Colorado Republican Joe O'Dea hits the airwaves statewide Wednesday with a radio ad pitching the U.S. Senate candidate's working-class roots and status as a first-time candidate.
The 60-second ad launches days after O'Dea announced that he plans to petition his way onto the June primary ballot. He's one of seven Republicans seeking the nomination to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is running for a third term this year.
O'Dea's campaign said it's spending $125,000 to run the ad on talk stations across Colorado.
"You know why Washington is so disconnected? It's run by too many people who have never had to work a hard day in their life," O'Dea says in the ad, which uses a clip from his announcement speech.
"People say, why are you running Joe?" he continues. "I'm running to be a voice for the working people of this country. I am one of you, and I will fight for you!"
"Joe was adopted and raised by a Denver police officer," the ad's narrator says. "He became a union carpenter and started a construction company as a young man. That construction company employs hundreds of Coloradans today. Now, Joe O’Dea’s running for Senate to be a voice for working people, to attack inflation, cut the waste, fund our military, police and America’s infrastructure."
O'Dea has taken heat from others in the GOP primary for saying last fall that he would have voted for the $1.1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan, which passed the U.S. Senate with support from every Democrat and 19 Republicans and was signed by President Joe Biden.
The radio ad describes O'Dea as a "conservative," an "outsider" and a "voice for working Americans" but doesn't mention that he's a Republican.
O'Dea, the founder and CEO of Denver-based Concrete Express Inc., won an endorsement last week from the Denver Police Protective Association, the largest law enforcement union in the state.
“The contrast between Joe O’Dea and Michael Bennet could not be clearer," said O'Dea campaign spokesman Quinn Evans in a statement. "This advertisement sets the stage for that fight. It is a fight Joe O’Dea is going to win."
O'Dea is so far the only one of Bennet's potential GOP challengers to run ads on TV or radio. In the weeks after entering the race in October, O'Dea spent about $100,000 on an introductory TV ad that aired in the Denver and Colorado Springs markets.
O'Dea said earlier this month that his campaign brought in $1 million through the end of 2021, including $500,000 he donated to his own campaign.
The other GOP candidates running in the primary are state Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Cañon City, Fort Collins developer Gino Campana, former El Paso County GOP official and 2008 Olympian Eli Bremer, former talk radio host Deborah Flora, former congressional candidate Peter Yu, and Colorado Christian University professor Gregory Moore. (Colorado Springs nonprofit fonder Juli Henry told Colorado Politics on Tuesday that she's withdrawing from the Senate race and plans to run for the House District 21 seat.)
Petitions are due to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office by March 15, and primary ballots must be returned to county clerks by June 28.