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Joe O'Dea wins Colorado GOP US Senate primary

Posted at 6:56 AM, Jun 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-29 09:28:33-04

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Republicans on Tuesday nominated a businessman and supporter of most abortion rights for U.S. Senate while rejecting an attempt by one of the nation's most prominent election deniers to become their candidate for the state's top voting post.

Joe O'Dea won the GOP Senate nomination after saying he supported a late-term abortion ban but, before then, the decision should be left up to “a woman and her God.”

At the same time, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has been indicted for her role in a break-in of her county's own election system, lost her bid for the party's secretary of state nomination. It was won instead by Pam Anderson, a former suburban Denver clerk who has been critical of former President Donald Trump's election lies, which Peters has embraced.

MORE: Colorado Primary Election Results

The wins came as voters in seven states cast ballots in the first primaries since the Supreme Court last week revoked the constitutional right for women to obtain abortions.

Democrats spent more than $4 million to boost the U.S. Senate campaign of State Rep. Ron Hanks, who favors an abortion ban without exceptions, in order to deny the GOP nomination to O’Dea. O'Dea is seen as a far stronger candidate against the incumbent, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

Abortion became an even more fraught issue in Tuesday’s primary after the Supreme Court decision. Political operatives predict more electoral bank shots like the one Democrats executed in Illinois as Republicans feel emboldened by the repeal of the 1973 ruling in Roe v Wade.

The strategy carries risks, especially if the magnitude of the GOP's expected gains this fall becomes so significant that Democrats lose in states like Illinois and Colorado, which have become strongholds for the party. But at a moment when Democrats are confronting voter frustration over inflation and rising gas prices, the focus on abortion may be their best hope.

“It's a very inviting target, to go after a Republican candidate whose position is no exceptions,” said Dick Wadhams, a former chairman of the Colorado GOP who has worked for anti-abortion candidates in the past. “I do think the repeal of Roe v Wade may embolden more candidates to go in that direction.”

Beyond Colorado and Illinois, elections are being held in Oklahoma, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Mississippi and South Carolina. Tuesday marks the final round of multistate primary nights until August, when closely watched races for governor and the U.S. Senate will unfold in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and other states.

Also in Colorado, firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert easily defeated her primary challenger, moderate state Sen. Don Coram.

Other GOP opportunities in the state come in the newly created congressional swing seat north of Denver, where four Republican candidates are competing to face state Rep. Yadira Caraveo, the only Democrat running in the primary. Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide elected Republican as a member of the University of Colorado’s board of regents, won the GOP nomination to face Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

In Colorado Springs, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who faces regular primary challenges, this time is fighting back state Rep. Dave Williams, who failed to get the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” code for an obscenity against President Joe Biden, added to his official name on the ballot.


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