Colorado GOP deals blow to election denial movement

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DENVER (AP) — Republicans in Colorado on Tuesday dismissed two of the state’s most prominent election deniers, a setback for the movement to install those who echo former President Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud by mass at voting supervision posts.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who rose to national prominence after being indicted for her role in a breach of her own county electoral system, lost her candidacy for the Colorado electoral position to Pam Anderson, a former suburban Denver clerk who criticized Trump. election lies. Anderson will face Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold in November.


State Representative Ron Hanks, who attended the Jan. 6 rally and claimed President Joe Biden was not properly elected, lost his bid for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate to Joe O’ Dea, a businessman backed by establishment Republicans in Washington and Colorado.

The twin losses add to a very mixed record of Trump’s move. So far, four proponents of his campaign lies have won Republican primaries for secretary of state, including in New Mexico and Nevada. But he also suffered embarrassing losses, such as in Georgia, where the challengers he recruited lost heavily to Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who refused to declare him the winner in 2020 because Biden won the state.

Tuesday’s rulings in Colorado came as voters in six other states headed to the polls in the first primaries since the Supreme Court revoked women’s constitutional right to have an abortion. Abortion was a dominant issue in the Colorado Senate race because O’Dea is a rare Republican supporter of most abortion rights. He supports banning late-term abortions, but said the decision any sooner should be between “a woman and her God”. He will face Democratic Senator Michael Bennet in November.

Hanks opposes abortion under all circumstances, including rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Deeming him the easiest candidate to beat in November, Democrats spent more than $4 million to bolster his candidacy.

A similar strategy worked in Illinois, where state senator and farmer Darren Bailey won Trump’s endorsement and more than $16 million in support from Democrats, who pushed conservatives to choose him over Richard Irvin, the first black mayor of Aurora, the state’s second largest city. Irvin was seen as a much more formidable challenger to Governor JB Pritzker and was strongly supported by Republican donors.

Speaking at his victory party, Bailey said he stood up for ‘ordinary people’ and vowed to surpass Pritzker and win in November.

“Now the elites and the press are saying Pritzker is a shoo-in. They say our fate is set, a farmer can’t beat a billionaire,” Bailey said. “My friends, the funny thing is that these same people said we couldn’t win the primary.”

Beyond Colorado and Illinois, elections were taking place in Oklahoma, Utah, New York, Nebraska, Mississippi and South Carolina. Tuesday marks the final round of multi-state primary nights through August, when closely watched races for governor and the U.S. Senate take place in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri and other states.

And while Tuesday’s primaries are the first to occur in a post-Roe landscape, they offer additional insight into the resonance of Trump’s election among GOP voters.

In Oklahoma, one of the nation’s most conservative senators, James Lankford, won his main challenge from evangelical pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, amid conservative anger that Lankford failed to back Trump’s campaign demands.

In Utah, two Republican critics of Trump are targeting Sen. Mike Lee, accusing the two-term senator of being too preoccupied with currying favor with the former president and helping him try to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In Mississippi, Rep. Michael Guest, a Republican who resisted Trump to vote for an independent commission on Jan. 6, faces a challenge from Michael Cassidy, a former Navy pilot.

Also in Colorado, incendiary Rep. Lauren Boebert easily defeated her main challenger, moderate state senator Don Coram.

Other GOP opportunities in the state arise in the newly created congressional swing seat north of Denver, where four Republican candidates are vying to take on State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, the only Democrat to run for the primary. Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican elected statewide as a member of the University of Colorado board of trustees, won the GOP nomination to face Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

In Colorado Springs, Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who faces regular primary challenges, this time fires back at state Rep. Dave Williams, who failed to get the phrase “Let’s go to Brandon,” code for an obscenity against President Joe Biden, added to his official name on the ballot.

In addition to the gubernatorial race primary, Illinois also features two rare incumbent vs. incumbent congressional primaries as a result of House districts being reshuffled in last year’s redistricting. Democratic Representatives Sean Casten and Marie Newman will run for a Chicago-area seat. And GOP Rep. Rodney Davis, one of the last remaining moderates in the Republican caucus, faces Trump-backed Rep. Mary Miller, who at a rally with the former president over the weekend described the decision of the Supreme Court as “a victory for white life”. A spokesperson said she meant “right to life”.

In small-town Illinois, conservative voters yearned for change. Toni Block, 80, of McHenry, about 45 miles northwest of Chicago, voted for Bailey in the governor’s primary.

“He’s got all the good stuff that we need to get back to,” Block said. “Not only is he a Trump supporter, but he has our values.”

In New York, Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who became state chief executive last fall when Andrew Cuomo stepped down over a sexual harassment scandal, pushed back against major challenges from the left and center. New York City’s elected public attorney Jumaane Williams argued that Hochul had not been active enough on progressive issues while Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi criticized her for being too liberal in matter of crime.

On the Republican side, Rep. Lee Zeldin is the favorite in a crowded gubernatorial primary field that includes Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor and Trump confidant Rudolph Giuliani. Trump did not make an endorsement in the race.

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Associated Press writer Sara Burnett in Chicago and Claire Savage in McHenry, Illinois, contributed to this report.

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Follow AP for full midterm election coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

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