(WASHINGTON) — Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet will win Colorado’s Senate race, ABC News has projected.
Bennet was up against Republican nominee Joe O’Dea as he sought a third term to the chamber.
Polls showed O’Dea, the owner of Denver-based construction company, always faced an uphill battle in unseating Bennet. Bennet polled ahead of O’Dea the entire race, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polling average, and in the closing days Bennet led by nearly 10 percentage points.
Bennet campaigned heavily on Democratic accomplishments, having spent 13 years in the Senate. This cycle, he specifically touted the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan gun safety law and the CHIPS Act to invest in domestic computer chip production.
During the final debate, Bennet pushed back on O’Dea’s claims that he was an “ineffective” senator.
“That’s completely untrue,” Bennet said. “This has been fact-checked. I’ve written 101 bills that have passed, 82 of those with a Republican co-sponsor, and that’s just the ones that I’ve written, not the one that I’ve co-sponsored or the ones that I’ve worked on.”
Meanwhile, O’Dea pitched himself to Colorado voters — who backed President Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 by roughly 14 percentage points — as a political outsider who would put country over party.
“Michael Bennet is Joe Biden’s yes man,” O’Dea tweeted last month. “I’m my own man. I’ll always put America first.”
In their debates, the two candidates clashed on abortion, crime and the economy.
O’Dea broke with most of his party’s candidates this cycle on the issue of abortion rights, expressing some support for Roe v. Wade but opposition for abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother.
“I don’t think Joe O’Dea should be in that hospital room when she makes that decision,” Bennet countered during one of their debates.
The Democratic senator supports the Colorado law passed this year that guarantees the right to an abortion without restriction.
Bennet also repeatedly tied O’Dea to Trump, telling the audience in their final debate that O’Dea voted for the former president twice. Since then, O’Dea had said Trump shouldn’t run in 2024, and has rejected his lies about the 2020 election.
“Three weeks before the general election in Colorado, Joe you changed your mind and said you’re gonna work against him. What changed during this general election?” Bennet said in their last face-to-face meeting.
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