Midterm voter guide: Candidates for US senator


Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Sam Hutton, Staff Reporter

The election for the available United States Senate seat in the state of Colorado is underway. Four candidates have been outlined as challengers to unseat incumbent Michael Bennet at Capitol Hill, all aiming to address a multitude of issues — most notably rising inflation, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, reproductive rights and increasingly hostile political polarization.

Michael Bennet

Democratic candidate Michael Bennet is running for reelection to the United States Senate. Bennet has served Colorado voters since 2009 by working to pass legislation during his time in office, such as immigration reform, the extension of Medicare benefits and COVID-19 relief funding.


Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Bennet served as counsel to the U.S. deputy attorney general, special assistant to the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, chief of staff to former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and superintendent of Denver Public Schools.

If reelected, Bennet intends to reduce the influence of corporate lobbying efforts, cut taxes for middle-class families, protect Colorado’s natural resources and cut through the extreme partisanship in Washington.

“(I’m) working to lower costs from health care to housing to child care to make sure Coloradans can get and stay ahead,” Bennet said in a statement available on his website.

Joe O’Dea

Running with the nomination of the Republican party, Joe O’Dea is a relative outsider to politics and looks to use this outside perspective to his advantage by working to protect middle-class Americans from Washington politics.

“I want an America for your grandkids and mine that values and rewards hard work,” O’Dea said in a statement available on his website.

An active member of the Denver community, O’Dea is the CEO of CEI Constructors and owns the Mile High Station and Ironworks event centers in downtown Denver. He believes his experience in the private sector will allow him to work efficiently to cut down on the growing national deficit.

“We need to get the deficit back to pre-pandemic levels and work in a concerted way to fully balance the budget over time,” O’Dea said in a statement available on his website.

T.J. Cole

T.J. Cole is running with the support of the Unity Party for the open U.S. Senate seat. Cole has served the Denver community as an attorney, judge and college professor. He is running with the intent to reduce partisan gridlock and restore faith in government.

“My platform is fairly straight-forward: not right, not left — but forward,” Cole said.


Cole continues to stay active in the community by serving on the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Board, the American Pathways University Board of Directors and the Justice High School Board of Directors and believes these connections will help him advance his agenda.

“I’m very big on balancing our budget, attacking systemic social justice issues and economic fairness,” Cole said.

Brian Peotter

Brian Peotter is running as a libertarian in the U.S. Senate race. With a background in aerospace engineering, Peotter believes his outside perspective and independence from the two main political parties will allow him to make change if elected to the Senate.

“My main reason for running is I believe abortion is murder,” Peotter said. “Everyone should have an option on the ballot that is pro-life.”

Peotter also believes the Russia-Ukraine conflict should be resolved as soon as possible, holding that current leadership isn’t doing enough to promote peace.

“I would actively do things to promote peace instead of actively encouraging World War III,” Peotter said.

Frank Atwood

Frank Atwood is running for U.S. Senate under the banner of the Approval Voting Party, which advocates for a new system of voting that would open elections up to more candidates outside the two main parties. Like Cole and Peotter, Atwood believes a new perspective on politics is warranted if true change is to be made.

“Voters are tired of having to choose based on electability,” a spokesperson for the Approval Voting Party said in a statement available on the party’s website.

Atwood is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, earning a Purple Heart during his time in Vietnam. After becoming disgruntled with the current political system and its limiting of outside candidates, Atwood has dedicated himself to the Approval Voting Party cause completely.

“We believe that approval voting moves us beyond two-party thinking,” a spokesperson for the Approval Voting Party said in a statement available on their website.

Reach Sam Hutton at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @Sam_Hut14.