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Democracy itself is on the ballot in Tuesday’s Colorado primary election

June 24, 2022, 8:41 am
Donald Trump
Donald Trump

With the June Jan. 6 hearings wrapping up Thursday and Colorado’s primary election set for Tuesday, June 28, the debate over where candidates stand on the 2020 presidential contest – whether they still believe in “the big lie” or the fact of a free and fair election – is raging from Eagle County to Washington, D.C.

It’s too late to mail in your Colorado primary ballot, but not too late to vote on a slate of candidates who could have an enormous say at the state level in how future federal and local elections are conducted and whether everyone has the same access to voting.

With the future of representative democracy at stake with this and every ensuing local, state and federal election, RealVail.com has been asking candidates their positions on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the role of state lawmakers and election officials (more from our local candidates below).

The bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6thAttack on the U.S. Capitol concluded its June hearings with a fifth edition on Thursday, with more hearings on tap for July. So far, the committee has done an excellent job detailing just how close the country came to a full-blown crisis.

In the first hearing, it was demonstrated how former President Donald Trump’s closest campaign and legal advisors told him he had had lost the election to President Joe Biden but Trump spread the big lie anyway, seeking out allies everywhere.

In the second hearing, Trump was shown to have knowingly fleeced his base of supporters by spreading the big lie for financial gain, raking in huge amounts of cash for a legal defense fund that did not exist. The lie led to deadly violence on Jan. 6.

The third hearing showed how Vice President Mike Pence looked for reasons to back Trump’s corrupt electoral college scheme, devised by complicit attorney John Eastman while he worked for the University of Colorado, but balked when he was advised such a plot was illegal.

The pressure campaign on Pence, including while he was on a family vacation in Vail over the Christmas holiday in 2020, included veiled threats from Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, whose district includes part of Eagle County.

Boebert, who on Jan. 6 proclaimed “Today is 1776”, took this shot at Pence on Jan. 2: “VP Pence needs to be Thomas Jefferson in this moment,” Boebert tweeted, referencing a precedent that did not exist. “We have your back if you’ve got ours, @VP.” Boebert faces a GOP primary challenge on Tuesday from moderate Republican state Sen. Don Coram.

Lauren Boebert

In the Jan. 6 committee’s fourth hearing, the real-life impacts of Trump’s big lie – beyond the fatalities and injured police during the assault – were demonstrated by state and local election officials who were threatened and attacked across the country. The illegal scheme to send illegitimate alternate slates of electors to Washington was also revealed in greater detail.

And in Thursday’s fifth hearing, lawmakers showed proof of how Trump nearly pressured the U.S. Justice Department into falsely claiming the election was stolen – a plot that was only derailed by the threat of mass resignations by Justice officials.

Perhaps most importantly, the committee has demonstrated that Trump and many members of the Republican Party are engaged in an ongoing plot to undermine more than two centuries of institutional norms that support the very foundations of American democracy, and that, given the chance, they will try again in 2024.

Besides big lie proponents such as Boebert on Tuesday’s ballot, indicted and disgraced Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is trying to become Colorado secretary of state, Jan. 6 participant Ron Hanks wants to be a U.S. senator, and CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, who refuses to condemn Eastman for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, wants to be Colorado governor.

Those are just a few reasons to head to a vote center or find a drop box on Tuesday. Also on the ballot for Republicans or unaffiliated voters who choose to vote GOP (only submit one party’s ballot or both will be thrown out), is the state House District 26 race, which includes most of Eagle County.

Republican Savannah Wolfson of Oak Creek takes on Glenn Lowe of Eagle, who has not answered any of RealVail.com’s campaign questions. Democrat Meghan Lukens of Steamboat Springs does not have a primary opponent.

Here’s how Wolfson and Lukens stand on abortion and reproductive rights as the U.S. Supreme Court overturns nearly 50 years of legal precedent, and how they answered questions about the 2020 election:

RV: Is Joe Biden the freely and fairly elected president of the United States, or do you agree with former President Donald Trump that there was widespread voter fraud in 2020?

ML: Joe Biden is the freely and fairly elected President of the United States.

SW: Joe Biden was certified by the electoral college and is president of the United States, or we would not be dealing with the massive fallout of his failed presidency. We must look forward, take back the Legislative branch in ‘22, and stop his extreme agendas. In his short amount of time in office, he has shown the American people that you cannot give the government more power without taking power away from sovereign individuals. His foreign policy all over the world has been both dangerous and embarrassing, and the debacle in Afghanistan made me question, as a military spouse, that the life of my husband is valued by our government. On the subject of voter fraud, there are always things we can do to increase election security, and we should do them moving forward. I encourage everyone who reads this to become an election judge this year and stay until the process is done. We have had a shortage of Republican election judges in this district in the past, and it’s time to change that.

RV: Do you agree with an RNC resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger [for serving on the Jan. 6 committee] and declaring Jan. 6 “legitimate political discourse”?

ML: No.

SW: I am ready to look forward and deal with our local issues, and I think most Coloradans are too. The average moms and dads I talk to in our district are not very worried about Liz Cheney in their day to day lives. They are worried about filling their tanks with gas and focused on their childrens’ education. The ranchers are worried about wolf reintroduction and the constant attacks on agriculture from state leadership. The energy workers are worried about their jobs being shut down. These are the areas I am focused on improving.

RV: Should Colorado pass laws and take actions aimed at election security up to and including sending alternate presidential electors in the 2024 presidential election?

ML: Colorado is a leader in voting rights and election security. Our voting system in the state of Colorado has proven to be effective, safe, and accessible. I do not see a need to send alternate presidential electors in the 2024 presidential election. 

SW: I’m always for improving security where there are gaps, and that should be bipartisan. I do not agree that our system legally allows alternate electors. However, if non-candidates want to take action, they can do so by becoming an election judge and staying until the process is over. We all want to bring balance back to the state legislature and that is what I will do as your legislator.

In the state Senate District 8 race, there are no primary challengers for Republican Matt Solomon of Eagle and Democrat Dylan Roberts of Avon, but here’s where they stand on the 2020 election ahead of the Nov. 8 general election:

RV: Is Joe Biden the freely and fairly elected president of the United States, or do you agree with former President Donald Trump that there was widespread voter fraud in 2020?

DR: Joe Biden is the freely and fairly elected President.

MS: Joe Biden was sworn into office as our President in January 2020. Until and unless the courts show otherwise, he is our president.

RV: Do you agree with the RNC resolution censuring Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger [for serving on the Jan. 6 committee] and declaring Jan. 6 “legitimate political discourse”?

DR: No.

MS: The political environment in our country has been so divisive and negative, it is no wonder the majority of people in our Senate District 8 are unaffiliated or claim independence. January 6 is one more example of this negative divisiveness that we must overcome.

RV: Should Colorado pass laws and take actions aimed at election security up to and including sending alternate presidential electors in the 2024 presidential election?

DR: Our Colorado Constitution and election laws set forth a clear and reliable way to elect the President and all other elected offices. Colorado also has a secure, reliable, and consistently-audited election system that works well. I am always open to changes to law that make our elections more reliable and secure but do not see a reason to consider alternate electors or any reforms along those lines. 

MS: While none of us in Senate District 8 want to be micro managed by an overbearing government and we all want to have the utmost faith in the process, election security is a very important issue. It could include everything from alternate presidential electors, to mandatory identifications for voters, to special paper on which ballots would be printed. Before agreeing that Colorado “should pass laws and take actions,” though, we must first read and understand the language of said proposals so we can ensure the long-term goals of fair, free, and secure elections are actually met.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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