Joe O’Dea is running for elected office for the first time. As the Republican candidate barnstorms the state, voters are learning where the longtime construction CEO stands on the issues.
The picture emerging is of a candidate who is a kitchen-table minded conservative focused on major national challenges like inflation, crime and energy independence, but not on abortion or other social issues.
“I’m an outsider,” O’Dea told Steffan Tubbs in an appearance on the Denver newsman’s talk show on Wednesday. “I’m not running on social issues. That’s not what is important to working Americans.”
“We don’t have a voice in Colorado for working Americans,” O’Dea said. “We don’t have one in the Senate that’s for sure. That’s been the crux of my campaign, to make sure we have a voice, someone who can say, enough is enough.”
Repeatedly throughout the interview, O’Dea took the conversation back to inflation, gas prices, and other economic issues that have been the focus of his campaign.
Still, O’Dea didn’t shy away from questions on his stances. He took rapid fire questions from Tubbs for nearly an hour.
On gun control, O’Dea told Tubbs he doesn’t support more gun restrictions.
“We don’t need any more laws. We have hundreds and hundreds of gun laws. I’m an advocate for our Second Amendment rights,” he said.
Asked about Colorado’s fentanyl crisis, O’Dea bashed Democrats in Washington, DC and Denver for their weak handling of the crisis. O’Dea said the solution to the fentanyl crisis starts at the border.
“We need to get tough. It starts at our border. We need to finish (the wall),” he said.
When asked whether there was a Democrat he would be willing to work with, O’Dea said: “I really like what Joe Manchin’s done. He’s able to stand his ground, and when I am elected to the Senate I plan on being the same way. You just can’t be a rubber stamp.”
O’Dea said he didn’t support marijuana legalization but said it’s the law for better or worse.
“It’s the law of the land right now, (but) that’s not something I would have pushed for.”
On abortion, O’Dea, who was adopted and is a practicing catholic, said the political fight over abortion isn’t the reason he is running.
“I’m not running on social issues. It’s in place right now, Roe v. Wade, I wouldn’t vote to overturn that. But I’m not running on social issues. That’s not what is important to working Americans right now. That’s not what’s important to working Americans right now. It’s about the economy. It’s about gas (prices),” O’Dea said.
O’Dea’s spokesman Sage Naumann told Campfire Colorado that the candidates appearance on Tubbs’ show was “Joe being Joe.”
“Joe calls it straight,” said Naumann. “He’s focused on the issues that everyday Coloradans worry about daily – the price of filling their gas tank, if their neighborhoods are safe, if their kid’s school is preparing them for life. Democrats want to distract from the failures of the Biden and Bennet administration; we won’t let them.”
O’Dea’s appearance with Tubbs comes on the heels of a dust-up between the Republican and liberal bloggers over the role of social issues in the 2022 election.
On Sunday, O’Dea and his team hammered liberal bloggers and Democrats for trying to distract voters from what they say are the urgent challenges confronting America.
O’Dea hasn’t been shy about engaging with liberal bloggers, left wing news sites, or Democratic campaign operatives who attack him. “If we focus on what’s wrong with the country, the fake news crew will be crying in their beer on election night,” said O’Dea on Twitter.
O’Dea has said he supports limits on late-term abortion, and has been openly critical of a sweeping new abortion law signed by Governor Jared Polis. O’Dea calls it “extreme and grandstanding.”
But still, O’Dea and his team are insistent on bringing the conversation back to the issues they say matter the most.
“Again, he’s not running on social issues. We know some people will disagree and we respect them for their views, but Joe is Joe. He’s running to be a voice for working people and get America back on track. His answers will be consistent whether he’s in a primary or a general election – and that sort of honesty is exactly what we need in Washington,” Naumann said.