In the far-right Epoch Times today, we’re seeing the first of what we expect to become a flood of second-guessing and recrimination among Republicans over the failure of Colorado GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea to gain traction–despite pressure to show strength as Republican prospects in other states dwindle under the weight of even less qualified candidates. O’Dea’s impending defeat, forecast clearly by all but a couple of outlier polls, is part of a broader shift in political winds that may upend the conventional wisdom of the party in power losing support in midterm elections.
Despite running a triangulation campaign to distance himself from the locally unpopular Republican brand, O’Dea’s campaign has done pretty well at enforcing message discipline among fellow Republicans, Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown’s ill-timed outbursts against abortion rights being a notable exception. But with only seven weeks left until Election Day and O’Dea showing no signs of competitiveness, the hard questions couldn’t be held off forever:
As Republican Joe O’Dea hopes to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen. Michael Bennett [sic-Pols] in Colorado’s race in November, some GOP observers are pointing the finger at Washington and others at the O’Dea campaign for the GOP’s election struggles in the Rocky Mountain state…
[I]n interviews with The Epoch Times, GOP insiders have complained about either the lack of financial support coming from Washington for the O’Dea campaign, or have claimed that the campaign lacks the requisite grassroots support to win.
“I don’t think he’s getting enough support from national interests, whether we’re talking about the NRSC, the RNC or whatever national group that normally supports Republicans,” [Ryan Lynch of Polstar Strategies] said.
It’s no secret that despite lip service paid by Mitch McConnell to being “all in” for Joe O’Dea, that hasn’t resulted in actual spending to help O’Dea while Republicans continue to make large investments in higher priority states like Arizona and Georgia. O’Dea has been on an East Coast ring-kissing tour in the last week in a desperate attempt to convince national donors that his campaign is worth spending money on–but polls like today’s Fox 31/Emerson survey showing O’Dea losing by ten points undercut any pitch O’Dea can make.
And then the Epoch Times handed the microphone to O’Dea’s vanquished primary opponent:
O’Dea, says his former GOP Senate opponent, is trying to rely on a third party to rescue him when the candidate’s own party doesn’t like his political positions or the people who represent his campaign.
“Conservatives are feeling as though they’ve been sold out by Washington,” said Colorado State Rep. Ron Hanks, who lost to O’Dea by ten points in an open primary this year where voters of any party could participate.
“Grassroots and conservative Republicans that care about real issues, were sold out by Joe O’Dea and his campaign team that he brought in who were fronts for Liz Cheney [Republicans],” said Hanks.
Here in Colorado, soon-to-be ex-Rep. Ron Hanks has generally been discredited after Hanks baselessly claimed fraud in his defeat by O’Dea in the June 28th primary. But just as we saw with FOX News’ Tucker Carlson’s feature story making a hero out of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, all it takes is a fresh audience who doesn’t know any better to rehabilitate a would-be pariah. And as much as O’Dea doesn’t want to admit it, Hanks is right: the tradeoff for Republicans with O’Dea was always supposed to be ideology for victory, and O’Dea is now setting himself up to deliver neither.
When the post-mortem begins in September, your campaign is pretty much over.
Udall did not.
O'Dea does not.
I just don’t see a GOP candidate winning a statewide race here for a while. The damage to the brand is severe and ongoing.
I somewhat agree with you. Statewide political power for the next few years is the Dems to lose, not the Rs to gain.
O'Dea is probably a reasonable guy. But he's caught between his own opinions and the MAGA & hard-core evangelical base of the party in Colorado. As long as an R statewide candidate has to pander to that 15% or 20% of the electorate, as Pam Anderson also is doing, there isn't a pathway forward to attract either the common sense conservatives or the unaffiliated voters.
We'll see … but I think the "Republicans 'R' Revolting" movements are going to complicate things.
The trend for the past few years has been Unaffiliated voter registrations grow, Democrats maintain numbers and slowly lose proportional strength, and Republicans lose numbers and proportional strength. At the end of September 2021, there were 1,000,902 active Republicans. At the beginning of September 2022, there were 932,520.
I'm not certain which side ought to be considered the entrenched "power" and which is the "rebellion," but the conflict has escalated beyond occasional sniping or small group sorties into, at least, an on-going battle between two organized forces in different uniforms.
In the 2010 Census reapportioned CO-3, Republican margins went from 12.3 (beating an incumbent), to 22.3 in 2014, 14.3 in 2016, 7.9 in 2018, 6.2 in 2020 (with no incumbent). 2020 Census reapportionment bumped the Republican "lean" by 3 points — with that boost, personal incumbency, and the midterm "incumbent Presidential party loses votes & seats," I expect Boebert may get a 6 or 7 point win. And unless something dramatically good happens for Republicans, their power in the district will continue to shrink.