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November 04, 2022 08:45 AM UTC

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

  • by: Colorado Pols

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.


4 thoughts on “Joe O’Dea Courts Dozens of Voters in Final Days of Campaign

  1. Too bad Shooters Grill is closed otherwise he could have gotten a huge food poisoning memento.  It would be interesting to know where Bennet is campaigning if anywhere.  He's probably stumping for down ballot candidates like Polis is doing with Roberts.  Polis and Roberts did a whistle stop in Gilpin on Wednesday.  After Polis spoke, the crowd treated him like a rock star wanting to get selfies with him.  Of all his opponents over the years, winning this race against this nincompoop is going to be most satisfying.

  2. I went to Rib City in Fruita with 7 other guys after a big day MTBing.  We were famished and basically ordered platters of all of their meats that we would all share.  Not one type of meat didn't suffer from some unforgivable offense of sensible BBQ (bone dry, tasteless, greatly over salted, mushy). To a man today if asked what is the worst BBQ you've ever had, "Rib City.".

    So on brand in this situation. Might as well pour a perfectly good beer over ice.

  3. Far righties on Yahoo are jumping with joy at the latest Cahaly/Trafalgar poll showing O'Dea within two points of Bennet. It pained me to "burst their bubble."

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