Tina Peters, the Colorado county clerk who flogged election conspiracy theories and was then indicted for allegedly breaching her own voting machines, lost her primary bid to become the secretary of state.
And then she did exactly what you would expect: She denied she lost, cried fraud, and vowed to keep fighting.
“It’s not over,” Peters reportedly told supporters at her watch party, while she was 15 percentage points behind the actual winner, Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk.
“I’m sorry we had faith in the system once again.”
Peters’ loss will be a blow to a cast of her fellow election deniers, including prominent backer Mike Lindell, who are clinging to the baseless notion that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
Now they have a new cause.
“Biggest fraud!!! We caught them!!!” Lindell, the MyPillow mogul, frantically texted The Daily Beast late on Tuesday night, referring to the Peters race. “We caught them in their fraud!!! Prison for Dominion!”
“How the votes came in (in real time). This is impossible!!!!!” he continued.
The trouncing comes three months after Peters was indicted by a grand jury on 10 misdemeanor and felony charges stemming from her role in the breaching of election machines in Mesa following the 2020 election.
She and a deputy are accused of plotting to turn off security cameras and letting an unauthorized person access those machines—information from which was published by conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins.
The indictment capped a turbulent 10-month stretch that saw Peters get arrested for obstructing police officers who were serving a search warrant for her iPad, make an appearance at a far-right event where a speaker advocated "hangings” for those who commit election fraud, and frequently join Lindell’s livestreaming website, Frank Speech. At one point, Peters went into hiding at a Lindell “safe house.”
Controversy swirled around Peters even before Trump’s 2020 loss.
In 2019, her office allegedly left 570 ballots uncounted and let others escape from a ballot drop box. Patti Inscho, a former Mesa County Clerk employee, was enlisted to help Peters get organized—but Peters fired her within two months. A Peters staffer then sued Inscho, alleging delinquency.
“Tina didn’t want to fight facts,” Inscho told The Daily Beast at the time. “She wanted to damage people. She did and said a lot of things about me that are untrue. It hurt my reputation, and it’s hard to fight back against.”
Anderson, the primary winner who will be the Republican on the ballot on Election Day, has publicly declared that there is no evidence of fraud in the 2020 presidential vote.
In a statement after the victory, she said that if she is elected the state’s top election officer, she “will support local election officials through reliance on evidence-based elections, adherence to the law, training, and funding resources.
“I will be the fair referee for Colorado to continue to improve both access for voters and securing and enhancing our elections. These efforts won’t be driven by partisan politics or campaign talking points but focused on policy and rebuilding confidence in our elections by removing the rhetoric and outright lies that are driving debates in echo chambers.”