Tina Peters, a county clerk who has been charged with seven felonies related to a scheme to surreptitiously copy sensitive voting data, lost her bid for the Republican nomination for Colorado secretary of state on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press.
She was defeated by Pam Anderson, a longtime local election official who served as a clerk and recorder for Jefferson County and as president of the statewide county clerks’ association. Late Tuesday, Ms. Peters was also trailing Mike O’Donnell, a former nonprofit executive who has promoted numerous falsehoods about the 2020 presidential contest.
Ms. Peters is part of a movement of Trump-inspired Republicans who deny the 2020 election’s legitimacy and are running to be the top election official in their states, including Jim Marchant in Nevada, Audrey Trujillo in New Mexico and Kristina Karamo in Michigan.
Late Tuesday, Ms. Peters declined to concede and argued without evidence that the outcome of her race had been manipulated, The Associated Press reported.
Ms. Anderson, by contrast, has vocally opposed misinformation about the 2020 election and has a page on her campaign website dedicated to debunking conspiracy theories about voting machines and the role of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, in funding elections.
She has, however, pushed to expand auditing processes performed by local election officials in Colorado.
In Colorado, a former swing state that has leaned toward Democrats in recent years, Ms. Anderson faces what is likely to be an uphill battle against Jena Griswold, the current secretary of state and a Democrat.
Ms. Peters’s arraignment on 10 criminal charges, including seven felonies, is set for early August. She has pleaded not guilty.
After the 2020 presidential election, Ms. Peters grew suspicious of the national results, and attended a local event where a presentation was delivered by a high school teacher from Ohio known for spreading false election conspiracy theories.
By May 2021, according to court documents, Ms. Peters was helping orchestrate an operation to copy voting machine data before and after a software update process known as a trusted build, in an attempt to prove that the machines were faulty.
After her office ordered security cameras shut off in a secured area holding voting machines, court records say, Ms. Peters helped Conan Hayes, a former professional surfer who had worked with Mr. Trump’s legal team as it challenged the 2020 results, sneak into the trusted build process under a false identity.
In early August, passwords to the Mesa County election equipment appeared on a QAnon figure’s Telegram channel and then on a right-wing website, leading to an investigation by the Colorado secretary of state that quickly garnered national attention.
Ms. Peters’s newfound celebrity on the right soon led to appearances across the conservative media ecosystem, including on the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon’s podcast.
This February, Ms. Peters announced her bid for secretary of state.
In March, she was indicted on 10 criminal counts related to the effort to copy voting equipment software, including attempting to influence a public servant, criminal impersonation, conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, identity theft and first-degree official misconduct.