Colorado Election Deniers Had A Bad GOP Primary Night

Mesa County Clerk and Colorado Republican candidate for secretary of state Tina Peters reacts to early election returns during a primary night watch party at the Wide Open Saloon on June 28, 2022 in Sedalia, Colorado... Mesa County Clerk and Colorado Republican candidate for secretary of state Tina Peters reacts to early election returns during a primary night watch party at the Wide Open Saloon on June 28, 2022 in Sedalia, Colorado. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images) MORE LESS

A slate of election deniers seems to be headed for defeat in their push for GOP nominations that would allow them to run elections in Colorado. The primary was Tuesday, and results are still coming in, but as of Wednesday morning things look grim for the fringe candidates.

Though their claims may have been popular among the Steve Bannon set, from Colorado’s secretary of state candidates down to county-level contenders, Republicans apparently weren’t willing to give the candidates the power to count votes. 

Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk now facing multiple felony counts for allegedly violating the security protocols of her own election office — and stealing a local man’s identity to do so — was soundly defeated in her bid for the GOP nomination for Colorado secretary of state. She was bested by a candidate, Pam Anderson, who has called for a return to professionalism in election administration and who accepts that Joe Biden won in 2020. 

But that was just the start. As Bolts Magazine reported Monday, the Bie Lie crowd was represented on several ballots across Colorado.

In El Paso County, Peter Lupia promoted Peters’ false claims about Dominion voting machines producing fraudulent results and claimed the machines “destroy accuracy.” He called for eliminating mail-in voting and ballot drop boxes altogether. 

His competition, County Assessor Steve Schleiker, accepted the 2020 election results and ran on increasing transparency. As of 10 p.m. last night, Schleiker was leading 66.31% to Lupia’s 33.69%, according to unofficial results from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. 

In Mesa County, one of the candidates running to replace Peters in the clerk’s office also worked under Peters in that office: Julie Fisher, who said in an interview, referring to the 2020 election, “I have seen enough information to question what’s going on.” She accused the federal government of lying when it referred to the 2020 election as, in Fisher’s paraphrase, “the cleanest ever.” 

According to the state’s unofficial results last night, Fisher was trailing behind her GOP competitor Bobbie Gross by nearly 2,000 votes. Gross lost to Peters in a close race four years ago, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel noted, and has said “Colorado is on the leading edge of voting.” While there are sometimes one-off cases of fraud in elections, Gross added, it’s “nothing that would overturn an election.” 

It wasn’t all bad news for the state’s headline election conspiracy theorists, however: Dallas Schroeder, the clerk of Elbert County with connections to several prominent Big Lie figures, was also under scrutiny after he admitted to making copies of his county’s voting machine data and passing them off to two attorneys. Schroeder is leaving that office to run for the county commission. He ran unopposed in the GOP primary for Elbert County’s second district.

And Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), the far-right congresswoman who Peters said “encouraged me to go forward with the imaging” of the county’s election machines — a detail Boebert’s spokesperson denied — won her nomination for re-election by a 30-point margin.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the charges against Peters as federal rather than state charges. We regret the error.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: