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October 10, 2022 11:49 AM UTC

National Republicans Toss a Few Bucks at O'Dea

  • by: Colorado Pols
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.


5 thoughts on “National Republicans Toss a Few Bucks at O’Dea

  1. Wasn't one of the reasons to nominate O'Dea was because he was rich and could self-finance, leaving Mitch McConnell and Pete Thiel to waste their money on J.D. Vance, Blake Masters and Hershel Walker?

  2. If McConnell loses the chance to be Majority leader this year, my speculation is he will not be the one telling any prospective Senate candidate in Colorado anything in 3 years, when the next Senate race is pulling candidates into the contest.  Losing TWO chances to be majority leader due to truly awful candidates (Where is Christine O'Donnell, and is she still insisting she is not a witch?) would be enough to make any group of Republicans hesitant to entrust their next couple of rounds of campaigning to such a "leader."  Losing AND being on the outs with DJT, the former *resident, seems almost certain to say it is time for a change in leadership.  McConnell may be the next Charles Grassley, continuing to win time after time after (well-past) time — but entrusting the future of the Senate Republicans to his leadership would seem unlikely.

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