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The Election Deniers Dominating The Primaries In Colorado

Rep. Lauren Boebert may be the most well-known “Big Lie” supporter running in the Colorado primaries, but she’s far from being the only one.


Kaleigh Rogers: Back in March, I flew out to talk to Tina Peters, the clerk for Mesa County, Colorado. Peters had recently been indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts, including seven felony charges, for allegedly letting an unauthorized individual access election equipment made by the company Dominion Voting Systems. According to the allegations, Peters allowed this person to make copies of election equipment hard drives, which were later leaked to a QAnon conspiracy theorist and displayed at a “Big Lie” event held by Mike Lindell, the MyPillow guy and a huge proponent of former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Since the events that led to her charges, Peters has claimed that she uncovered evidence of election fraud — claims that have been debunked by experts who have analyzed her reports. Now, Peters is running for Colorado secretary of state — a position with a lot of control over a state’s election administration. She’s one of many Big Lie supporters on the ballot in this week’s primary races. FiveThirtyEight and ABC News have been tracking candidates who have either questioned Trump’s loss, said the 2020 election was illegitimate or took legal action to overturn its results. While there are Big Lie believers running in every state this week, we’re going to focus on Peters’s home state, where a number of high-profile races include Big Lie proponents.

The Republican Senate race in Colorado has also attracted a prominent election denier: state Rep. Ron Hanks. Hanks said he was inspired to run for Senate after attending an event hosted by Lindell. In one of his campaign videos Hanks said that there’s “evidence of fraud in multiple states” that supports the conclusion President Biden was not lawfully elected. He then shot what appears to be a photocopier labeled “voting machine” with a very big gun.

Ron Hanks: I’m Ron Hanks. And I approved this message.

Rogers: Then there’s Lauren Boebert, who represents the district where Mesa County is located: Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Boebert is a fervent Trump supporter. I saw her speak at the local Republican Assembly in March. Here’s what she told the crowd:

Lauren Boebert: … one of the first actions I had as your United States congresswoman was being one of 147 people in the United States of America to vote against the certification of the 2020 election.

Rogers: While Boebert is certainly still popular in her district, she is facing a challenger who’s hoping to attract voters who don’t enjoy her bombastic style. Republican state Sen. Don Coram is one of the few Republicans running in the primaries this year who not only doesn’t support Trump’s Big Lie, he rejected it, saying “There’s no evidence that has come forward that Joe Biden is not the duly elected president.”

It’s been a busy few weeks in the primaries, and we’ve seen a number of Big Lie candidates winning their party’s nomination. For elections that had been called through June 20, 52 percent of Republican nominees have either said the election was stolen or questioned the results. If you want to see which candidates in your state support the Big Lie, follow along with FiveThirtyEight.


Kaleigh Rogers is FiveThirtyEight’s technology and politics reporter.


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