Businessman Joe O'Dea, the Republican Party's nominee in the Colorado Senate race, said Wednesday he is “not going to be owned by any party” as he responded to criticism from former President Donald Trump, who called him a RINO ("Republican In Name Only").
“I respect the president’s opinion. He’s entitled to that, but I'm like most Americans, we want to move the country forward,” O’Dea told Meet the Press Now, “I’m not going to be owned by any party. I’m going to vote for Colorado first.”
Trump’s comments came a day after O’Dea said he would actively campaign against him in 2024. O’Dea has not only distanced himself from Trump but also from a prominent Republican proposal on abortion — South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s 15 week federal ban.
O'Dea says he backs codifying abortion access through the first five months of pregnancy, as well as allowing exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. But asked about his decision to sign a petition to get a measure aimed at restricting abortion access at 22 weeks onto the state's 2020 ballot (that measure didn't include some of those exceptions O'Dea says he now supports), he told Meet the Press NOW said he's firm in his position.
“I’ve always been opposed to late term abortion,” O’Dea said, “for the first five months that decision belongs between a woman and her doctor.”
As far as his own race goes, O’Dea is running against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. A recent poll from Marist found Bennet up by 7%, 48% to 41%, among registered voters.
O’Dea also dodged when asked about whether Trump should testify in front of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. But he lamented what happened that day and repeated his opposition to seeing Trump on the ballot next year.
“Look, President Trump’s going to do what President Trump wants to do. And that’s his decision, not mine,” O’Dea said, “I believe that was a blackout. I don’t think it was a good day for America. It’s time to move us forward. And that’s why I don’t want Biden or Trump to run again. Let’s move this country forward.”