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Solomon lands on Colorado’s long list of election conspiracy candidates on Nov. 8

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October 21, 2022, 10:48 am
The Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol (Shutterstock photo).

The Colorado Republican Party has at least 15 candidates on Colorado’s current election ballot who baselessly promote election conspiracies. Depending on how you define “election conspiracist,” there could be many more. 

Here’s a list along with the evidence that landed them here. 

Candidate for U.S. Rep. Erik Aadland. At a campaign event last June, Aadland said that the election was “absolutely rigged.” Video of that speech has since been removed from the JRMC site, as Colorado Newsline recently reported.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Boebert said in December that “the American people deserve secure and fair elections. Unfortunately, the 2020 election was neither of those things.” She openly embraces election fraud conspiracy theories.

State Sen. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park). Baisley was a featured speaker at an election-conspiracy rally in April, and he’s attended multiple events sponsored by election-conspiracy groups.

U.S. Rep. Ken BuckHe acknowledged Biden’s victory, but also backed the Texas lawsuit.

Kenneth DeGraaf, running for a Colorado Springs House seat. DeGraaf promotes election conspiracies on his campaign website, writing that he finds Tina Peters’ “arrest for revealing Dominion vulnerabilities disturbing.” He also links to one of the debunked “reports” on Mesa County election results written by election fraud conspiracy group U.S. Election Integrity Plan. In January, DeGraaf joined a number of fellow El Paso County election deniers on a Zoom call featuring MyPillow CEO and prominent election conspiracist Mike Lindell.

University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, running for Governor. From day one of her campaign until very recently, Ganahl refused to say the 2020 presidential election was legitimate. Furthermore she praised the work of election conspiracist group the U.S. Election Integrity Project (USEIP), and told election-denying supporters that “we’ve got to have such a red tsunami… there’s no fixing it,” referring to the Big Lie. She subsequently selected election denier Danny Moore to be her running mate. 

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. He backed a Texas lawsuit to overturn the results of the 2020 election; refused to certify electoral votes on Jan. 6, saying that “The serious irregularities and improprieties marring the 2020 general election threaten America’s confidence in our electoral system.

Katie Lehr, running for a Colorado Statehouse seat near Boulder. She attended the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and agrees with election-fraud conspiracies.

State Rep. Stephanie Luck (R-Penrose). In April of 2021, Luck was still asking John Eastman, Trump’s insurrectionist lawyer, if there were legal avenues to overturn the 2020 presidential election. And her policy director, Carolyn Martin, represented Luck, who’s introduced bills relating to election conspiracies, at a panel of the U.S. Election Integrity Project (USEIP). Martin also serves as the Politics & Policy Leader for Joe Oltmann’s extremist group FEC United. Luck’s local GOP, the Fremont County Republicans, published a party platform rife with debunked conspiracies concerning Dominion Voting machines and electronic voting.

Danny Moore, candidate for GOP lieutenant governor. Moore has an irrefutable history as an election conspiracist. He has since walked back his stance. 

Melody Peotter, candidate for state Senate District 25. Peotter isn’t just a Big Lie believer, but a professional purveyor of misinformation. She works for MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s Cause of America election conspiracy group, which he launched last year as a national version of the Colorado-based U.S. Election Integrity Plan. Peotter was one of the original members of USEIP.

Peggy Propst, candidate running for Colorado’s State Board of Education. Propst advocated for the debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen.

Ty Winter, running for a southeastern Colorado House seat. Winter made multiple election fraud conspiracy statements on social media following the 2020 election. Winter also served as Chair of the Las Animas County GOP when it posted debunked election fraud conspiracies to its Facebook page.

State Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Park). In December 2020, Van Winkle promoted a “Standing for Trump” petition, which stated that the “establishment media and deep state refuse to acknowledge the growing evidence of election fraud uncovered by the Trump Campaign and other independent investigators.”

Steph Wheeler, GOP candidate for Denver’s House District 2. She worked as the sole paid staffer of FEC United, an extremist election conspiracy group whose founder Joe Oltmann has called for elected officials including Governor Jared Polis to be executed. She also refuses to say whether the 2020 national election was stolen. Wheeler is also a member of and volunteer for the United American Defense Force (UADF), a militia that’s affiliated with FEC United.

State Representatives Rod Bockenfeld (R-Watkins), Marc Catlin (R-Montrose), Luck, Matt Soper (R-Delta), and Dan Woog (R-Erie), as well as state Senators BaisleyJanice Rich (R-Grand Junction), and Van Winkle. These lawmakers, all running in the current election, voted in January to “call into question” whether the 2020 presidential election was legitimate and to urge the decertification of the 2020 election results. They also thanked state Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Cañon City) for being at the Jan. 6 demonstration at the U.S. Capitol, as well as those who joined him there. Baisley, Rich, Soper, and Woog walked back their votes, indicating regret in different degrees, but they didn’t completely clarify that they rejected their votes on the multiple positions reflected in the measure.

Footnote: Colorado state Senate candidate Matt Solomon endorsed the Trump campaign’s “alternate elector” scheme, an illegal subversion of the electoral college proposed by Epshteyn and John Eastman.

Republican Election Deniers Who Aren’t on the Ballot

Here’s a list of Republican election conspiracists, who are not on the ballot but are leaders in the Colorado Republican Party.

Emily Brake, election integrity chair for the Colorado Republican Party. Before working with the Colorado GOP, Brake pushed election fraud conspiracies related to Dominion Voting Systems and signed a symbolic letter refusing to certify Boulder County’s 2020 election results.

CO Republican Party Leader Kristi Burton Brown. Brown supported calls for “forensic audits” of JeffCo and Boulder County results and said GOP should “go on the attack” against Dominion Voting Systems. She also once led FEC United, an election-conspiracy group with its own militia. She won’t say whether 2020 presidential election was rigged.

Randy Corporon, CO Republican National Committeeman. He claimed on Mike Lindell’s TV show that there was evidence of “tremendous amounts of fraud” and that he believed Arizona would decertify its election results.

State Rep. Ron Hanks ran for U.S. Senate on a platform of election conspiracy and says “evidence” proves Biden was “not fairly elected” (at 1:20 in video).

Wayne & Dede Laugesen attended the Jan 6 insurrection.

Former Arapahoe County GOP Secretary and 2021 Cherry Creek School Board candidate Schumé Navarro promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory and election fraud conspiracies on social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. Navarro, who attended the Jan. 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ riot at the U.S. Capitol, is now an Arapahoe GOP district captain and is working on Steve Monahan’s CD6 Congressional campaign as well as helping numerous other candidates in Arapahoe County. 

Indicted Mesa Count Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters. She claims serious election fraud in COand nationally.

Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine. She said Trump won the election, and she convened the Legislative Audit Committee Election Integrity Hearing to investigate potential fraud despite no evidence.

Parker Mayor Jeff ToborgToborg has promoted election fraud conspiracies and previously worked with FEC United serving as its liaison for Republican candidates. 

State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs). He’s promoted the “Standing For Trump” petition, alleging widespread voter fraud and “deep state” interference.

At a convention in April, the leaders of the Colorado Republican Party from counties across the state overwhelmingly nominated election conspiracists to run for Senate, Governor, Secretary of State, and state legislative seats, including a slate of candidates around Colorado Springs. Delegates even briefly nominated Joe Oltmann for Governor, with state Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) providing the second. Oltmann ultimately declined the nomination. Most of these candidates were later defeated in open primaries in which unaffiliated voters participated. However unaffiliated voters’ distaste for the Big Lie hasn’t stopped Republicans from hosting numerous campaign events with election fraud conspiracists.

Where does this leave Colorado’s Republican Party? There are some in the party, to be sure, who reject election deniers and say the 2020 presidential election was legitimate. But a serious portion of the Colorado GOP, including some of its leaders and candidates, continue to promote the Big Lie.

Editor’s Note: James O’Rourke contributed to this article, which first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder website.

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