Oct 15, 2021 - News
Colorado U.S. Senate candidate launches campaign with attack ad
A screenshot from Joe O'Dea's first TV ad in the U.S. Senate race.
Screenshot of O'Dea campaign ad

A newcomer to the U.S. Senate race in Colorado is starting his campaign on the attack against Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

The big picture: Republican Joe O'Dea, a first-time candidate and Denver businessman, is launching a statewide advertising blitz Friday that includes a 30-second TV spot.

  • The ad — shared first with Axios Denver — blasts the Democratic incumbent for voting with "his political party, not Colorado" to support "trillions in debt" and "reckless spending causing runaway inflation."

Why it matters: The early salvo in the 2022 election is designed to separate O'Dea from a large field of Republican candidates, none of whom are top-tier prospects with a winning track record.

  • As a political unknown, O'Dea also wants to grab the attention of influential Republican king-makers in Washington by demonstrating he's a serious challenger.

Details: The campaign — which only began a week ago — is spending more than $100,000 on the TV ad with a heavy emphasis in Denver and Colorado Springs, the campaign says. The buy is spread out over several weeks.

  • Titled "Joe vs. Bennet," the candidate criticizes Bennet for backing the president "100% of the time" and supporting "Biden's surrender in Afghanistan."

Between the lines: The title also hints at how O'Dea plans to emphasize his roots as an everyday guy who built a successful concrete business.

  • Bennet, an Ivy-league educated lawyer, was first appointed to the Senate in 2010 and won two more terms since then. He also ran unsuccessfully for president in 2020.

The intrigue: In 2010, O'Dea donated $500 to Bennet's campaign, the Colorado Sun reports. He's repeatedly given money to Democratic and Republican candidates.

Threat level: Even though the new TV ad hits Bennet, the candidates most threatened are O'Dea's Republican rivals, all of whom are keeping a low-profile for now.

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