29th June, 2022
Republicans in Colorado rejected two prominent candidates whose political profiles were centred on promoting former President Donald Trump’s lies about mass voter fraud.
Their rejection offered a quick reminder that fealty to Trump’s election falsehood is no guarantee of success with conservative voters.
Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who became nationally known after being indicted for her role in a break-in of her own county election system, lost her bid for the GOP nomination for Colorado secretary of state.
Instead, Republicans selected Pam Anderson, a critic of Trump’s election lies and a former clerk in suburban Denver who is well-regarded among election professionals.
She is now positioned to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
“I will continue my fight for restoring the confidence of Colorado voters against lies and the politicians or interest groups that seek to weaponise elections administration for political advantage,” Anderson said after her victory.
One of Peters’ top Colorado allies, state Rep. Ron Hanks, lost his bid for the party’s Senate nomination to Joe O’Dea, a businessman who has repeatedly acknowledged that President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
That was a sharp contrast with Hanks, who attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, doesn’t believe Biden is a legitimate president and says he discovered a new, animating purpose fighting election fraud after 2020.
Greg Lopez, a former suburban Denver mayor who was placed on the ballot after promising the state GOP convention that he’d pardon Peters if elected governor, lost the nomination for that post to Heidi Ganahl.
Ganahl is a member of the state university board of regents and a more traditional Republican.
She’ll campaign against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November.
In other elections beyond Colorado on Tuesday, Trump’s efforts to rewrite the results of the last campaign seemed to lack a punch.
In Mississippi, Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican who bucked Trump to vote for an independent Jan. 6 commission, beat back a challenge from an air force pilot.
And in Oklahoma, Sen. James Lankford easily defeated a GOP primary challenge from an evangelical pastor who complained he hadn’t echoed Trump’s election lies.
However, some other Trump candidates have had some success this year in the GOP primaries for the chief elections post in Alabama, Indiana, Nevada and New Mexico.
In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, who was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, won the GOP nomination for governor and, if elected, would be in position to nominate the secretary of state to oversee elections.
But there have been other notable high-profile defeats, especially in Georgia, where Trump recruited challengers to the Republican governor and secretary of state who refused to improperly declare him the winner of the state in 2020. Both easily beat back their challenges.