The Herald Gets it Wrong. O’Dea is the Right Choice for SW Colorado

By Former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell

I am writing with strong disappointment in the Durango Herald Editorial Board’s endorsement of the incumbent senator – and its questionable editorial decisions in the process. 
Leading up to the Republican primary in June, the Herald endorsed Joe O’Dea, saying it was “an easy choice” and citing his stance on abortion as one of the reasons why. Just four months later however, in its endorsement of the incumbent senator, the Herald attacked O’Dea’s stance on abortion.
I’m not sure what the Herald sees in O’Dea now that they didn’t see four months ago. But I see, in Joe O’Dea, a man willing to stand up for Colorado. It’s why I think he is the best candidate in the race for U.S. Senate. 
I see a lot of similarities between Joe’s story and mine. We both ran into challenges during our upbringings and got into some trouble in school. Joe never met his biological mother, and I came from a dysfunctional home and popped in and out of orphanages. We both later got a dose of discipline and structure that helped turn our lives around. We both seized opportunity to achieve success. 
Neither of us had a typical path to the U.S. Senate. But we have lived this unique American experience where anyone – even a mixed-blood kid from the wrong side of the tracks like myself – has the freedom to be what you want, strive for success, and make a better life for your family.
Perhaps the Durango Herald is confused because Joe’s not a traditional Republican. I wasn’t either. 
When I served in the Senate, it became obvious that the easiest thing to do is to go along and get along with party leadership. That’s a path too many take. Bucking the party or the president, however, takes courage and guts.
I left the Democratic party in the 1990s because it was no longer the party of working Americans – a trend that has only worsened since then. Joe is the only candidate in this race who knows what working Coloradans face – because he is one. He started his company in his basement, and today it employs more than 300 Coloradans. 
Joe knows what it means to put Coloradans first, not a political party or personal ambition. He has a demonstrated track record of working with people on both sides of the aisle – and bucking them, too. Joe is capable of uniting the state’s voters and being a senator for all of Colorado, not just the Denver metro area.
Single-party control of Washington isn’t working. We need a senator who is focused on ensuring that our government works for people, not against them. Joe will be that senator. He has the ability to bring together Republicans, Independents, and even disaffected Democrats who are fed up with their party’s failure to address the issues that matter.
Coloradans who agree with me that we need an independent voice and a fresh perspective in the Senate should vote for Joe O’Dea.

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About the Author:

Ben Nighthorse Campbell is a Cheyenne Native American who represented Colorado’s 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 1993, and as a United States Senator from Colorado from 1993 to 2005.

He serves as one of forty-four members of the Council of Chiefs of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Tribe. During his time in office, he was the only Native American serving in the U.S. Congress.

As of 2022, he remains the last Native American elected to the U.S. Senate.