

According to Google, O’Dea’s advertising accounts have had a small number of violations, mostly due to formatting issues.

But again, why do it right when you can cry conspiracy? Either both O’Dea and Ganahl need to fire their entire tech departments, or they’ve decided a contrived sympathy ploy based on an unhinged conspiracy theory is worth more than, you know, actual ads.

Or it could be both! We can envision the sequence of events in which incompetent tech people claim Google is out to get them, and then equally incompetent campaign consultants decide that’s a campaign message in itself.

None of which makes any participant in this silliness look good.


A new digital ad began running today from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s campaign:

You’re reading that correctly, allegedly serious Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, not generally lumped in with the ranks of Republican crazies who are expected to say crazy stuff, is accusing multinational tech giant Google of “censoring” his campaign for partisan political purposes by removing one or more of his campaign’s ads from circulation. There are no details backing up this sensationalist claim–what the content of the ad in question was, what terms of service it is alleged to have violated, or when the incident occurred. We’re being asked to take Joe O’Dea’s word that Google is singling out Joe O’Dea for political persecution, even though we’ve never heard O’Dea complain about Google like, say, Rep. Ken Buck does. Doesn’t it seem more likely that Google would retaliate against Ken Buck?

Apparently not:

You know Democrat Michael Bennet is in serious trouble when left-wing Big Tech companies like Google rush to his aid by pulling my ads. [Pols emphasis]

They’re terrified that we can and will FLIP this 1 SEAT needed to reclaim the 50-50 Senate.

With just WEEKS left in this election, I’m counting on the help of grassroots Americans like YOU to help me counter this censorship by increasing the reach of our TV ads.

Please contribute to my Ad Fund to help me FIGHT BACK against this calculated censorship in the final weeks of the election – and I’ll *personally* MATCH your gift at the MAXIMUM 1,500% rate.

Whether or not you believe O’Dea when he claims that Google is out to get him probably depends on your susceptibility to conspiracy theory thinking in general, which we’ll concede includes a lot of Republican voters. Back here in the reality-based community, however, we have trouble with the idea that Google cares enough about Joe O’Dea, who has never once come close to taking the lead in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, to apply a double standard from their usual terms of service to him. If it were to come out that Google actually did put its thumb on the scale of a U.S. Senate race in this way, it would obviously be a huge story with national, even global implications.

But we just can’t see why Google would put their reputation on the line to come between O’Dea’s “donors” and his laughable 1,500% “match rate.” If O’Dea has proof of something nefarious done to him by world’s second-largest technology company, he should immediately disclose everything, hire a team of lawyers, and let the Panama Papers-level crisis this revelation would call for ensue.

Something tells us that’s not going to happen.

No, Colorado is Not #2 in Fentanyl Deaths

Heidi Ganahl and Joe O’Dea have both often repeated false statistics about fentanyl deaths in Colorado.

Republican politicians in Colorado have fallen in love with a dubious talking point about fentanyl deaths in our state that has prompted at least two local news outlets to debunk the statistic. As Election Day draws closer, this talking point is getting shared with increasing frequency by Republican candidates.

And it’s wrong.

The talking point is some variation of this: “Colorado is #2 in the country in fentanyl deaths.” Gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl says it all the time. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and Attorney General candidate John Kellner are among the Republican candidates who have recently started repeating the number.

But as both The Colorado Sun and The Denver Post report, that number is just straight-up false. More importantly, experts say that attributing this scary-sounding statistic to Colorado is missing the point of the fentanyl problem in general.

Let’s start with The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul via its “Unaffiliated” newsletter following a recent gubernatorial debate:

Ganahl claimed during the debate that Colorado is “No. 2 in fentanyl deaths.” That’s wrong. [Pols emphasis]

Ganahl’s campaign, when asked for evidence to back up the claim, pointed to a line in an Axios Denver story about fentanyl deaths in Colorado to back up this claim.

The news outlet accurately reported “Colorado’s uptick (in fentanyl deaths) ranked second in the country from 2019 to 2021, according to a report published this month from the nonprofit Families Against Fentanyl.” Families Against Fentanyl, an organization that advocates for tougher policies against the drug and better awareness around it, found that the number of fentanyl deaths in Colorado increased by 382% between the fiscal year ending in May 2019 and the fiscal year ending in May 2021, from 147 to 709. That rate of increase ranked second among states over that time frame.

But Colorado’s per capita fentanyl death rate from June 2020 to May 2021 didn’t even rank in the top 20, according to Families Against Fentanyl. West Virginia was No. 1. Colorado was No. 33. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado was, however, in the top 10 — at No. 7 — when it comes to states with the highest rate of fentanyl death increases from 2015 to 2021, according to Families Against Fentanyl.

And here’s Seth Klamann of The Denver Post:

Where does Colorado rank in fentanyl deaths?

In short, not second. [Pols emphasis] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not list deaths specifically for fentanyl, but it does for synthetic narcotics — of which fentanyl is the dominant substance. According to that data, Colorado’s provisional, accidental overdose rate involving synthetic narcotics in 2021 was 16.8 per 100,000 residents, which was 31st in the nation and paled in comparison to top-ranked West Virginia, which had an overdose rate of just over 66.

A separate report, compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ranked Colorado 30th for opioid overdoses through 2020; Kaiser’s calculation is a slightly larger category than the CDC’s and would include heroin and prescription pills as well as fentanyl.

The truth is that it is difficult to come up with an accurate number of fentanyl deaths IN ANY STATE because the drug is normally included in data sets among a broader category of “opiates” or “synthetic narcotics.”

“Parsing out inter-state differences is sort of a useless exercise.”

Josh Blum of Denver Health

As Klamann notes in the Post, talking about fentanyl death rates in a given state is fairly pointless anyway:

That’s part of the reason why Josh Blum, the head of outpatient substance use treatment at Denver Health and a leading addiction specialist in the state, says that comparing states is a “useless exercise.” There’s no way to say how fentanyl’s presence in one place compares to others: Is there more fentanyl in Kansas versus Colorado? Is the drug supply in Illinois as contaminated with fentanyl as it is here, where heroin, meth and cocaine are often laced with the drug? A RAND Corporation study published earlier this year found that the potency of the drug supply varies even among neighboring states.

Blum noted that Colorado has several major cross-country interstates, plus a major metropolitan area, which makes it more conducive for drug traffickers. He ticked off other factors that make cross-state comparisons difficult: Colorado has a younger population, he said, which would mean residents are more likely to initiate drug use.

Colorado’s numbers are probably skewed because we do a pretty good job of tracking data on fentanyl deaths. By contrast, our neighbor to the north (Wyoming) has been particularly bad about collecting accurate information.

Colorado ranks 30th in the country when it comes to opioid overdose death rates per 100,000 people. That includes fentanyl deaths, but again, it also counts other opioid deaths.

In general, we wouldn’t listen to anything that Ganahl repeats out loud. Ganahl has a troubling history of not bothering to fact-check her own, uh, facts. She has claimed that “60% of Colorado kids can’t read, write, or do math,” which is silly, and she’s absolutely positive that there is an epidemic of “furries” in Colorado schools no matter how many times this conspiracy theory is debunked.

Likewise, John Kellner has regularly cherry-picked crime statistics he uses to attack incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser; the data actually shows that crime rates in Kellner’s judicial district are significantly higher than statewide averages. As for O’Dea…well, he changes his story on issues like the rest of us change our underwear.

Nobody would argue that tackling the fentanyl crisis is not an important issue, in Colorado or nationwide. But in order to have an honest discussion that leads to real results, we need to first start with accurate information.

PNC/GSG Poll: Colorado Democrats on the Cusp of Glory

The Denver Post’s Seth Klamann reports today on the latest Mountaineer poll from Global Strategy Group and liberal activist group ProgressNow Colorado–numbers that cannot be spun any way positively for Republicans three weeks out from the 2022 midterm elections, and the downward trajectory for Republicans in the gubernatorial race in particular opening the possibility of a rout on Election Night that Colorado Democrats could scarcely have dreamed of at the beginning of the year.

If the Global Strategy Group poll is to be believed, Republicans have a lot of catching up to do over the next three weeks. About 52% of likely voters surveyed said that, if Election Day were tomorrow, they would vote to re-elect Gov. Jared Polis, compared to 34% who said they would vote for CU Regent Heidi Ganahl; another 8% said they were undecided. It’s a larger lead than FiveThirtyEight’s analysis, which still gives Polis a sizable 16-point advantage.

Respondents were also asked about Ganahl’s repeated comments about children allegedly identifying as cats in schools across Colorado, a claim that school officials thoroughly rejected. The poll showed that 71% of respondents said the claim wasn’t an important issue at all.

A message sent to Ganahl’s campaign Tuesday was not returned. A Polis spokeswoman told the Post the governor was “working hard to earn the support of Colorado voters.”

The poll gave Bennet an 11-point lead over challenger Joe O’Dea among likely voters, with 7% undecided. It’s a stronger projection than FiveThirtyEight, which has Bennet up eight points as of last week, or polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, which gives the Democrat a 7.7-point average lead. The race has received national attention as one that Republicans believe they can win in what they hope will be a wave election repudiating President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats up and down the ticket.

It’s the latest in a spate of recent polls showing that Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor has unrecoverably tanked. Multiple polls now have Ganahl losing to Gov. Jared Polis in the 15-20% range, and three weeks out from the election there’s just no realistic hope of turning those numbers around.

The situation is little better for U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, who before this poll was locked 7-10% behind incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. Despite months of national press phoning in stories insisting that Colorado’s U.S. Senate race could become competitive, there is nothing to suggest that has actually happened. If anything, O’Dea is losing ground as the election nears.

Down the ballot there’s even more good news for Democrats, with incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser holding solid leads over their Republican challengers:

The poll showed comfortable leads for both Attorney General Phil Weiser and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, both Democrats. Weiser had a seven-point lead over challenger John Kellner among likely voters, but with a sizable 12% of respondents undecided. The poll found Griswold with a 10-point lead over Republican Pam Anderson, with 10% of respondents reporting they’re undecided.

Although the poll didn’t survey the Treasurer’s race, the Attorney General and Secretary of State races have by far seen the most attention of the downballot statewide races. If these numbers are accurate both Weiser and Griswold are successfully weathering shrilly negative campaigns waged against them. Griswold in particular has been the subject of intense opprobrium from the state’s political elite and pundit class, and should take comfort from the durable show of support indicated in this poll.

You can read the full poll memo from Global Strategy Group here. Given the overall consistency of this latest poll with so many other recent surveys, the only way we can see at this point for Republicans in Colorado to have a shot at winning on November 8th is not just for this poll to be wrong, but all of the polling from every responsible pollster who has polled Colorado to be wrong. The unexcludable lingering possibility of exactly that is why we don’t expect Democrats to become complacent over these good polling numbers in the final few weeks of the 2022 campaign.

We expect them to close the deal.

Ganahl Joins O’Dea Crying Conspiracy Over Operator Error

Off the deep end together.

Just after we wrote earlier today about GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s new ad campaign on global tech giant Facebook complaining that his ads are being “censored” by global tech giant Google, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark reports that the Republican candidate for governor of Colorado Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is making a similar claim of partisan censorship…about Facebook:

“We are being blocked by Facebook and Instagram,” Ganahl said. “We aren’t allowed to advertise like other campaigns are. It is literally happening right here in Colorado on our campaign.” [Pols emphasis]

Facebook’s publicly accessible library of paid political ads shows Ganahl’s campaign is advertising on Facebook, but at paltry levels compared to Democratic Governor Jared Polis…

“We followed Meta’s guidelines for ad placement and were repeatedly rejected,” said Ganahl spokeswoman Lexi Swearingen. “We also tried contacting Meta and were unsuccessful.”

Rather than taking the Ganahl campaign’s word, 9NEWS called up Facebook, which with anyone other than our grandparents we are supposed to start referring to as “Meta” but much like calling the Pepsi Center the Ball Arena, that still hasn’t stuck:

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said the issue was a simple form that the Ganahl campaign had failed to complete. [Pols emphasis]

“In this case, additional ads were rejected because the advertiser had not successfully attached a paid-for-by disclaimer, which is required for all political ads in the US,” a Meta spokesperson said. “All the advertiser needs to do is link her disclaimer and submit the ads again.”

In short, the problem was not a conspiracy by the global tech conspiracy to prevent Heidi Ganahl from giving Facebook money for digital ads, something you might be surprised to discover they want to do and will gladly help you get done if you need help. Rather than obtain that freely available help, it looks like Ganahl’s campaign decided it would be a better idea to invent a conspiracy theory by Facebook against their campaign.

Assuming Joe O’Dea wants to know, we fully expect a similar explanation awaits him at Google.

The problem, we expect to discover as soon as these tech support excuses are exhausted, is that neither Ganahl nor O’Dea want this conspiracy theory debunked. They have both decided for their own reasons that convincing their supporters they are the victim of a massive conspiracy being perpetrated by tech giants against conservatives is the politically expedient thing to do.

This is what the end stage of a losing “post-truth” campaign looks like.

Flailing, unhinged desperation.

Triangulate This: Joe O’Dea Finally Earns Trump’s Wrath

TUESDAY UPDATE: As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

What Trump is doing here is actively sabotaging O’Dea’s chances.

In order to have a chance at pulling off an upset against Bennet, O’Dea needs the Trumpist Republican base fully behind him and the support of independents and moderates across Colorado. He can’t win without both parts of that equation – and Trump just made it much harder for O’Dea to keep the GOP base strongly aligned behind him.

The back and forth is just the latest example that Trump cares about himself first, second and third – and does not put what’s best for the Republican Party anywhere in that mix.

UPDATE: Count loud and proud “ultra MAGA” Rep. Dave Williams out:


Joe O'Dea

GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday morning, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea was asked about his evolving position on former President Donald Trump, progressing from promising to support Trump in 2024 if Trump wins the GOP nomination to walking this back after winning the Republican primary–though very careful to avoid promising not to vote for Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. As reported by Business Insider:

O’Dea, who is running as a center-right candidate, called Jan. 6 “a black eye on the country,” adding that he has been “very vocal” in saying he thinks Trump “should have done more to keep the violence from heading towards the Capitol.”

“I don’t think Donald Trump should run again,” O’Dea said.

He continued: “I’m going to actively campaign against Donald Trump and make sure that we’ve got four or five really great Republicans right now.”

First of all, as readers know, O’Dea had a very different view of January 6th during the  primary:

“I had friends that were out at January 6, they went nowhere near the building,” O’Dea said. “That’s a rally in my opinion.”

But we’ll set that aside for a moment. Joe O’Dea is certainly not unique in “evolving” away from deeply unpopular ex-President Trump after winning his Republican nomination in order to appeal to the general election audience. But voicing this opinion on the national Sunday morning news appears to have finally put O’Dea on Trump’s radar. This morning, Trump personally responded to O’Dea’s disloyalty with a trademark nastygram sure to cost O’Dea support among the Republican base:

Trump’s broadside against O’Dea this morning is prompting some hot takes suggesting this attack from Trump might be helpful to O’Dea. There may be some number of swing voters in Colorado not yet aware that O’Dea is running a triangulation game in this blue-state underdog race, but at this point there probably aren’t that many. On the other hand, there is a very large segment of Republican MAGA base voters who have resolved to hold their proverbial noses and vote for O’Dea despite his feints to the left, and they all just got told in the clearest terms Trump can manage not to vote for Joe O’Dea.

It’s a dicey game that O’Dea has been playing from the beginning, and the calculation has always been that triangulating off the former President’s unpopularity was worth more in attracting swing voters than it cost O’Dea with the loyalist Republican base. The great risk in running this kind of counter-brand campaign is that one can end up with no base of support at all, or a base so tepid after being maligned that they’re demoralized and unmotivated.

The one thing we can say for sure is that if Joe O’Dea loses as every poll predicts, Trump will want the credit.

Newspaper Endorsement Roundup for 2022

Sen. Michael Bennet is endorsed by every major newspaper making a decision in Colorado.

Several Colorado newspapers have decided against making endorsements in political races in 2022, including The Pueblo Chieftain, The Ft. Collins Coloradoan, and The Greeley Tribune.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, has turned its candidate endorsement process into a ridiculous partisan pit of repetitive Republican talking points. The Gazette has completely given up on even pretending to be nonpartisan by endorsing only Republican candidates — even those, such as GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — for whom it is virtually impossible to make a coherent argument of support.

The good news is that there are still a handful of Colorado newspapers that are making thoughtful, considered endorsements of candidates in 2022. We rounded up the endorsements in some of Colorado’s top-tier races that are available as of this writing, including some notable lines. Included in our list below are The Denver Post, The Durango Herald, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and The Aurora Sentinel.

Two statewide candidates — Sen. Michael Bennet and Attorney General Phil Weiser — picked up endorsements from all four newspapers. Governor Jared Polis will undoubtedly join that list once The Denver Post makes its endorsement.

Also noteworthy: Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert failed to receive a single endorsement other than the rubber-stamp backing of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two most important newspapers in CO-03 both backed Democratic challenger Adam Frisch instead of Boebert.