Colorado Republican Joe O'Dea, here during a campaign appearance in Littleton on June 9, 2022, is challenging Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
CNN  — 

Joe O’Dea, the Republican nominee for US Senate from Colorado, fired back at Donald Trump on Monday after the former President slammed him as a “RINO” and suggested Trump’s supporters wouldn’t vote for a “stupid” person like O’Dea.

In a statement to CNN, O’Dea, the CEO of a Colorado construction company, didn’t walk away from the criticism he’s been leveling at Trump, including on Sunday when he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that he would “actively” campaign against Trump and for other GOP candidates if the former President runs again. O’Dea also told Bash that Trump should have done more to prevent the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

“I’m a construction guy, not a politician,” O’Dea said in his statement to CNN. “President Trump is entitled to his opinion but I’m my own man and I’ll call it like I see it. Another Biden, Trump election will tear this country apart. DeSantis, Scott, Pompeo or Haley would be better choices. These elections should be focused on Joe Biden’s failures – supercharged inflation, a broken border, rampant crime, a war on American energy – not a rehash of 2020. America needs to move forward.”

O’Dea, who has taken a more moderate position on abortion rights than other Republicans, is in a competitive race against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in the blue-leaning state. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Democratic.

Trump attacked O’Dea on his Truth Social platform for his strategy of distancing himself from the former President. Trump’s comments – which included referring to the GOP nominee as a “RINO,” or Republican in name only – came less than a week after the Senate Leadership Fund gave $1.25 million to a pro-O’Dea super PAC and told local media it thinks Bennet is “vulnerable.”

CNN’s Gabby Orr and Daniella Diaz contributed to this story.