Truth Check: Democratic group’s ad on Senate candidate Joe O’Dea

DENVER (KDVR) — Political action committees, or PACs, continue to spend millions of dollars on primary races in Colorado.

One group, “Democratic Colorado,” has a new ad about U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and his integrity. This came after the group put out an ad against O’Dea’s opponent, State Rep. Ron Hanks.

The ad claims: “Politician Joe O’Dea is not who he says he is.”

Truth Check says: That’s misleading.

Records show O’Dea has been registered as a Republican in Colorado since at least 1992. Here’s what O’Dea has to say about himself: “I’m an outsider, not a career politician. I’m a conservative.”

The ad claims: “O’Dea says he wants to reign in government spending.”

Truth Check says: This is true.

On O’Dea’s campaign website, a key issue he highlights is reducing debt, saying on his campaign website that “Washington needs to look at borrowing money the same way a business does and the same way a family does. We can’t say yes to everything.”

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The ad claims: “He supports Biden’s $1.2 trillion spending bill.”

Truth Check says: True, but needs context.

The bill the ad is talking about is the trillion-dollar infrastructure plan for projects across the nation. It passed last year with bipartisan support in congress.

The ad claims: “Before running for Senate as a Republican, O’Dea actually supported Democrats, and even gave money to Michael Bennet.”

Truth Check says: This is true.

Records indicate O’Dea gave $500 to Bennet’s campaign in 2010. Here’s what he told Colorado Point of View host Matt Mauro about that: “I was in charge of a nonprofit, got asked to go to lunch. The suggestion was that you make a contribution at the lunch. I’ve done that. I’m going to tell you: This summer when I’m going head-to-head with Michael Bennet, I’m going to ask him for my money back.”

Other senators from Colorado are on his donation list too.

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The ad claims: “O’Dea also donated to John Hickenlooper, even after he signed gun safety measures into law.”

Truth Check says: True.

Records also show O’Dea donated $500 to Hickenlooper back in 2014 when he was still governor. As governor, Hickenlooper signed laws implementing universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazine sales in Colorado following the Aurora theater shooting.

Before we wrap this Truth Check, let’s talk about these name tags with the phrases “big spender,” “phony,” “Michael Bennet donor” and “hypocrite.”

Truth Check finds O’Dea isn’t exactly a “big spender,” considering that he hasn’t been in charge of any government spending yet. The Bennet donor label is true, but as far as him being a “phony,” “hypocrite” or “straight shooter,” those are all opinions.

The group Democratic Colorado claimed responsibility for the ad.

The bottom line is that this ad has some truths in it but also some suggestive opinions about O’Dea as Democrats continue to invest in the race against incumbent Bennet.

Watch Colorado Point of View every Sunday

You can see interviews with the two candidates and an in-depth analysis of the Republican Senate primary on our “Colorado Point of View” page.

“Colorado Point of View” also airs every Sunday at 7:30 a.m. on Colorado’s Very Own Channel 2.

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