Colorado Republicans voted Saturday to put a state representative in their primary ballot in the U.S. Senate who attended the Jan. 6 meeting that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol and is a supporter of the lies of former President Donald Trump on the 2020 presidential election.
The meeting is an important step towards the party’s nomination to face Democratic Senator Michael Bennet in November. State Representative Ron Hanks was the leading choice of 3,700 delegates to the GOP state assembly, winning 39% of the vote. His only GOP rival in the June 28 Republican Senate primary is businessman John O’Dea, who chose to distribute petitions to get on the ballot rather than pass through the meeting.
“I fully expected Donald Trump to win in 2020 — and he did,” said Hanks, who has made the election its focal point, to loud cheers from the crowd at an arena in Colorado Springs. “When we saw what we saw on Election Night in 2020, everything changed just like the changes we felt after 9/11.”
The meeting showed how Trump’s election lies are at the center of party loyalties, even if repeated audits and assessments — including by Trump’s own Justice Department — found no significant voter fraud in the contest.
The assembly passed a resolution calling for an end to Colorado’s universal postal voting system, with each voter receiving a ballot by mail.
Hanks supporters also gathered around Tina Peters, a clerk in a western Colorado county who has been charged with her alleged role in copying confidential voting data widely posted online by Trump supporters.
Peters, who was barred by a judge from overseeing last year’s local elections, is running for the GOP nomination for Colorado’s top election agency, Secretary of State. She won 61% of the vote in Saturday’s events. Two other Republican candidates — businessman Michael O’Donnell, who came in second in Saturday’s meeting, and Pam Anderson, a former suburban county official who avoided the meeting and petitioned in support of her candidacy — will also participate in the vote. in June for the GOP nomination.
Greg Lopez, a former mayor of suburban Denver, was the top vote-catcher for the party’s governor nomination after promising to pardon Peters if he was elected governor. He and Heidi Ganahl, a member of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents, will face each other in the June primary. The winner will challenge Democratic Government Jared Polis.
Candidates for office across the state must gain the support of at least 30% of the delegates to be placed on the primary ballot, or circulate petitions gathered in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. Five other Republican Senate hopefuls evenly split the remaining votes, none of them reaching the critical 30% threshold and ending their campaigns.
Hanks, an Air Force veteran and former military intelligence officer, has quickly become a polarizing figure in Colorado politics after winning the 2020 state house election. in Arizona’s largest county and file a lawsuit against Democratic state secretary of state Jena Griswold to force a similar overhaul of Colorado’s electoral system.
His rival, O’Dea, has instead focused his campaign on economic and social issues.