Craig O'Dear

United States Senate candidate Craig O’Dear, I-Kansas City, says he is running to fix a problem in Washington and understands running as an Independent is a hard way to go.

“As soon as a Republican or Democrat steps off the plane in Washington they are told the other party is the enemy,” O’Dear explained during a visit to The Missourian Thursday. “Because of this, they can’t do what needs to be done for the country.”

O’Dear, a Kansas City attorney, said he was raised a Republican and over the past several years has grown agnostic about party politics and feels the parties themselves are the problem.

“All you have to do is sit back and watch what’s going on in the Senate right now,” O’Dear said. “I want people to know one thing from the start, I’m not the enemy. My expertise is dispute resolution.”

O’Dear is a successful attorney and also has a degree in chemical engineering management.

Timing

O’Dear has interjected himself into one of the most watched Senate races in the entire nation with both the major national parties funneling millions of dollars into retaining the seat for the Democrats or flipping it to the Republicans.

“I’m not a highly religious man but I am a man of faith,” O’Dear said. “I kept feeling this was a calling to run because the country was facing a threat from within. So, I decided to step up and take a stand.”

The candidate openly admits he is not a supporter of President Donald Trump and although he was an early supporter and fundraiser of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, he pulled that backing soon after Greitens made a stand against stem cell research.

He added, if given the opportunity, he would vote against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court because of the appearance of impropriety due to past and current political ties.

O’Dear hopes voters will not overlook his candidacy as a wasted vote, but a vote for the best choice.

“You’re not going to hear a word out of my mouth about any of my opponents,” O’Dear said. “I’m not playing that game.”

He said he has heard from both major opposing campaigns. They feel he is a threat and could take votes away from them.

Strategy

Without the major funding coming in from national parties or donors, O’Dear says his campaign has taken a smaller approach, focusing on speaking to small groups and using newspapers and social media tools to get the word out.

“We should not count on having television (advertising) money,” O’Dear said. “Anytime I can get a dozen people in a room to talk, I’ll go. Facebook is an amazing tool and we have videos on there that have been viewed about 150,000 times.”

With just over 30 days left until Nov. 6, O’Dear says he is still hopeful some eleventh hour deals will be made and funding will come in for television ads and he is not giving up.

“You’ve gotta be in the game at the end for something good to happen,” he said. “I’ve spent the last eight months getting into position for the last 60 days. We’re going to just keep doing what we’re doing.”

O’Dear estimates his campaign will need around $2 million to make an effective last-minute television impact, most likely in the final two weeks before Election Day.