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Coffee with Marty: My Face-to-Face with the Halo Master

(Chuck Muth) – As a now Medicare-aged geezer, when I hear someone say they’re a “gamer” I hearken back to my youth and think Scrabble, Backgammon, Pinochle and Poker. Those are the games I regularly played in-person with friends – and sometimes in competitions.

But that was back in the dark ages of the 1970’s…before Al Gore invented the Internet. Today’s gamers ain’t your grandfather’s gamers.  Like my son, they play online and compete against others all over the world.

As a geezer, while I’ve heard of Call of Duty I had never heard of Halo, “one of the most successful game franchises of all time” …

…until a couple weeks ago when Marty O’Donnell entered the Republican primary race for Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District as a first-time candidate.

Make no mistake.  CD3 is one of the most “flippable” seats this year in a House of Representatives where Republicans have a razor-thin majority.

Still, it’s a Democrat-majority seat requiring – as William F. Buckley famously put it – the most conservative GOP candidate who can WIN.

Not knowing Halo, let alone Mr. O’Donnell, when he reached out and asked to have coffee I jumped at the chance.  Two big questions:  Is he a conservative and can he win?

We met at a Starbucks yesterday afternoon and talked for three-and-a-half hours!  Turned out to be a perfect way to top off my birthday.

Naturally, I won’t disclose specifics of what we discussed confidentially.  But the man is immediately likeable and tremendously successful.

He wasn’t what I was expecting at all.  I thought I’d be meeting some tech nerd from Silicon Valley wearing a pocket protector and eye-glasses taped together with duct tape.  Instead, he was about as “normal” and down-to-earth as you can get.

Wonderful family man. Been married for over 30 years and has two daughters – one of whom runs a charity helping foster kids.

He’s a piano player and composer.  Early in his career, he wrote songs and jingles for products such as Mr. Clean and Flintstones Vitamins.

He was in a rock band in junior high school, as well as, I found out, a Led Zeppelin “cover” (tribute) band.  That was music to my ears.  In fact, I had Led Zepplin roaring at full volume on Spotify on my way over to the meeting.

Yes, as a rock-and-roller in his youth Marty had long hair and a ponytail.  But he was no liberal hippie.

He supported Goldwater in the ’64 presidential election, subscribed to National Review, listened to Rush Limbaugh, and was a big fan of conservative icon William F. Buckley – and years later got to interview him.

He also worked as a conservative correspondent covering the 1996 Democrat presidential convention in Chicago where he once lived.  And he’s certainly got some stories to tell about that!

Marty later moved on to writing award-winning music and soundtracks for video games like Halo – which I guess has something to do with blasting away at space aliens.

I don’t know.  My “gaming” expertise consists of knowing the 7-letter “satire” words that get you a 50-point bonus in Scrabble and all the 2-letter connecting words.

Sheesh.  Now *I* sound like a geek!

Anyway, after living in the liberal meccas of Chicago and Seattle, Marty and his wife moved to Las Vegas a few years ago – where his children and grandchildren were already living.

“I love Las Vegas,” he said in an interview with last month. “I’m very happy with the weather here.”

Me, too.  Though during our meeting hail briefly pelted the window we were sitting next to (he writes knowingly ending a sentence with a preposition).  Not the kind of weather either of us signed up for.

Politically, he’s known as a solid conservative.  Indeed, Marty’s former co-workers at one of the gaming companies he worked for “described him as the most right-leaning employee at the company.”

“Politics has always been a kind of hobby,” the semi-retired gamer said in the same interview. “This (running for Congress) is not something I ever expected to do. I wanted to spend more time with family. And now I probably need to spend less time with my family. At least that’s what my family is telling me.”

Good sense of humor, too!

Like many others – including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham – Marty was initially skeptical of Donald Trump when Trump announced he was running in 2015.  But he voted for him in 2016 and 2020 and fully intends to vote for him again this year.

So why is he running?  Marty explained in the interview…

“I’m a Boomer and I’m a conservative. But I have not been a big fan of politicians. So I have a hard time even saying that I’m Republican.  But I don’t really like what the Democrat representative has been doing here. And so that’s why I’m running against them.”

On the hot button issue of illegal immigration…

“One thing the federal government should certainly be responsible for is the security of our borders. Instead, we see millions of people coming in without any accounting for who they are, what they intend to do, or what they’re bringing with them. And they’re being given access to all sorts of handouts at our expense.”

He’s very pro-Israel in the Jewish state’s ongoing war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and has been publicly open about boycotting certain “woke” corporations, especially Gillette.

And here’s something particularly interesting I learned in our chat: He knows AI (artificial intelligence).

While he’s loathe to involve government in the private sector, there are definitely intellectual property concerns and rights that need to be protected.  And unlike just about every other member of Congress, he actually knows something about it.

“I feel like there are many people in politics who have no clue what AI is,” he said in his interview. “It would be nice to have at least one person in there who has a clue.”

Bottom line: I’d have no reservations whatsoever if Marty O’Donnell went to Washington, DC to represent us.  Can he win?  Yes.  But as I teach in training seminars, it’s not necessarily the best candidate who wins, but the best campaign.

I’ll be watching that closely between now and the June 11 primary.

To learn more about Marty, click here.

P.S.  A dear friend back east sent me a video postcard from a famous musician yesterday.  It was FANTASTIC.  Really made my day.  To see it, click here.

Thanks again, Paul!


“Our government spends money on the wrong things and spends way too much.” – Marty O’Donnell

“It’s easy to look at the economy and realize that something has gone horribly wrong. Working people, the middle class, and small businesses have been losing ground over the past 20 years. The goose that lays the golden eggs for our country has been kicked around and squeezed to the point where laying more golden eggs is almost impossible.” – Marty O’Donnell

“It doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a family, and it takes families to make a village.” – Marty O’Donnell


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