In Colorado, a GOP rarity: An abortion-rights candidate

Denver: Joe O’Dea stood before hundreds of social conservatives and uttered words they were unaccustomed to hearing from a Republican U.S. Senate candidate: “I know my position on abortion isn’t the same as all of yours.”

Joe O’Dea, a businessman who has spoken publicly about his support for abortion rights, told the crowd that he backs a ban on late-term abortions and government funding of abortions. But, he said, the decision to terminate a pregnancy in the initial months is “between a person and their God.”

On other issues, O’Dea sounds like a typical conservative. But his support for abortion rights stands out in a Republican Party in which opposition to the procedure has become a bedrock principle. His top rival in Tuesday’s primary is state Rep. Ron Hanks, who opposes abortion in all circumstances. The two are competing to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who won his first Senate race in 2010 by hammering his GOP challenger over opposition to abortion rights.

Republican voter Carla Davis, who describes herself as “100% pro-life,” thinks O’Dea will be a stronger candidate in the general election against Bennet in a state that has voted down initiatives to limit or ban abortion four times since 2008.

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