Governor Ron DeSantis recorded a robocall in support of Republican candidate for Senate Joe O’Dea. O’Dea is challenging incumbent Democrat Senator Michael Bennet. The move comes just days after Trump told grassroots Republicans to not support O’Dea.

O’Dea is not a Trump supporter and is running as a moderate Republican in Colorado. Trump is lashing out at O’Dea because O’Dea said he will not support a 2024 presidential run by Trump. Trump called him a RINO on his Truth Social account and criticized him for speaking out publicly. The question is whether or not a Republican candidate can win a blue state like Colorado without Trump’s support in a red wave election? This is a race that can be used as a measure of Trump’s pull in the GOP.

DeSantis, Trump’s chief opponent if both decide to run in the Republican presidential primary in 2024, is Team O’Dea.

“Hello this is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. America needs strong leadership and desperately. That’s why I’m endorsing Joe O’Dea for U.S. Senate. Colorado, please vote for Joe O’Dea,” DeSantis says in the robocall, a recording of which was provided to the Washington Examiner on Sunday by the O’Dea campaign. “I’ve watched Joe from a distance. And I’m impressed.”

The political environment in Colorado is hard for Republicans running in statewide elections. However, this election cycle is turning out to be very favorable for Republicans because of Joe Biden’s incompetence and the national malaise Biden has produced. O’Dea knows the best way to appeal to independent voters is as a candidate who pledges to work with others for the benefit of Colorado. Trump is angry because his ego is dinged. Trump demands loyalty from everyone and that doesn’t work with the average voter. Voters show up to vote for candidates offering solutions and policies that best align with their values and beliefs, not out of a sense of loyalty to any one politician. It is important for Republicans to make inroads in areas previously unfriendly to them and this election cycle is a prime time to do that. It is political malpractice for Trump to come along and encourage voters to not vote for O’Dea, thus handing the election to Bennet, a Democrat who votes in lockstep with Joe Biden’s agenda in the Senate.

Two weeks ago O’Dea was interviewed on CNN. He said he hopes Trump doesn’t run in 2024 and he prefers a candidate like DeSantis, or Nikki Haley, or Senator Tim Scott. Since then Haley has endorsed him and Scott has campaigned for him. O’Dea said he will work for other GOP candidates for president in 2024 but not Trump. He doesn’t think another election between Trump and Biden will help the country. After O’Dea’s appearance on CNN, Trump took to Truth Social to vent about him.

On Monday morning, Trump posted on Truth Social that O’Dea is “this RINO character in the Great State of Colorado … who is having a good old time saying that he wants to ‘distance’ himself from President Trump, and other slightly nasty things.” Trump then highlighted his efforts as president on the economy, energy, and the war on the Islamic State and the border.

“MAGA doesn’t Vote for stupid people with big mouths. Good luck Joe!” Trump wrote.

O’Dea’s big pitch is that he is his own man. He says he is most concerned about what is best for his state and will serve in the Senate accordingly.

O’Dea is challenging incumbent Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet for the seat. In a statement, O’Dea said this election should be about President “Joe Biden’s failures” — he cited inflation, crime, energy policy and the border — and “not a rehash of 2020.” But he reiterated that he’d prefer other candidates.

“President Trump is entitled to his opinion but I’m my own man and I’ll call it like I see it,” O’Dea said in the statement. “Another Biden, Trump election will tear this country apart. DeSantis, Scott, (former U.S. Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo or Haley would be better choices.”

Meanwhile, O’Dea has campaigned as someone who would buck his party if they were too hardline pushing things like a universal ban on abortions, though in alignment on things like lower taxes and less spending. His primary victory was hailed by other Colorado Republicans as returning the party to small government messaging — not conspiracy theories.

Next to Trump, the Florida governor is perhaps the most popular Republican among grassroots conservatives nationwide, and the O’Dea campaign is expressing confidence that DeSantis’s endorsement two weeks before Election Day will bolster support among any wavering GOP base voters. Republican grassroots voters are a distinct minority in Colorado, but O’Dea needs them to assemble a coalition to defeat Bennet.

DeSantis is the second most popular Republican with conservative voters, after Trump. His endorsement may help O’Dea, at least O’Dea hopes that is the case. DeSantis spoke about the fact that O’Dea isn’t a career politician, he’s a contractor who built a very successful business from nothing. And, he’s tough on securing the southern border.

“This guy isn’t a career politician. He’s a contractor. He’s built a company from nothing. He’s a leader who knows how to fight and get results. Michael Bennet votes with [President] Joe Biden 98% of the time. The results have been a disaster for the American people,” DeSantis says in the robocall. “Colorado needs new leadership.”

“Joe’s focused on building the wall and cracking down on crime,” DeSantis adds. “He’ll stand-up to the big spending politicians in both parties and cut red tape. Vote Joe O’Dea and let’s turn Colorado red!”

That last component of the Florida governor’s remarks, about O’Dea’s staunch support for border security and focus on reducing crime, is viewed as crucial by the Colorado Republican’s campaign.

Trump’s record in office for Republicans was very good, conservatives don’t deny that. However, in 2024 it is time to move on and Trump has the opportunity to play kingmaker instead of running for office himself. He will be 78 years old in November 2024. He shows more energy and mental ability than Joe Biden does but 78 is too old for someone to run for president. It’s time for fresh blood and an appeal to the new Republican voters that Trump helped usher in, like Hispanic voters and independent working class voters. The party has to remain united and growing to be successful in elections.

It isn’t looking good for O’Dea, at least not yet. Real Clear Politics aggregate averaging has Bennet up by 7.5 points. A strong red wave many not matter in Colorado. In the meantime, O’Dea should receive all the support he can in order to finish his race strong. He can lay the groundwork for the next election cycle for Republican candidates.

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