Oh No, Joe O’Dea

If you enjoy silly campaign schwag and you want to make an ass of yourself, then boy howdy do we have good news for you!

Head on over to the schwag store at the website for Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, and you can buy all sorts of bizarre crap. But the real gem is this bumper sticker below. You can buy NOT ONE, BUT TWO of these stickers that proclaim “Woman for O’Dea.”

Actual merchandise available at “The O’Dea Store” on Joe O’Dea’s campaign website.


Why do these stickers not use the plural form of “woman” instead? Who knows? Maybe “Women for O’Dea” was a tougher sell.

The O’Dea schwag store offers a few more bumper sticker options, including “Student for O’Dea,” “Native for O’Dea,” and “Transplant for O’Dea.” But we thought they could do better, so we came up with some suggestions of our own:



Please send 25% of all proceeds to ColoradoPols.com.

How To Wash Down Horse Sushi? Michelob Ultra Over Ice

Back in July, a Facebook post from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea went quasi-viral as a uniquely silly attempt to project “everyman” appeal: hankering for sushi from the local Denver suburban strip mall, O’Dea saddled up the horses and rode through the suburban streets of southwest Denver to relieve his craving–just like you would if you had horses, more free time than the average working suburbanite, and no regrets about leaving road apples on the roads and sidewalks.

O’Dea tries hard to come off as a relatable ordinary guy, but something about his “goatee and mullet” image has always come off as a bit contrived. Inevitably separated from the travails of everyday life by tens of millions of dollars, it’s no more possible for O’Dea to pretend to be an “ordinary Joe” than Mehmet Oz can fake the experience of shopping for a veggie platter.

This weekend, in a Politico profile of the Colorado U.S. Senate race, it happened again:

In an interview at Spanky’s Roadhouse in Denver, sipping a Michelob Ultra he poured into a glass of ice, [Pols emphasis] O’Dea elaborated on the kind of Republican senator he would be.

Who better to express the revulsion we all should feel than U.S. Senate brewmeister John Hickenlooper:

The story has prompted significant debate this morning over which is the greater zymological offense: drinking beer over ice, or drinking Michelob Ultra over ice. Michelob Ultra is only by the very loosest standards considered beer, after all, and once diluted with ice we’re not sure what you would call it. A beer cooler? Whatever it is, we surer than hell wouldn’t drink it.

Joe O’Dea: trying too hard, or not nearly hard enough? Either way, it’s just kind of weird.

The GMS Podcast: It’s Voting Time! (feat. Alec Garnett)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii sit down once again with House Speaker Alec Garnett to talk about the next generation of House leadership and his predictions for the 2022 election.

Later, we update you on everything you need to know about the latest in the major campaigns in Colorado. We also talk about a judge’s ruling on the Republican recall effort targeting State Sen. Kevin Priola, and together we listen to some bizarre videos courtesy of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Why Can’t Republicans Jettison Herschel Walker? Joe O’Dea

GOP U.S. Senate candidates Herschel Walker, Joe O’Dea.

As anyone even casually following national politics is aware by now, Republicans once thought to have a lock on winning back the U.S. House and Senate during the 2022 midterms elections are approaching Election Day facing serious deficiencies in their fielded candidates, as well as persistent distrust of the Republican brand after the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections.

The candidate quality dilemma is particularly problematic for Republicans hoping to reclaim the majority in the U.S. Senate, where the GOP’s path to a majority has been dramatically narrowed by disastrous candidates like Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and Blake Masters in Arizona doing their best to blow what could have been winnable races. And in Georgia, Donald Trump’s hand-picked Senate candidate Herschel Walker isn’t just in political freefall, but hitting every rock on the cliffside on the way down as allegations of moral hypocrisy combine with stupendously obvious incompetence to make even some diehard MAGA Republicans think twice.

But as CNN reports, there’s basically no path to a GOP Senate majority without Herschel Walker:

“I think we’re going to stick with Walker….we’re going take it all the way to the end,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an interview with CNN that aired Tuesday afternoon. “I think they’re going to hang in there and scrap to the finish.”

…The Senate math is simple. Republicans need to net a single seat to win the majority. But, with Dr. Mehmet Oz trailing in Pennsylvania where Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring and Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly running surprisingly strong against Blake Masters, Republicans are looking at a very narrow window of opportunity to make the gains they needs.

A two-seat window, in fact. Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is in a very tight race with Adam Laxalt and, you guessed it, Georgia where Walker continues to run competitively against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.

There’s just no other seat that has come on the board for Republicans that could allow them to step away from Walker. [Pols emphasis] New Hampshire was, at the start of the election cycle, widely seen as a potential pickup but popular Gov. Chris Sununu decided not to run and Trump-aligned Don Bolduc emerged as the Republican nominee. While Republican strategists still view Sen. Maggie Hassan as vulnerable, she is clearly in a better spot than many expected her to be even a year ago. In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s numbers are somewhat soft but a Marist poll released this week showed him leading Republican nominee Joe O’Dea 48% to 41%.

As the record of spending on the race has made clear down the stretch, Joe O’Dea was never anything close to a top-tier U.S. Senate candidate. Multiple polls show O’Dea locked in an 8-10% deficit behind Michael Bennet, with no time left to alter that dynamic as mail ballots deliver next week. The hope expressed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that O’Dea might seriously threaten Bennet created some circular media buzz, but didn’t change the situation on the ground in Colorado where every investment by Republicans into O’Dea has been more than countered by all-in support for Bennet from national Democrats.

If O’Dea had at any point shown real competitiveness in his run against Bennet, Republicans would have flooded the state with money instead of spending the massive amounts currently being expended to prop up Herschel Walker. It’s not that Republicans are morally repelled by Walker, or if they are they’ve been able to suppress it to the point of culpability (see: McConnell above). The simple fact is that without Herschel Walker, McConnell is very likely to remain Senate Minority Leader.

Joe O’Dea had a chance to ride to McConnell’s rescue, but it was not to be.

Dark Brandon Arrives in Colorado

UPDATE #2: Live from Vail:


UPDATE: Via Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado fashion shot if there ever was one:

Rep. Joe Neguse is the most Colorado dressed of the bunch, with Hickenlooper in second and Sen. Michael Bennet coming in a bookish but respectable third. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gets it totally wrong without a trace of denim or corduroy, and Gov. Jared Polis has, no surprise here, the flashiest shoes.


President Joe Biden is in the house!

As Denver7 reports, Biden will speak in Colorado about designating the Camp Hale/ Continental Divide National Monument — his first such national monument designation as President:

Biden signed a proclamation Wednesday designating Camp Hale and the area of the Continental Divide that surrounds it as a national monument, and his administration moved to protect 225,000 acres of the Thompson Divide from mining and oil and gas production…

…Wednesday’s proclamation has been expected since last week, when sources first confirmed Biden would be making Camp Hale – where soldiers trained to fight in the Alps during WWII – a national monument.

The moves announced Wednesday include designating 53,804 acres including Camp Hale and the surrounding Tenmile Range as a national monument that will be managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which will develop a plan to protect and manage the land and the historical significance of the area, the White House said.

Click here to watch live coverage of Biden’s remarks.

U.S. Senate Candidate Peotter: ‘Abandon the Colorado GOP’

(We have nothing to add — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Brian Peotter has a message for pro-Trump, “liberty-minded” Republicans in Colorado: “This November, tell Washington that you care more about principles than power. The Republican can’t win anyway! Don’t throw away your vote — use it to send a message.”

“If you have traditional family values, the Colorado Republican Party has left you. It is time to consider voting for me, Brian Peotter the Libertarian candidate for U.S Senate.”

Peotter says he’s running to give the conservative base of the Republican Party an option at the ballot box, which he believes so-called establishment Republicans have abandoned. This includes those like him who believe the Big Lie that Biden stole the 2020 election from Trump. In multiple posts on the far-right social media platform Gab, Peotter promotes the conspiracy theory, saying he will “fix” or “correct” the 2020 election.

“Elections need to be fixed,” wrote Peotter. “Stop supporting a Republican party in Colorado that says “we need to move past 2020. I’ll impeach Biden.”

Campaigning in an “Ultra MAGA” hat, he told a conservative podcast that his top issues are ending abortion, ending military aid to Ukraine, and protecting the Second Amendment, specifically re-legalizing machine guns.

He also embraced his role as a spoiler, saying the Libertarian Party needs to use its ability to pull votes from the Republican base to force the GOP to run more conservative candidates.

Peotter on the Bob & Eric Save America podcast, Sept. 26, 2022

The Libertarian Party has traditionally been all about choice, from legalizing drugs to supporting LGBTQ rights to being explicitly in favor of a woman’s right to choose.

Until recently, that is. Earlier this year a far-right socially conservative faction called the Mises Caucus successfully took over the national Libertarian Party. Among their changes was removing its longtime support for access to abortion care from the party platform.

Peotter was a part of that effort. “If it wasn’t for the fact that we took over the Libertarian Party nationally and got rid of [the pro-choice position], I wouldn’t be a Libertarian,” he told the Colorado Times Recorder. “As a group we [the Mises Caucus] went to the national convention this year. We removed the abortion plank from the Libertarian Party that had been there for a very long time.”


National Republicans Toss a Few Bucks at O’Dea

Please, sir. May I have some more?

As Natalie Allison reports for POLITICO, one of two major national Republican Super PACs associated with GOP efforts to win majority control of the U.S. Senate has at last contributed some money toward efforts to help Republican Joe O’Dea defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet:

The question has remained for months about whether the Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would put money into a state President Joe Biden won by 13 points in 2020. Republicans this summer nominated Joe O’Dea, a construction entrepreneur who is running as a centrist and has distanced himself from Donald Trump, saying he would be willing to buck his party in the mold of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) if elected.

The Senate Leadership Fund on Friday made a $1.25 million contribution to the pro-O’Dea super PAC American Policy Fund, an investment the group first confirmed with POLITICO. The spend is significantly smaller than SLF’s expenditures in other battleground states this year, though spokesperson Jack Pandol said they “aren’t closing the door on further investment” in Colorado, and are “keeping an eye on” the race against Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

“Keeping an eye on Colorado” is something that Republicans have been saying for at least a year. It’s the equivalent of a parent responding to a child with, “That’s nice, dear.”

It would be a much more important story if national Republicans have decided to spend real money in Colorado; $1.25 million is a relative pittance compared to what McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) is spending in other top races around the country — though it’s $1.24 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has committed to Colorado. As you can see from this graphic put together by Reuters that covers outside spending through Oct. 3, a $1.25 million “investment” in Colorado is peanuts:

Via Reuters


Spending from SLF is arriving pretty late for O’Dea. Mail ballots in Colorado start going out to voters in exactly one week, which will make it hard for any ads to sink in with the electorate before voters are done thinking about 2022. This is probably one reason why the SLF is writing a check to the Super PAC “American Policy Fund,” a contractor-aligned group that has really been the only outside source of advertising for O’Dea. The SLF money isn’t part of any new program for O’Dea — it’s merely a contribution to the same group that is already running ads in Colorado.

Sen. Michael Bennet

Meanwhile, as POLITICO reports, Democrats ARE spending bigger on behalf of Bennet:

The new support for O’Dea’s bid comes as outside Democratic groups have jumped into the race to help Bennet, even as public polling has shown Bennet with a steady lead. On Friday, the League of Conservation Voters’ super PAC bought $1.3 million worth of ads in support of Bennet, following a combined $5 million in recent weeks from Giffords PAC, the gun control super PAC associated with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and another Democratic group.

Bennet’s campaign has also outraised O’Dea by an 8-to-1 margin; while Bennet has been all over the television, O’Dea’s campaign has been buying TV time on a week-by-week basis. It’s important to note that television ads reserved by candidate campaigns are significantly cheaper than those that come from PACs, so Bennet should continue to saturate the airwaves while O’Dea’s campaign rifles through the couch cushions.

So what is the point of McConnell’s late, meager spending in Colorado? Perhaps McConnell and the SLF want to be able to say that they tried to help O’Dea in Colorado. Maybe it is a way for McConnell to tell future candidates, with a straight(ish) face, that he really does support people who are not complete MAGA Republican weirdos. Whatever the reason, this is not an amount of money that is designed to change the outcome of a Senate race.

For O’Dea, $1.25 million is better than nothing…but it’s not nearly enough to be good enough for something.

Tell Joe O’Dea: let the victims speak

Last week, ProgressNow Colorado held a press conference in front of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment in downtown Denver with a long list of cases from injured parties—more than 20 different parties—that have filed lawsuits against O’Dea’s company Concrete Express.

We’re calling on Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Joe O’Dea to release any victims and injured parties involved in litigation against O’Dea who are either under Non-Disclosure Agreements or are too scared to share their stories.

Sign our petition demanding that Joe O’Dea immediately release everyone who may be prohibited from talking publicly due to their NDAs and settlement agreements.

Joe O’Dea’s concrete company has been fined by the Department of Labor for repeated health and safety violations, including creating an unsafe working environment that led to a roof collapse injuring 13 of his employees. A former human resources employee at Concrete Express alleged that management at the company concluded that ‘old guys were a liability’ and that the company ‘need(ed) to get rid of these old sick people’ to bring down insurance costs. [1]

Joe O’Dea’s entire case for running for office is based on his concrete pouring business, where it’s clear now that O’Dea put profits over the health and safety of his employees. It gets worse: while mistreating his own employees, O’Dea received almost $3 million in federal Paycheck Protection Program funds to meet his payroll obligations during the pandemic. O’Dea never missed the chance to enrich himself, but injured and aging workers at Concrete Express got a raw deal.

Sign our petition demanding Joe O’Dea let CEI’s injured parties tell their stories.

When the stakes are this high the public has the right to full disclosure, and O’Dea should not be allowed to silence his critics.

Thank you for your help holding Joe O’Dea accountable.

Sara Loflin, Executive Director

Fractured El Paso County GOP Imperils Statewide Candidates

El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Vicki Tonkins.

Mary Shinn of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports on continuing strife among El Paso County Republicans, the fallout from the county party’s takeover by “America First” fringe-right activists led by controversial but durable chair Vickie Tonkins. The acrimony between the Tonkins wing of the party and the would-be “establishment” wing peaked again during the recent Republican primary, and hasn’t receded–to the extent that a number of Republican candidates have set up an alternate campaign operation to replace the nominally official Republican field campaign:

The Peak Republicans office near Interstate 25 and Garden of the Gods Road was set up during intense Republican primary election battles locally and is now functioning as a campaign headquarters for many candidates that have not received dollars, volunteers, or other support from the official local party…

The move to suppress the Republican vote is really unprecedented, said Jody Richie, a campaign manager for about seven local Republican candidates. The failure for the party leadership to support general-election Republican candidates is also unusual. Despite the infighting, though, she says campaign efforts are going well and she has assembled a list with more than 1,000 volunteers.

“We are just not letting that get in our way,” Richie said of the infighting.

Republican Party Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins pushed back on statements she has failed to support candidates in an email to The Gazette, saying that everyday people are stopping by the party offices for signs and literature.

Be that as it may,

Campaigns for O’Dea, Anderson, Ganahl and others are working with the alternative Republican Party headquarters to get their message out, said Lois Landgraf, a former state representative who helped organize the office. [Pols emphasis]

It’s an old rule in Colorado politics that in order to win statewide, it is necessary to run up the score in base areas while not losing too badly in the regions of the state one is destined by demographics to lose. Chaos in the Republican Party’s most populous stronghold less than a month from the election is a huge problem, for not just Republicans running in El Paso County, but every statewide Republican campaign counting on maximum turnout from El Paso County voters to win.

Prospective Republican volunteers with no knowledge of this schism will naturally turn to the official Republican party, but that’s not who the candidates running want them to talk to. And how do you fix that without spreading a seriously demoralizing message about the state of the El Paso County Republican Party?

It’s not the only hurdle Colorado Republicans face, but it’s one they certainly do not need.

Get More Weiserer (feat. Attorney General Phil Weiser)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk at length with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser about his re-election campaign, law enforcement issues in Colorado, and why you should brace yourself for the next Supreme Court docket.

Later, we talk more about Furry Lago and Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s decision to take her conspiracy theory a step too far; we update on the latest in several top races in Colorado; a majority of Republican candidates in the United States are full-on election deniers; and why a lesson from Aurora should inform voters about crime narratives being pushed by Republican candidates. Also, the one and only Christy Powell returns for another legendary rant.

*We’re about to hit 50,000 downloads of the Get More Smarter podcast, which is as amazing to us as it might be to you. Thanks to each and every one of you for listening, for subscribing, and for sharing the show with your friends. Ever since we started, Colorado has gone from purple to bright, bright blue. Coincidence? Probably, but we’re gonna take the credit anyway. 

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

O’Dea’s Worker Safety Record: Pour The Concrete, Take The Ride

Joe O’Dea between two menacingly large wheels.

Even before Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea won the nomination in the June 28th primary, his campaign was under fire from labor groups who criticized the employee safety record of O’Dea’s company Concrete Express, Inc. Since O’Dea has no political experience, his record as the owner of CEI is most of what voters have to go on to evaluate O’Dea besides being all over the map on abortion and riding a horse through the Denver suburbs for strip-mall sushi.

The Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover published a feature-length story examining the occupational safety record of CEI along with age and gender discrimination allegations that have dogged the company for years, all denied by O’Dea with the same vigor that Herschel Walker denies paying for that abortion–but aren’t going away, either:

O’Dea has no record of legislative accomplishments or public votes on which he can run but instead is framing his campaign as that of someone who has for years been bettering the lives of working-class Coloradans.

That is why scrutiny is turning now to the Republican’s history as an employer and the differing views that skeptics and supporters hold about his company…

And here’s the bottom line:

Since its 1988 founding, Concrete Express has gotten hit with $135,000 in fines for 28 worker safety violations by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to information available on the OSHA website. It also was the target of a since-settled 2019 age and disability lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado to which O’Dea detractors have drawn attention.

…Dennis Dougherty — the executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO who has tracked the lawsuit and sanctions against O’Dea’s company and has been speaking publicly along with other labor leaders and the liberal activist group ProgressNow about them for months — said there is mounting opposition to the man who says he wants to be a defender of working Coloradans has not been their friend for 30-plus years.

“O’Dea is selling hardworking Coloradans a bill of goods, and he is presenting himself as something he’s not,” said Dougherty, whose organization has endorsed Bennet. “He is a corporate wolf in workers’ clothing.”

On the one hand, O’Dea’s supporters will argue that pouring concrete is an inherently dangerous business resulting in very tight supervision of working conditions by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But that doesn’t mean safety violations count for less than they would in safer industries, or negligence responsible for violations and injuries isn’t as big of a problem. Contractor associations compensate for this in part by lavishing “workplace safety” awards on their paying members, but it doesn’t change the fact that workers have been hurt working for Joe O’Dea, and some of those injuries were preventable.

One solution for O’Dea if he really has nothing to hide would be to call opponents’ bluffs and agree to their demands that O’Dea release the injured parties in the lawsuits against CEI from the nondisclosure agreements that prevent them from speaking out about their experience. But the likelihood that these cases contain plenty of anecdotal ugliness, if not the systemic safety and discrimination problems O’Dea’s opponents allege, makes that very unlikely.

[Colorado Contractors Association Executive Director Tony] Milo said that OSHA fines are “unfortunately, a cost of doing business for most contractors” and that one would be hard-pressed to find a contractor that hasn’t been hit with penalties. OSHA never suspended operations of Concrete Express, as it has with other firms, he noted. [Pols emphasis]

Under scrutiny, the retreat from “check out all of Joe O’Dea’s safety awards” to “at least OSHA never shut Joe O’Dea down” is so quick it will make your head spin–and it’s a tell that O’Dea’s defenders are nervous about this line of attack. O’Dea regularly accuses his two-term incumbent opponent of having “no record to run on,” but that’s literally the case for O’Dea other than his years of getting rich pouring concrete.

In which some people got hurt.

From there, O’Dea faces questions about the origin of much of his estimated to be up to $77 million fortune–hundreds of millions of dollars in public contracts for roads, bridges, dams, and (Republicans hate this one especially) bike paths paid for with taxpayer dollars. Though not himself a public servant, O’Dea made his fortune in large part as a contractor on public sector construction projects. This is what O’Dea’s vanquished primary opponent Ron Hanks cited when he endorsed the Libertarian running against O’Dea, and the point was well illustrated this summer when O’Dea tried to take credit for the Windy Gap water project that Sen. Michael Bennet had won the appropriation to construct.

The polls say it’s not coming together for O’Dea in this race, who has settled into a ten-point deficit in numerous recent polls. But when the post-mortem begins on O’Dea’s anticipated defeat, inherent contradictions that his campaign chose to either ignore or feigned outrage at the mere suggestion of that will tell the story of why O’Dea lost.

Coloradans don’t need another “Boss.” And that’s not what they want in their U.S. Senator.

O’Dea Campaign Promotes Saddest Meet and Greet of 2022

As we wrote in this space just a few weeks ago, Republican Joe O’Dea’s campaign for U.S. Senate seems to have been modeled in part on the 2014 strategy that saw Republican Cory Gardner narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. As we noted in that same post, there’s not much reason to think that this approach might work again in 2022 — particularly after Gardner was drubbed by Democrat John Hickenlooper when the former sought re-election in 2020.

But with time running out on the 2022 election and O’Dea finding himself abandoned by even the fringiest of the far-right Republicans, Team O’Dea is going back to a well that has long since proven to be emptier than Lauren Boebert’s melon:

O’Dea is the one with the facial hair.


O’Dea is similar to Gardner in that both candidates tried to convince Colorado voters that they were totally not a threat to any existing rights (such as abortion). O’Dea’s campaign has even tried to tell voters that they shouldn’t worry about electing him because he won’t get anything accomplished anyway. The main difference between O’Dea and Gardner, aside from the facial hair, is that Gardner was a pretty good politician who stammered out calculated nonsense, as opposed to O’Dea’s habit of just barfing out whatever comes to mind even if it contradicts something he already said.

We assume this “Meet & Greet” means that Gardner is endorsing O’Dea for Senate. You might think this would be obvious, but most Colorado Republicans have avoided Gardner in 2022 like he was trying to give them a COVID booster. We were surprised, in fact, when CO-07 Republican candidate Erik Aadland announced last month that he had received Gardner’s endorsement because the former Senator has been largely invisible in Colorado.

Anyway, if you have a hankering to meet Gardner and O’Dea at an undisclosed location that also will include a food truck of some sort, now you know how to RSVP.

Who Will Win Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race? (10/6)

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

Here’s what readers thought the last time we asked this question.

Now we’re asking again: Who will win Colorado’s U.S. Senate race? Will incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet earn a third term, or will Republican businessman Joe O’Dea pull off the upset?


*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?


Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race? (10/6)

View Results

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Ron Hanks: Vote for Brian Peotter, Not Joe O’Dea

Ron Hanks takes one last, uh, shot at Joe O’Dea.

We did not expect that during the first week of October the biggest story in Colorado politics would be about a thing that is not happening: Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s obsession with “furries” in schools.

We also did not expect that during the first week of October, former Republican Senate candidate Ron Hanksthe man who won topline on the Primary ballot at the State Republican Party Assembly — would be endorsing anyone other than the official GOP nominee for U.S. Senate.

But that is what happened today. Hanks released this two page letter endorsing Libertarian candidate Brian Peotter for U.S. Senate instead of Republican candidate Joe O’Dea.

Hanks is apparently still pretty salty about losing the Republican nomination to O’Dea in June. He writes:

Next month, I will vote for Libertarian Brian Peotter for US Senate, and I encourage all Colorado Conservatives to do the same.

The reasons are clear: Brian Peotter is the only conservative on the ballot for US Senate. The COGOP’s candidate in the race has no grounding in conservative positions, nor any proven interest in supporting them.

Foremost among conservative principles is protecting the unborn. Libertarian Brian Peotter is Pro-Life. The COGOP’s candidate, Joe O’Dea, pretends to be, but he supports murderous abortion before 20 weeks of gestation. To O’Dea, apparently, some murders in the womb are acceptable, depending on the calendar. [Pols emphasis]

Libertarian Brian Peotter is a fiscal conservative. He believes the Biden Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Bill are inflationary. The COGOP’s candidate O’Dea has no such clarity: He has declared one inflationary, but not the other. Such cloudy logic becomes clearer when we learn he and his core supporters have become wealthy from government contracts.

“For U.S. Senate in 2022, Libertarian Brian Peotter is and ought to be the choice of all Colorado Conservatives.”

Ron Hanks, 10/5/22


Hanks also has some specific bones to pick with O’Dea that go back to last Spring’s Primary battle:

On abortion and other issues, Libertarian Brian Peotter is vastly more conservative than this “pay-to-play” fake Republican who bought his way on to the ballot, skipping the traditional caucus and assembly process, avoiding Republican voters by paying for petition signatures.

Avoiding the state assembly was not merely political cowardice. It was a deliberate strategy to hide his true political views from Republican voters. When O’Dea’s liberal positions were revealed, many in the so-called conservative media were surprised, and some have since declared him unsupportable. [Pols emphasis]

Hanks says that O’Dea has a “near-zero chance of being elected” and adds, “Only his campaign has declared the race close – a cynical effort to attract donations and reduce the personal costs of losing big.” On this, at least, we agree.

Maybe Joe O’Dea Can…Nope, Nevermind

UPDATE: As The Washington Post reports in a story about Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker:

With polls showing Republican candidates underperforming the fundamentals in several key Senate races, Walker — for all his previous problems, which were many — hasn’t lagged as badly as some. And just two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) named Georgia and Nevada as the GOP’s best pickup opportunities, apparently over others in Arizona, Colorado and New Hampshire. [Pols emphasisi]



Joe O'Dea

GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea

One of the most persistent — and bizarre — storylines this fall has been the steady stream of national publications writing about Colorado’s U.S. Senate race as though it just might be an opportunity for Republicans to pick up a Senate seat.

Multiple national outlets, from The Washington Post to The New York Times, have published stories in recent months considering whether the underfunded and little-known Republican Joe O’Dea could knock off incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in November. Every single one of these stories follow the same basic script:

  1. Republicans think O’Dea could upset Bennet in 2022;
  2. Here are a few quotes from Republicans saying that O’Dea could beat Bennet;
  3. O’Dea has some different positions on abortion and Donald Trump (sort of);
  4. Here are some quotes from Democrats saying that O’Dea will NOT beat Bennet;
  5. Bennet is way ahead of O’Dea in fundraising and polling numbers;
  6. Nevermind our original premise because Bennet will probably win.

It’s uncanny, and it’s as pointless as responding to one of those spam text messages that just says, “Hi.”

The latest national reporter to embark on this paint-by-numbers journey is Caroline Vakil of The Hill newspaper:

Republicans are hoping Colorado Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s move to distance himself from the more extreme elements of the party will help them pull off a win in what could be a potential sleeper race come November.

O’Dea, a construction company executive running to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), has expressed support for some abortion rights while also bucking his party by suggesting former President Trump shouldn’t run in 2024.

Republicans argue that by branding himself as a moderate, O’Dea will appeal to critical voting blocs in the state, like independents and Hispanic voters, even if some in the party acknowledge he likely faces an uphill climb.

“I think that those same unaffiliated voters that voted so overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in ‘18 and ‘20 are ready to look at Republican candidates in 2022. And I think Joe O’Dea is the perfect kind of candidate to appeal to them,” said Dick Wadhams, a former state GOP chair. [Pols emphasis]

This quote from former Republican State Party Chair Dick Wadhams is perfectly emblematic of the kind of response that national publications include in their stories about Colorado’s Senate race. Wadhams is quoted because he presumably knows what he’s talking about after spending 400 years in Republican politics, although the last time Wadhams was involved in a winning scenario for the GOP was when Wayne Allard was a U.S. Senator.

If you’re asking yourself, “Who in the hell is Wayne Allard,” then you’re getting what we’re putting down here.

Democrats have absolutely CRUSHED Republicans in Colorado in the last two election cycles, but Wadhams says things will be different in 2022 because…um…well…


Darryl Glenn was a called a “unicorn,” too.

This is all the same fact-free punditry from the same Republicans who keep losing big races in Colorado year after year after year. For example, Axios published a story about O’Dea this summer calling him a political “unicorn,” which is the same thing that some pundits said about Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn when he was running against Bennet in 2016.

There’s absolutely no logical reason to suspect that 2022 will be different for Republicans than 2018 and 2020, particularly when they are running the same program again and again. We learned today, for example, that former Republican President George W. Bush will host a fundraiser for O’Dea later this month. In 2018, Bush showed up in Colorado in October to raise money for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, who went on to lose to Democrat Jared Polis by nearly 11 points. Bush isn’t even going to bother coming to Colorado for O’Dea; that fundraiser will be held in his home state of Texas.

In fact, there’s more reason to believe that 2022 might actually be WORSE for Colorado Republicans than it has been in recent cycles. The GOP’s top-ticket candidate, gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, is a complete lunatic whose campaign somehow gets worse the closer we get to Election Day and threatens to drag other Republicans down with it. Even Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert could be in trouble in November, and CO-03 is a district that last elected a Democrat in 2008.

Ganahl isn’t getting any financial help from national Republicans, and neither is O’Dea; the top two Republican campaigns in Colorado are running on fumes. Republicans are pouring millions of dollars into states like Georgia (for Herschel Walker) and Pennsylvania (for Dr. Oz), both of which have terribly-flawed Senate candidates but are still considered more winnable than Colorado. This is the most telling stat of all: National Republicans have spent all of about $100,000 on O’Dea; they’ll spend more than that in Georgia today.

Again, none of these national stories about O’Dea have translated to an increase in support, because nobody actually believes that O’Dea has much of a chance. Polling consistently shows Bennet with an 8-10 point lead, and the incumbent Democrat has outraised O’Dea by orders of magnitude. O’Dea’s campaign has, for several weeks, been buying television ad time on a weekly and sometimes daily basis because it doesn’t have the resources to do anything else.

Thus, The Hill ends up right where all of the other national publications land: In reality.

Indeed, Colorado has not been particularly kind to Republican candidates in recent years. Hillary Clinton won the state against former President Trump by roughly 5 percentage points in 2016, and President Biden won it in 2020 by more than 13 percentage points.

The last time Republicans won a Senate seat in the Centennial State was back in 2014, when Cory Gardner ousted Sen. Mark Udall (D). Gardner later lost reelection to Sen. John Hickenlooper (D) in 2020…

While Democrats — and even some Republicans — believe that Bennet will ultimately prevail in November, they note the political headwinds their party still faces. [Pols emphasis]

Taking a dozen different positions on abortion rights or supporting Trump makes O’Dea different than some other GOP candidates, but it doesn’t make him any better.

All of these national stories start out with an interesting premise but end up with the same inevitable conclusion. In that way, at least, they have captured the true essence of O’Dea’s campaign for Senate.

“Different Kind of Republican” Joe O’Dea Turns To…Dubya?!

Former President George Dubya Bush (R).

NBC News reports on the latest bob and weave in Colorado GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s downward-trending campaign–having run as fast as he could away from Donald Trump’s locally toxic brand without completely alienating the Republican base, O’Dea is turning to Trump’s Republican predecessor, former President George W. Bush, for support in the coming weeks:

Former President George W. Bush is making a rare appearance on the campaign trail, participating in a fundraiser with Colorado Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea in about two weeks.

The event, shared first with NBC News, is another sign that Bush is aligning himself with candidates who have bucked former President Donald Trump. Earlier in this election cycle, Bush held fundraisers for Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp and Wyoming GOP Gov. Liz Cheney ahead of their primaries against Trump-backed challengers…

The fundraiser will further bolster O’Dea’s campaign coffers after a strong fundraising quarter. O’Dea’s campaign raised $3 million from July through September, which includes a $1 million loan from O’Dea himself.

Halcyon days of yore.

That’s not nearly enough compared to the $5 million incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is expected to report for the same period–presumably without a million dollars out of pocket. In fact, in that context it’s kind of silly to call O’Dea’s quarter “strong” at all–but that’s not the purpose of our discussion today.

Think for a moment about what it means for a Republican looking to put distance between themselves and Trump’s Republican Party to embrace who was previous to Trump the least popular Republican President since at least Richard Nixon, George W. Bush–the man who ended forever Republicans’ regard for the popular vote, invaded the wrong country after the worst terrorist attack in American history occurred on his watch, and plunged the nation into (at that time) the worst recession since the 1930s.

After O’Dea’s East Coast tour to kiss the ring of Mitch McConnell and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman Rick Scott, followed by in-state appearances with partisan Republican lightning rods like Sen. Tom Cotton, O’Dea’s “post-partisan” branding took a major hit. The Bushes and the Trumps may not like each other, but the idea that former President Bush would be helpful to Joe O’Dea winning a statewide race in Colorado is only slightly misguided than inviting Trump himself.

Only a small group of Republicans fully immersed in the GOP’s internal struggles can’t see this.

The GMS Podcast: Crazier Than a Bag of Squirrels

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what in the holy hell is wrong with Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and her obsession with furries.

Later, we talk about GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and his definition of “Chickeenos”; the weird maybe-not-a-coincidence campaign strategy that many Republicans across the country seem to be following; and the strangest part of former President Donald Trump’s de-classification explanation (it’s not what you think).

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Joe O’Dea, Like Trump, Says Media Treats Him “Unfairly”

Joe O’Dea has the sads

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea is well on his way to being defeated by incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November. A new bipartisan poll released on Friday from Keating Research and Magellan Strategies shows Bennet leading O’Dea 46-36, which tracks with what we’ve seen from most public polling in recent months.

O’Dea may be going down, but he’s not going to go down without a fight…and by “fight” we mean “whining about the media just like former President Donald Trump.”

O’Dea was a guest on the “Craig Silverman Podcast” on Oct. 1, 2022 when the discussion got around to O’Dea’s belief that he isn’t afraid to “answer the tough questions.” Then O’Dea complained about media outlets — specifically Kyle Clark and Marshall Zelinger of 9News — being unfair to him when he responds to “tough questions” with terrible answers.


O’DEA: I like answering the tough questions. [Pols emphasis] I gotta tell you [Bennet has] only agreed to one debate. It’s the 28th of October, as you know, the Blitz dropped some time to 17th. So half the ballots will probably be turned in and that’s the only debate he’s agreed to. And it’s with 9News, so we’ll have to debate them both. It’ll be Bennet and Kyle Clark now.


SILVERMAN: Now, wait a second. Kyle was a guest of mine on episode 100 and if you watch his show, I don’t know if you do or if you don’t. But he offers criticism of Democrats when they screw up. And you don’t think Kyle Clark and Marshall Zelinger can be fair to you? 


O’DEA: Well they haven’t been to me so far. I did a 20 minute interview, and Kyle edited it to show some slips that I had and took them totally out of context. He’s not been fair with me. I’ve been fair with him. He comes after me every time he turns around, and I haven’t seen him be fair with any of the Republicans here this year. He’s, uh, in my opinion, he’s an activist. But you know,  that’s his role, I guess. I don’t feel like I’m getting treated fairly from him whenever I talk to him. So. And that’s my own personal feelings. But people like to watch his show. I understand. [Pols emphasis]

O’Dea is talking about this interview from early September in which he answered some very obvious questions with some very terrible answers. This is the interview in which O’Dea was asked about his position on abortion rights, and he responded with this:

Here’s the deal. I’m going to the Senate to negotiate a good bill that brings balance to women’s rights. 

That is a really, really, really bad answer. But apparently in O’Dea’s mind, this is somehow Kyle Clark’s fault. This interview was not replayed everywhere because Clark asked new questions that nobody had ever considered before; it went viral because of what O’Dea said himself.

[We’re continually baffled why Republican candidates — including gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — continue to attack the most-watched news station in Colorado, but that’s a subject for another time.]

O’Dea’s whiny nonsense sounds quite familiar. In fact, it sounds a lot like former President Donald Trump. Here’s Trump on May 17, 2017, delivering the commencement speech to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy:


TRUMP: Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

Well, that was before Joe O’Dea was asked questions by journalists at 9News! It’s hard for anyone to take O’Dea seriously when he talks about holding Democrats and Bennet accountable but then won’t even hold himself accountable for his own dumb words. 

There is one more clip from O’Dea’s interview with Silverman that deserves attention:


SILVERMAN: I’m worried about the world moving toward bigotry and fascism Joe O’Dea and I need people in the Republican Party to stop that. Would you be that guy?

O’DEA: I’m that guy. Craig, I gotta tell you my wife is, her grandfather immigrated from Mexico. The Hispanic community is part of my family. I don’t have time for bigotry, for anything. I like to judge people based on their work ethic, on their character. I don’t see color. [Pols emphasis]


The phrase “I don’t see color” is a close relative of the phrase “I’m not racist, but…” It is one of those phrases that most people — especially white people — generally don’t say anymore (thank goodness). Telling someone “I don’t see color” is sort of like saying you can’t be racist because you have a Black friend (or because you went to a wedding in China). When you say, “I don’t see color,” what you are really doing is downplaying the importance of cultural and ethnic differences, because OF COURSE you see color; everyone does.

As documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter wrote years ago in Reader’s Digest:

When you say I don’t see color, you are not doing me a favor. It’s as if you are telling me my brown skin is something you have to work to look past, to excuse even, in order to see my humanity. I want you to see my color as much as I want you to notice anything else about me.

Joe O’Dea doesn’t seem to be a terrible guy, but it’s been more than obvious throughout his campaign that he just hasn’t put a lot of thought into critically-important issues such as abortion rights and race relations. If you haven’t thought about these things, then you have no business being a U.S. Senator. And again, these are all O’Dea’s own words — nobody forced him to say these things.

Voters in Colorado generally don’t find it charming when candidates can’t take responsibility for their own mistakes and don’t take the time to be able to provide thoughtful answers on important topics. O’Dea thinks there is some meaning to regularly saying, “I’m not a politician,” which is a silly excuse to make when you are literally running for office (and, thus, being a politician).

When you say dumb things, you should expect a critical response. If you’re surprised by that, or if you blame someone else for that response, then you should definitely be doing something else with your life than running for public office.

Joe O’Dea Can’t Walk Away From Proposition 115

Joe O’Dea.

After successfully navigating the Republican U.S. Senate primary with an ambiguous and sometimes often contradictory message on abortion rights, Joe O’Dea stumbled definitively on the issue in August when he announced to a friendly conservative audience unbidden that he had voted for 2020’s Proposition 115: a 22-week abortion ban that made no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and severely restricted maternal health as a justification after that deadline. Proposition 115 failed at the polls in 2020 by nearly a 20-point margin, reaffirming Colorado’s support for medical abortion rights without political second-guessing.

Because Proposition 115’s restrictions on abortion were in obvious conflict with the now-reversed Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision establishing federal abortion rights, would-be “Roe supporter” O’Dea was quickly forced to backpedal his support for the measure, saying “I didn’t look at all the nuances,” and more recently “I didn’t write that bill” to sidestep questions about support for a measure that by any honest analysis makes a liar of him.

And as the Colorado’s Sun’s Jesse Paul and Sandra Fish report today in the Unaffiliated newsletter:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea didn’t just vote for a 2020 ballot measure that would have banned abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy. He signed a petition to get Proposition 115 on the ballot that year.

O’Dea signed the petition on Feb. 26, 2020, according to documents from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office that The Colorado Sun reviewed on Thursday.

His signature was the first below an explanation of what Proposition 115 would do: [Pols emphasis] “prohibiting an abortion when the probably gestational age of the fetus is at least 22 weeks and, in connection therewith, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine to perform or attempt to perform a prohibited abortion, except when the abortion is immediately required to save the life of the pregnant woman or when her life is physically threatened.”


The revelation further complicates O’Dea’s portrayal of himself as an abortion-rights Republican.

O’Dea admitted under pressure that he “didn’t look at all the nuances” of Proposition 115. But that was never followed up by a clear statement that his vote for Proposition 115 was therefore a mistake. As a signer of the petition to put Proposition 115 on the ballot, O’Dea literally had the “nuances” of Proposition 115 on paper to read in front of him–and he signed it anyway. At that moment, pleading ignorance was no longer an option.

This is not a mistake that Joe O’Dea can just ride out until Election Day. Proposition 115 is fresh enough in the minds of Colorado voters that they still remember clearly voting it down. With abortion rights at the top of voters’ minds going into this year’s elections thanks to Roe’s repeal, the long-sought goal of O’Dea’s party, O’Dea’s promise to “bring balance to women’s rights” comes across like a threat instead.

On November 8th, it’s shaping up to become O’Dea’s political epitaph.

Nothing Says “Different Kind of Republican” Like…Karl Rove?

Republican Prince of Darkness Karl Rove.

Since winning the Republican primary on June 28th, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has publicly aligned himself with a number of notably unpopular national Republican figures, inexplicably undermining O’Dea’s attempts to distance himself from the Republican brand in a state that has been increasingly hostile to Republicans for several election cycles. As low-quality Republican Senate candidates in other states have endangered more winnable races than Colorado’s, O’Dea’s importance to Republicans hoping to retake the U.S. Senate has magnified–though the candidate hasn’t moved the needle to match that heightened importance.

Mitch McConnell declared national Republicans “all in” for O’Dea, but in terms of actual spending on the race that has almost entirely failed to manifest. Subsequently, O’Dea has brought a number of high-profile Republican usual suspects to Colorado to campaign with him, including Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton–the latter being a particularly unappealing far-right demagogue, highly contrary to the “post-partisan” image O’Dea is trying to project.

But if McConnell and Cotton are your groove, you’ll love O’Dea’s next special guest:

The only possible saving grace for having early-aughts Republican political mastermind Karl Rove campaign for O’Dea is that some younger voters might not remember him. For all of us who were around to remember, Rove is second only to the infamous Lee Atwater himself in the annals of Republican political villainy. It is only perhaps after the perspective of living through Donald Trump that Rove masterminding the rise of former President George W. Bush might not be considered the political crime of the century.

Just like Mitch McConnell, Karl Rove is “all in” for Joe O’Dea!

All we can say is, Michael Bennet approves this message.

Which Way is Down? Republicans Follow Each Other

Take a look at the following quotes and see if any of them sound familiar. We’ll number each quote to make it easier to check your answers later.


1) “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”


2) “She’s running an aggressive and low-budget campaign for school board, but she happens to be running for governor.”


3) “Isn’t that sad that Democrats have to spend so much money?…We don’t need as much money as [our opponent] needs because our message is better.”


4) “Winning elections is not about having a lot of money. It’s about having enough money.”


Any one of these quotes could be referencing Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. Some of them could even apply to the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea. In truth, none of them are even about Colorado. 

Quote #1 is about Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania.

Quote #2 is about Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon in Michigan.

Quote #3 is Tudor Dixon herself. 

Quote #4 is from Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for Governor in Maryland. 

There is a clear theme emerging across the country for Republican candidates running for top-tier statewide offices. These candidates all rely on extreme, divisive rhetoric but have proven to be incapable or uninterested in raising the kind of money that is necessary to get their message out to a majority of voters. 

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, Republicans are struggling to compete with their Democratic opponents when it comes to both money and exposure to voters:

Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries.

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, the R.G.A.’s co-chairman, was asked about whether he views Mr. Mastriano as a viable candidate during a question-and-answer session this month at Georgetown University.

“We don’t fund lost causes and we don’t fund landslides,” Mr. Ducey said. “You have to show us something, you have to demonstrate that you can move numbers and you can raise resources.”

Trump has not endorsed Ganahl or O’Dea, but the story is similar in Colorado. O’Dea has been running television ads for several weeks, but his campaign has recently been buying ad time on a day-to-day basis and has no television presence on network TV (O’Dea’s ads are only available on cable television). Ganahl hasn’t run a single television ad, which puts her in the same position as Republican candidates for Governor in Illinois (Darren Bailey), Massachusetts (Geoff Diehl), Maryland (Cox), and Pennsylvania (Mastriano).

As The Denver Post reported a few weeks ago, it’s not just Ganahl who is struggling to find enough money to reach out to voters in Colorado: None of the statewide Republican candidates (for Attorney General, State Treasurer, or Secretary of State) have the resources to do much more than complain on social media. This has been an issue for Colorado Republicans throughout the 2022 election cycle.

But Governor is a much more important office, and here Ganahl’s financial problems mirror Republicans in other states. At the end of August in Maryland, Dan Cox had been outraised by Democrat Wes Moore by a 10-to-1 margin, ending the fundraising period with all of $130,000 in the bank. Ganahl concluded the fundraising period that ended on Sept. 6 with $188,000 cash-on-hand.  

The similarities with many of these MAGA Republicans make their campaign strategies look oddly intentional. Take a look at what Chris Cillizza of CNN recently wrote about Mastriano in Pennsylvania:

Mastriano is running one of the most unorthodox campaigns ever in such a high-profile race. He has not run a single television ad in the general election. He doesn’t do interviews with mainstream media, choosing instead to deal with conservative media outlets.

Got your thumb! Wait, that’s MY thumb

It’s eerie how similar that is to the Ganahl campaign in Colorado. Up until the week before the June 28th Primary Election, Ganahl hadn’t conducted a single interview with a mainstream media outlet anywhere in the state since her Sept. 2021 campaign kickoff. 

It’s not just a lack of fundraising or television advertising where you can find similarities between Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates. The Washington Post recently ran a story wondering if Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey could get elected in Illinois after spending so much of his time and rhetoric bashing Chicago as a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.” 

Sound familiar? It should. Ganahl has spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Denver as some sort of crime-infested hellhole.

Like many MAGA Republican candidates, Ganahl is running essentially the same General Election campaign that she ran ahead of the Primary Election.

“When you have candidates who essentially aren’t helping themselves by staking out either extreme positions or extreme positions on weird issues that only speak to a real core Trump part of the base, it’s not a surprise that there are going to be struggles,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye in a recent interview with The Hill newspaper. 

You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to understand this, so why do Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates continue rushing toward the same brick wall? The fact that this strategy seems to be so prevalent among multiple candidates suggests that it is an intentional incompetence at work – like they are doing this on purpose

If nothing else, what we’re seeing from Republicans in 2022 may be idiocy by osmosis. For example, it makes sense that Joe O’Dea would pick up some strange habits when he spends so much time with MAGA Republicans such as JD Vance (Ohio) and Blake Masters (Arizona). It doesn’t defy logic that this collective weirdness isn’t helping MAGA Republicans get elected.

As GOP pollster Whit Ayres told The Hill newspaper: “People are looking for good judgment and good sense and good decisionmaking out of governors. Anything that casts doubt on the judgment or the common sense of a gubernatorial candidate undermines that candidate’s potential to get elected governor.”

You could say the same thing about candidates for every major political office. Doing the opposite hasn’t been working for Republicans thus far, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to have worked on Nov. 8. 

Perhaps these candidates have adopted an alteration to the infamous Qanon slogan: “Where We Go One, We Go All…to Defeat.” 

O’Dea Promises 1,400% Good Money After Bad “Match”

A fool and his money.

If you’re wondering why the fundraising pitches from political candidates have ramped up dramatically in recent days, it’s because of tomorrow’s critical fundraising deadline. Q3 numbers before an election are an important barometer of real-world competitiveness, and have a way of cutting through campaign bluster and revealing where the races that matter are (and aren’t).

As Roll Call’s Kate Ackley reports, it’s also a time when the fundraising gimmicks can get particularly gimmicky:

It must be near the end of a pivotal fundraising quarter, because Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan is “freaking out.” Colorado’s GOP Senate nominee, Joe O’Dea, is offering to “personally 1,400% MATCH” select campaign donations. [Pols emphasis]

Lawmakers and challengers are planning a fundraising blitz ahead of Friday’s quarterly deadline, the last big one before the November midterms, which are on track to be the priciest nonpresidential cycle yet. The onslaught of appeals includes desperate-sounding emails like the ones from Ryan and O’Dea, as well as more than 100 in-person events planned this week in Washington for members of both parties to raise campaign cash from K Street lobbyists and political action committee donors while Congress is in session.

Colorado GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, as readers know, self-funded his primary campaign. O’Dea’s ability to self-fund in a state that may not in the end be competitive for Republicans was originally seen as an asset, but that presumption has proven crippling to O’Dea by de-prioritizing the race for national GOP funding–and there’s little sign that O’Dea is actually spending to counterbalance the deficiency. With all of that in mind, O’Dea offering a ridiculous “personal match” turning every contributed dollar into 14 could be interpreted as a test by O’Dea to determine how much he should himself keep spending on a race every poll shows him losing.

That would at least be a practical reason to broadcast desperation so loudly.

Joe O’Dea Tries Out Bizarre New Argument

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has offered up so many different positions on important issues that it’s hard to believe that he even knows where he stands at any particular moment. But his latest argument for why Colorado voters should elect him to the U.S. Senate instead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is one of the more absurd efforts we’ve seen in Colorado for a long time.

O’Dea posted a strange Tweet today that includes an embedded video clip from a recent interview with Kyle Clark of 9News — an interview that was plainly a disaster for O’Dea. As far as we can tell, the point of including this clip is so that the O’Dea campaign can make the argument that there’s no harm in electing him to the Senate because he won’t get anything accomplished anyway.

Here’s what Clark says in the clip:

Colorado’s Senate race, where Republican Joe O’Dea supports abortion rights until 20 weeks, highlights what’s at stake with control of the Senate. O’Dea’s campaign says he would not support [Sen. Lindsey] Graham’s 15-week abortion ban. O’Dea recently told NEXT he’ll vote in the Senate to codify [Roe v. Wade].

But he seemed confused when we pointed out that, if he wins and Republicans control the Senate, there will never be such a vote. [Pols emphasis]

[Again: This clip was Tweeted out FROM THE ACCOUNT @ODEAFORCOLORADO. O’Dea’s campaign WANTS you to see this.]

The embedded video then cuts to Clark asking O’Dea about the fact that a Republican-controlled Senate would never hold a vote to codify Roe v. Wade. O’Dea disputes this assertion from Clark without any evidence whatsoever.


What could go wrong?

The only thing we can compare this to is Republican Cory Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign, in which Gardner convinced local media outlets that nothing bad could happen if he was elected because issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage were “settled law” that would never be changed anyway. But even then, Gardner wasn’t quite as direct as O’Dea in making the argument that electing him would be largely pointless.

From a practical perspective, the problem with this narrative is that you don’t NEED 60 votes in the Senate when the Supreme Court is running roughshod over all of these things that were supposedly “settled law.” And since O’Dea has made it clear that he would have voted for all of the same Republican-backed SCOTUS nominees that brought us the end of Roe v. Wade, supporting O’Dea’s Senate bid is far from harmless.

From a strategic perspective, this is all very strange. Is O’Dea’s closing argument really going to be that Colorado voters should send him to the Senate just for the hell of it? This isn’t far off from producing a television ad that encourages Coloradans to flip a coin.

Vote for me, Joe O’Dea!

Or don’t. What do I care?

Here Come the Political Ads!

We are six weeks away from Election Day and three weeks from ballots going out in the mail. This means that top-tier campaigns that plan to use television as a significant part of their advertising strategy are hitting the airwaves with gusto.

Click after the jump to see all the latest television ads running in Colorado, nearly all of which are from Democrats (we’re listing ads from campaigns, not dark money or third-party spots). We’re also not ignoring ads for Republican candidates — there just aren’t many of them to even discuss.

If we missed any new ads, please drop them in the comments section…



Tom Cotton Is Not A Nice Man, Joe O’Dea

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) with Colorado GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

As the Denver Post’s Nick Coltrain reports, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, running on a counter-brand triangulation strategy to minimize the negatives of running as a Republican in a blue-trending state, made another head-scratching move to confound that message by inviting far-right firebrand U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas to campaign with him in Greenwood Village:

Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, is a high-profile surrogate for conservatives who frequently campaigns for like-minded candidates. Having O’Dea serving in the Senate — and part of a Republican majority — would mean strides in beefing up border security, Cotton said…

O’Dea, Cotton and moderator George Brauchler tied border security to the fentanyl crisis, arguing that an overwhelmed border patrol leaves more gaps for cartels to smuggle the opiate into the country.

But as Coltrain fact-checks in real time, which we love and don’t see enough:

A recent study by the libertarian Cato Institute found that more than 90% of fentanyl seizures at the border happen at legal crossing points, not illegal migration routes, and 86% of convicted fentanyl traffickers are U.S. citizens. The study also found a miniscule number of people arrested for illegal border crossing — .02% — had any fentanyl on them whatsoever.

In short, the whole premise of O’Dea’s event with Sen. Cotton is bogus. And that’s as good a segue as any into the background of Sen. Tom Cotton, whose record as one of the most cantankerously partisan and factually indifferent members of the GOP Senate caucus makes him a inexplicable choice to show off to Colorado swing voters. In 2020, Cotton wrote a New York Times op-ed that called for turning the military on racial justice protesters, resulting in backlash and ultimately the resignation of the editorial page editor. Cotton has said that the only problem with the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison is “too many empty beds,” that “waterboarding isn’t torture,” and that “bombing makes us safer.”

Just a few days before his appearance with Joe O’Dea, here’s what Sen. Cotton was up in arms about on Fox News:

Folks, there’s no “supposed” problem with white supremacists in the military. There’s a very real problem, which the Pentagon has acknowledged and is trying to fix. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas’ defensiveness over this unfortunate reality raises some pointed questions.

Perhaps after Joe O’Dea admits to his mistake on fentanyl, he can answer some questions about white supremacy in the military? In both cases it’s O’Dea’s own choices that make these questions relevant. Nobody forced O’Dea to bring one of the Senate’s most truculent partisan combatants to Colorado any more than O’Dea was forced to kiss Mitch McConnell’s ring. While Michael Bennet goes rafting with Mitt Romney, Joe O’Dea trots out partisan usual suspects to frighten voters with known falsehoods.

The contrast could not be plainer.