Joe O’Dea wins Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Colorado

Joe O’Dea defeated Ron Hanks in the Republican Party primary for U.S. Senate in Colorado on June 28. O’Dea received 55.5% of the vote to Hanks’ 44.5%.

Leading up to the primary, Hanks and O’Dea led in media attention, and O’Dea maintained a lead in fundraising. According to the most recent Federal Election Commission data available, O’Dea had raised over $2.3 million and Hanks had raised $124,840 as of June 8.

O’Dea is the CEO of a Denver-based heavy civil contracting company and owner of the Mile High Station and Ironworks event centers. O’Dea said he ran for Senate “[t]o break the cycle of partisanship. To rebuild this country. To get it moving forward again. Colorado deserves a Senator who represents our voice.”

Hanks is a member of the Colorado House of Representatives representing District 60 since his election in 2020. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Hanks also worked as a linguist, a counterdrug officer, and a counterintelligence agent. Hanks said he was “the only proven conservative state legislator running” and “is adamantly pro-life and an ardent and active supporter of our second amendment.”

Key issues in the race included abortion and the 2020 election. Hanks said all abortions should be banned, and he “believe[s] life starts at conception. There should not be any exceptions.” The primary will “come down to that issue first and foremost. Are we a pro-life party, or aren’t we? I will tell you, I am pro-life, and my opponent is not. End of story,” Hanks said. 

O’Dea said he didn’t support overturning Roe v. Wade or total bans on abortions: “I don’t support a total ban. The country is not 100% pro-life. The country is not 100% pro-choice.” O’Dea said he “would vote for a bill that protects a woman’s right to choose early in the pregnancy. I would also protect that right in cases of rape, incest and medical necessities.”

On the 2020 election, Hanks said he believed former Pres. Donald Trump (R) won. Hanks said election security became a priority for him after 2020: “Just like the changes we felt after 9/11, my mission as a state representative shifted to election integrity. I have been fighting for it ever since.” O’Dea said he did not believe the election was stolen and that Republicans should “stay to the issues” in their campaigns. “I’ve been very clear about my stance. Biden’s our president. He’s lousy,” O’Dea said.

Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) was first elected in 2008, and in the 2016 election, won re-election with 50% of the vote. In the state’s 2020 U.S. Senate election, John Hickenlooper (D) defeated incumbent Cory Gardner (R) 54% to 44%, and Joe Biden won the state in the 2020 presidential election by 13 percentage points. In its June 14 ratings, The Cook Political Report rated the general election as Likely Democratic.