Joe O'Dea, the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Colorado, announced on Tuesday that his campaign has hired additional staff, including several seasoned GOP operatives.
O'Dea is facing Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the general election after defeating state Rep. Ron Hanks two weeks ago in the GOP primary by just under 9 points.
“I’m excited to add these folks to our crew,” O’Dea said in a statement first obtained by Colorado Politics. “They are talented professionals who have been tested and delivered. We're going to make sure we get our message across this state and gear up to win in November to bring real results for working Americans.”
The first-time candidate's new hires include Carrie Hackenberger as deputy campaign manager, Katie Behnke as national finance consultant, Kyle Kohli as communications director and Joshua Marin-Mora as deputy press secretary. They join the Republican's campaign manager, Zack Roday, a vice president at 76 Group, the O'Dea campaign's general consultant.
Hackenberger has been registered as a lobbyist in Colorado since 2019 and began work this year at Husch Blackwell Strategies, according to the Colorado Secretary of State's lobbyist registration site. She's the daughter of veteran statehouse lobbyist Micki Hackenberger and a principal at the same firm. Before that, the Colorado native worked as associate director of the American Petroleum Institute Colorado. Hackenberger received the 2019 Experience Energy GRIT Award and was recognized by the Denver Business Journal in its 2020 list of Outstanding Women in Business and last year won a spot on the publication's 40 Under 40 list. She has an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and a graduate degree from the University of Colorado Denver.
Behnke, a co-founder of leading fundraising firm Starboard Group, served as finance director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and helmed fundraising efforts for former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, as well as serving as deputy campaign manager for the Colorado Republican's successful 2014 campaign. The fifth-generation Coloradan roots for the University of Colorado Buffs and is married with two sons.
Kohli moves to the O'Dea campaign from Compass Colorado, the conservative advocacy outfit he's run for the past two years. Prior to that, the Idaho native was Colorado communications director for the Republican National Committee and served as the Colorado GOP's communications director, as well as digital director for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan. Kohli has an undergraduate degree from CU and a graduate degree from Duke's Fuqua School of Business.
Marin-Mora joins the campaign after handling similar duties this spring for congressional candidate Jan Kulmann and serving as a press assistant last year for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's winning bid. He also works as communications and digital coordinator at Ascent Media, one of 76 Group's sister companies. Hailing from Reno, Nevada, Marin-Mora has a degree in international politics from Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service. Fluent in Spanish, he's served as Spanish-language media liaison with multiple campaigns.