Tina Peters, the Colorado county clerk now facing federal charges for an alleged conspiracy theory-fueled scheme to breach her county election systems’ security protocols, was the clear favorite of core Republican Party voters who met Saturday to pick their 2022 candidates.
Roughly 3,700 delegates attended Saturday’s state Republican Party assembly, and Peters received 61% of the vote for Secretary of State, more than twice what was necessary to appear on the primary ballot, the Associated Press reported. That was the highest percentage of any candidate in any contested race Saturday, Colorado Public Radio noted.
Should she win the June primary and November’s general election, Peters would be Colorado’s top elections official.
The overwhelming support from party faithful came despite — or, maybe, because of — Peters’ recent 10-count federal indictment for an alleged scheme to bypass election data security protocols in the Mesa County clerk’s office.
“They made me sleep on the concrete jail floor for 30 hours, because I protected your election data,” Peters, who’s actually accused of criminally doing the opposite, told the crowd Saturday.
Peters’ alleged scheme, according to the indictment, involved stealing the identity of a local man in order to create an extra security pass for the elections office. It resulted in the distribution of confidential information from county election systems, a federal grand jury charged.
Peters has been prohibited by a judge from handling election matters, but that didn’t stop the Republican delegates gathered Saturday from throwing their weight behind her.
The top vote-getter Saturday to be Colorado’s next governor, Greg Lopez, said in a speech that “if Tina Peters should be falsely accused — as governor, I will pardon her.”
And Peters appeared on stage with her ally, state Rep. Ron Hanks, an 2020 election denier who crossed police lines in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, and who was the top vote-getter for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination Saturday.
Second-place secretary of state finisher Michael O’Donnell, and another candidate, Pam Anderson, will also appear on the primary ballot alongside Peters.
The Mesa County clerk recently appeared at a rally with Lindell, a longtime supporter and benefactor. The pillow magnate said he’d donated up to $800,000 for Peters’ legal defense — seeming to violate state law, which generally caps such donations at $65. Peters subsequently denied knowing about Lindell paying for her legal defense, even though she’d previously promoted Lindell’s fundraising efforts.
Whatever her legal troubles, Peters’ success Saturday showed the ongoing political power — fueled by Donald Trump — of the Big Lie: Last month, the leader of Colorado’s Republican Party, Kristi Burton Brown, called on Peters to suspend her secretary of state campaign due to the federal indictment filed against her.
On Sunday, Burton Brown tweeted Peters and other party assembly winners a big “CONGRATS!”