Tina Peters, the Trump-supporting county clerk facing multiple felony charges for allegedly compromising the security of her own election office, lost her bid to be Colorado’s next secretary of state Tuesday.
Peters faced off against Pam Anderson, a former county clerk who chaired the state’s county clerks association and called for a “return to professionalism,” and Mike O’Donnell, who promised to “clean” Colorado’s “dirty” voter rolls and asserted without evidence that bad actors have likely exploited weaknesses in voting machines.
The AP called the race shortly after 8 p.m. local time. With 95% reporting, Anderson was leading with 43.2% of the vote, and Peters trailed in third place with 28.3%.
“This is not over,” Peters reportedly told supporters. True to form, Peters called the results into questions, calling them fraudulent.
Though Peters was the favorite by far among hard core Republican voters who met at the party’s state convention in April, the broader GOP electorate apparently wasn’t willing to put a candidate accused of multiple election-office-related felonies in charge of running the state’s elections.
“I think when you stand up with the truth and fight back against lies and stand up to bullies, people really respect that,” Anderson told the Denver Post on election night.
Peters was indicted by a grand jury in March on multiple counts, including criminal impersonation and attempting to influence a public servant, for an alleged scheme to violate the Mesa County clerk’s office security protocols. The scheme ended with the public leak of digital images of the county’s election machines. Since the breach, state judges have repeatedly granted incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s (D) request to prohibit Peters from administering elections in Mesa County, appointing interim officials in the meantime.
The alleged scheme involved making a county ID badge for a local man, Gerald Wood, and then using that badge to allow another person into a “trusted build” — an in-person software update for election machines. Sensitive data from Mesa County election machines was then leaked to a prominent QAnon figure, and was discussed at MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” last August.
Peters has benefited greatly from Lindell’s support: In addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars Lindell said he donated to Peters’ defense fund, the bedding magnate briefly helped Peters go into hiding as the heat grew more intense following his “symposium” last year.
Peters has maintained her innocence, even accusing Wood, whose identity she allegedly stole when she created a name tag for him, of lying to the grand jury. “I did not perjure myself,” Wood recently told the Colorado Sun. “I am considered a victim in this. I wasn’t there and I wasn’t part of this.”
However, another man recently confirmed that he was at the trusted build wearing a name badge that did not belong to him: Conan Hayes, a former professional surfer who’s worked as an IT guy of sorts for the Big Lie movement, and who has popped up across the country to help cast benign digital information as scary-sounding election theft fodder.
Peters’ campaign website framed her alleged crimes as a valiant struggle for truth and transparency. “One brave public official has finally stepped forward to blow the whistle on the lack of transparency and security in our elections—and the Left is determined to take her down,” the site proclaimed.
As she ginned up another round of election-denialism, this time around her own defeat, Peters said on election night: “I’m sorry we had faith in the system once again.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the charges against Peters as federal rather than state charges. We regret the error.