Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) has gone on the offensive against Joe O’Dea, his Republican opponent in Colorado’s Senate race.
A May 19 news release from the Hanks campaign claims, “O’Dea moved much farther to the left by stating on air that not only does he refuse to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, ‘I would probably vote to codify it, along with Casey,’ into federal law.”
Hanks’s news release cites O’Dea’s recent appearances on Jimmy Sengenberger’s and George Brauchler’s KNUS radio programs, where he told Brauchler, “I couldn’t support putting limits on women earlier in the pregnancy. That’s between them and their doctor,” adding that “I think I’m like most of the country right now; there’s got to be, you know, some common sense.”
O’Dea has repeatedly claimed that his campaign is not about social issues, but in the current hyper-partisan atmosphere of Republican politics in Colorado, being viewed as “soft” on abortion could be a death knell for businessman O’Dea.
“Joe O’Dea is now, not only running as a pro-abortion candidate in a Republican primary, he’s siding with the radical Democrat lobby set on taking away states’ rights on the issue,” the Hanks release states. “O’Dea’s pro-abortion position defies the Republican National Committee’s and the Colorado GOP’s pro-life platform.”
In 2016 and 2018, Republican candidates in Colorado who showed mild pro-choice leanings failed to gain much support. And the party has moved to the right since then.
In 2018, Cynthia Coffman ran for Colorado governor and said Roe was “settled law” and abortion should be “rare” and “safe.” And even though she had a history of anti-abortion actions, she was trounced in the GOP primary. Her stances on social issues were sticking points with GOP voters.
In 2016, former state Sen. Ellen Roberts, considered a promising prospect to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), quickly dropped out after being attacked for contradictory stances on abortion emerged.
In his news release, Hanks quotes FEC United-affiliated Pastor Garret Graupner of Fervent Church.
“At first O’Dea was double talking, trying to keep Republican voters from finding out he wasn’t a social conservative,” said Graupner in the release. “He doesn’t get to support abortion industry policies and still call himself a conservative Republican. O’Dea’s public statements saying he would vote for Roe are jarring to pro-life voters, and that reaffirms my decision to back Hanks.”
In fact, last month, O’Dea sounded as if he wasn’t going to discuss Roe at all, inaccurately stating that abortion was legal before the 1973 Roe ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Abortion was legal long before your grandstanding bill this year and even before Roe,” O’Dea said in an April 24 tweet. “You go ahead and run Mark Udall’s campaign. I’m focusing on inflation, crime, & Biden’s soft foreign policy. That’s why I’m running, not social issues.”
“This Grassroots campaign is about the silent majority voting to return this country to our traditional American roots, without the compromise of Liberty on social issues or mindless compromise with socialism,” said Hanks in the news release.
Hanks and O’Dea will face off in the Republican primary on June 28, and the winner will face incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).
“Every election that I’ve run has been a tough election,” said Bennet during his appearance at a recent El Paso County Democratic Party fundraiser. “The first time I ran was in 2010, which was a terrible year for Democrats and we managed to survive that year. I think that I’ve got a very solid record for Colorado and I’m looking forward to this general election. I think it’s going to be a tough year, there’s no question about it, but I think if we do the work that everybody in that room is committed to doing, we knock on the doors and we make calls and we show up for the sake of our democracy, I think we’ll prevail. For me, it’s not as much about the candidates as it is about our democracy. I believe in democracy and I think it’s at risk.”