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Former county clerk Pam Anderson has won the Republican nomination for Colorado secretary of state, the Associated Press projected Tuesday night, easily defeating Tina Peters, a county election official who has spread unproven voter fraud claims and was indicted earlier this year for allegedly tampering with local voting machines.
The AP called Tuesday’s primary race for Anderson—who previously served as clerk of Colorado’s Jefferson County—at 9:40 p.m. Eastern, with more than 50% of the vote counted.
Anderson is leading with 44.8% of the vote, well ahead of nonprofit leader Mike O’Donnell (28.7%) and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (26.5%).
Meanwhile, Anderson told the Sun she believes the 2020 presidential race was fair and accurate, and denounced “mis- and dis-information about the election” in an interview with Axios.
But prosecutors say Peters went further than merely claiming the 2020 election was stolen: In March, a local grand jury indicted Peters on 10 counts, accusing Peters and her deputy of planning a “deceptive scheme” to let an unauthorized person take images of sensitive county election equipment while looking into fraud claims last year.
Images and passwords from Mesa County voting systems surfaced on right-wing sites last August, after the breach, which Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) blamed on Peters.
Peters has called the charges against her politically motivated, and told the Sun “I will never plead guilty because I’ve committed no crime.” In an interview with a Denver TV station last year, Peter said she “did a back-up image” of election systems ahead of a software update because she was “concerned that they were going to delete some important election files.”
Last month, a judge prohibited Peters from overseeing this year’s primary and general election in Mesa County due to the charges against her. The same judge also barred Peters from supervising last November’s election as a result of the allegations, finding Peters and her deputy—neither of whom had been criminally charged yet—”neglected their duties.”
What To Watch For
Anderson will face off in a November general election against Griswold, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Polling in the election is limited, but Griswold defeated Republican incumbent Wayne Williams by a 5.8-point margin in 2018.
Republicans in multiple states have pushed unsubstantiated voter fraud allegations over the last 18 months in support of former President Donald Trump’s false insistence his 2020 election loss was due to widespread voter fraud. This year, baseless fraud claims have seeped into political campaigns: Prominent voter fraud believers are also running in secretary of state races in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan. In some cases, local officials have also sought to investigate unfounded fraud allegations on their own. Some GOP lawmakers in Arizona commissioned a bizarre and controversial audit of 2020 election results in Maricopa County last year, Pennsylvania Republicans pushed for a similar audit, and a more routine election review in a small New Hampshire town was seized upon by Trump supporters who believed it would surface proof of vote-rigging. Meanwhile, elected officials in a rural New Mexico county briefly refused to certify primary election results this month due to vague suspicions about voting machines, before finally certifying the race following a court order.
The Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ election security controversy, explained (Colorado Public Radio)