Colorado senate results: Michael Bennet vs. Joe O’Dea

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet won his reelection bid Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press, setting him up to be one of the longest-serving senators in the state’s history.

As of about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Bennet led Republican candidate Joe O’Dea with 801,025 votes to 591,434. About 1.4 million had been tallied.

The win serves as a reinforcement of Colorado’s trending Democratic tendencies in a year many Republicans hoped would be washed over in a national red wave. While it was too soon to know the partisan makeup of the U.S. Senate Tuesday night, Bennet’s victory gives national Democrats hope of minimizing losses in, if not outright holding, the chamber.

Bennet sought his third full term in the U.S. Senate after being appointed to the seat in 2009. His first victory, in 2010, was a narrow win of less than 2 percentage points, and fewer than 30,000 votes, over now-U.S. Rep. Ken Buck. He extended his 2016 margin to more than 5 percentage points and more than 150,000 votes in a much higher turnout year.

A victory sets him up to be Colorado’s longest-serving elected U.S. senator.

O’Dea is a political newcomer who touted his upbringing as the adopted son of a Denver police officer. He left college early to found a construction company and earned millions as the owner of Concrete Express, Inc. He often described himself as just a contractor.

The economy loomed large for both candidates throughout the race, though in starkly different ways. Bennet routinely opened his campaign stops lambasting an economy that doesn’t work for everyone; O’Dea, meanwhile, laid current economic woes of high inflation and gas prices at the feet of Bennet and President Joe Biden.

The race drew national attention as O’Dea sought to separate himself from Republican orthodoxy. He rejected conspiracy theories around the 2020 presidential election and said he wouldn’t support former President Donald Trump in the 2024 primary (though he’d likely vote for him if he were again the Republican nominee). That brought on a rebuke by the former president, who called O’Dea a Republican in name only.

He won support from others in the GOP wing, including likely presidential hopeful Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former President George W. Bush and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell called O’Dea “the perfect candidate” for winning Colorado.

O’Dea said he’d reject an outright abortion ban, though he is personally pro-life and would vote for a ban on the procedure after about 5 months of pregnancy, with some exceptions. That brought criticism from his own party for not mounting a vigorous opposition.

Democrats sought to stoke those divisions during the Republican primary. A group aligned with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spent more than $4 million on ads that promoted the conservative bonafides of state Rep. Ron Hanks of Cañon City. O’Dea pulled off the primary victory, and his campaign staff passed out a mock newspaper front page with the headline “O’Dea defeats Schumer.”

While O’Dea sought to downplay social issues, like abortion, it became a rallying cry for Bennet. The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — effectively ending the Constitutional right to an abortion and handing it back to the states to regulate. Bennet would describe it as the first loss of a constitutional right in his lifetime, and cause to send him back to serve as a bulwark against a Republican majority.

As the race wound into the summer, Democratic victories in Washington, D.C., became another rallying cry. He touted the Inflation Reduction Act’s limits on health care costs and historic environmental spending; a bill aimed at bolstering domestic microchip manufacturing; and new environmental and water protection initiatives, including bringing Biden to Colorado in October to declare Camp Hale a national landmark and protect hundreds of thousands of Colorado public lands.

Bennet also pledged to fight to bring back the monthly payments of the expanded child tax credit, and create a new windfall tax on companies.

Source: Read Full Article