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:
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.