Bennet defeats O'Dea to win re-election in Colorado Senate race
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet pushed back against Republican momentum nationwide in the midterms, defeating GOP rival Joe O'Dea in Colorado, the Associated Press reported.
Why it matters: President Biden and other top party leaders traveled to Colorado to shore up support for the two-term lawmaker.
State of play: Bennet stuck close to the Biden and Democratic Party playbook, making access to abortion the leading issue in the race.
- Likewise, he touted his work with the White House to deliver big-dollar projects for Colorado, including the infrastructure package and Inflation Reduction Act.
The other side: O'Dea, a first-time candidate, ran as a self-described moderate who would buck his party, a proven model in Colorado that didn't work again.
- He tried to walk a middle line on abortion with his daughter saying in a campaign commercial that her father "supports a woman's right to choose."
- But O'Dea later acknowledged he backed a previous Colorado ballot measure to prohibit abortions after 22 weeks, and he now backs a ban at 20 weeks.
Of note: The GOP candidate distanced himself from Donald Trump — drawing the ire of the former president, who called O'Dea a "Republican in name only" and urged supporters not to vote for him.
- State Rep. Ron Hanks — O'Dea's opponent in the Republican primary — similarly trashed the party's nominee and instead urged people to vote for the libertarian candidate.
- But the party's big names — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sens. Rick Scott and Tim Scott and George W. Bush — all rallied to O'Dea's campaign.
Between the lines: A big wave of Democratic outside spending helped push Bennet to victory. Democratic allies poured roughly $16 million into the effort to boost Bennet and attack O'Dea, according to the Colorado Sun.
- The total is more than double the roughly $7 million Republicans spent, in part because the party's main arm blew through its campaign cash and directed it to states other than Colorado.