The Colorado Senate race hits Washington’s radar as Senate Republicans see the state in play in November.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made an unexpected visit to a fundraiser for GOP candidate Joe O’Dea in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
“I just want to assure everybody, we’re going to be all-in in Colorado,” McConnell told the assembled crowd, according to an attendee, Axios reported. McConnell reportedly said O’Dea is “the perfect candidate for the nature of your state,” noting, ”We think we can win this race.”
“I wanted to dispel any notion that you may have that we’re not going to play in Colorado,” he said.
Biden won Colorado by more than 13 points in 2020, but as the outlet pointed out, Sen. Cory Gardner, the last Republican to win a Senate seat there, was a surprise win in 2014 during a red wave. Axios reported that Republicans see that victory as a model for O’Dea, noting that other states like Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania could be uphill battles for the GOP, and Colorado might be the place to boost the party’s chances of securing a majority in the Senate.
O’Dea has made the point that more moderate candidates are needed. “We need candidates that can win in Colorado. If you’re so far to the right that you can’t win a purple state, that’s a non-starter,” he has said.
The businessman could be popular among moderates due, in part, to his stance on abortion. He has said he is against the procedure in late pregnancy, does not support taxpayer funding of abortion, and has stated that the choice to end a pregnancy “should be left up to the woman and her doctor early on in a pregnancy or in cases of rape, incest or medical reasons.”
Democrats poured millions into the Colorado Republican primary, hoping that state Sen. Ron Hanks, who was perceived as more conservative, would be the GOP candidate resulting in an easy win for incumbent Senator Michael Bennet. But they failed to do so. After O’Dea won the primary, CQ Roll Call analyst Nathan L. Gonzales shifted the race from “Solid Democrat” to “Likely Democrat,” stating that O’Dea is a “credible challenger.”
“Not only did Democrats not pull Hanks across the finish line, but O’Dea looks more moderate after Democratic spending that painted Hanks as the true conservative in the GOP race,” Gonzales wrote.
According to the FiveThirtyEight midterms forecast, Republicans have an 80% chance of getting between 47 and 54 seats in the Senate, and a 52% chance of taking the majority in the chamber. The site also ranks Colorado as a likely Democrat race, projecting that Bennet has an 86% chance of winning as of Thursday.
O’Dea recently entered into the foreign policy arena, as well, calling Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “one of the worst American foreign policy debacles in modern history.”
He pointed out that “Bennet sits on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and still supported Biden every step of the way. He received the intelligence reports, he should have been aware it would be a failure. Bennet’s support for the withdrawal is part of a disturbing pattern of total allegiance to Joe Biden.”