May 23, 2022 - News

Republicans diverge in Colorado's U.S. Senate primary

Illustration of top, middle and bottom views of three elephants, making up an image of one elephant and cycling through the different parts.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Colorado is forecast to have one of the most competitive U.S. Senate races in the 2022 midterm elections.

  • Yes, but: Whether that holds true depends on how Republicans play their cards.

State of play: Two candidates are competing for the party's nomination in the June 28 primary β€” in a mere two weeks.

  • Ron Hanks, a first-term state lawmaker, is a three-decade military veteran centering his campaign on the conspiracy theory that former President Trump won the 2020 election.
  • Joe O'Dea, a first-time candidate, is a wealthy businessman who runs a construction company and owns two entertainment venues in Denver. He's campaigning as the more practical moderate.

Zoom in: The two contenders met in a debate Saturday in which their differences became clear, CPR reports.

On abortion, Hanks and O'Dea opposed the new law guaranteeing access to the procedure in Colorado with important nuances.

  • Hanks says he opposes all abortion, at any point in the term and for any reason.
  • O'Dea says abortion should be legal in some cases, including rape and incest, but opposes the procedure in the third-trimester.

On messaging, the two candidates are speaking different languages.

  • Hanks believes his positions β€” which include opposition to mail-ballot voting and machine ballot counts β€” will win over voters because they illustrate his conviction.
  • O'Dea says the party should focus on increasing crime rates and inflation, and seek to blame Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet for the current direction of the country.
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