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Video game composer announces GOP bid for congressional seat held by Susie Lee

O’Donnell, who worked on the Halo and Destiny video game series, could bring a significant amount of money into the bid to unseat Lee.
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024

Prominent composer, audio director and video game sound designer Martin O’Donnell announced plans to run for Nevada’s swingy Congressional District 3 seat as a Republican on Sunday, promising not to accept money from political action committees and pledging to “restore sanity to Washington.”

O’Donnell’s announcement on the instant messaging and social platform Discord, first reported by GamesBeat, marks him as the fourth Republican who has announced plans to run for the Southern Nevada district represented by Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV). Lee has won the competitive district in the last three election cycles. 

“No one would pick a composer to fight their battles, but as Bono said, ‘Music can change the world because it can change people,’ so maybe it’s not so crazy after all,” O’Donnell, 68, wrote in his campaign announcement. 

Most known for his work on the Halo and Destiny video game series and composition of jingles for the Flintstone Kids vitamins and Mr. Clean commercials, O’Donnell’s LinkedIn page indicates he began working in Nevada in 2021 as the owner of Marty M. O’Donnell Music, LLC. Clark County voter registration records indicate he registered to vote as a Republican in the county that July. In an interview with GamesBeat, he said that he moved to Las Vegas a few years ago to be closer to his grandchildren.

In the interview, O’Donnell also said he supports former President Donald Trump and will vote for Trump in the fall. Though O’Donnell said he never expected he would run for higher office, he wants to live up to his civic duty and “put my money where my mouth was.”

“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 Democratic representative has been doing here,” O’Donnell told GamesBeat. “And so that’s why I’m running against them.”

Since it launched in 2001, the Halo franchise has generated more than $6 billion in sales.

O’Donnell could bring a significant amount of money into the bid to unseat Lee, but without any corporate money, it could be mainly through self-funding. O’Donnell said his pledge not to take money from corporate political action committees is in contrast with Lee, who has benefited heavily from donations made by outside groups dedicated to protecting Democrats in battleground House seats.

O’Donnell’s campaign is run by the same consultants who orchestrated Gov. Joe Lombardo’s successful gubernatorial run in 2022.

His announced competitors in the Republican primary include former state Sen. Elizabeth Helgelien (R-Las Vegas), tax analyst Drew Johnson and former state Treasurer Dan Schwartz. Nevada’s candidate filing period opened Monday and ends March 15.

Notably, Schwartz, who has historically self-funded his past elections, pledged to place $1 million into his campaign to compete financially with Lee, who ended 2023 with about $1.6 million in her campaign account. 


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