It was not a surprise that state representative Ron Hanks Y Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters he easily lost his recent Colorado Republican primaries for US Senate and Secretary of State.
skeins He was outscored 14-1 by his rival. pedrosvying to become Colorado’s top election official, had been charged with seven felonies alleging she helped orchestrate a breach of her voting system’s hard drive.
But last week, both candidates formally requested recounts from their June 28 primary election, suggesting widespread irregularities seen only by their own campaigns and allies.
“I have reason to believe that there was gross embezzlement in the June 2022 Primary,” Peters wrote in his recount request, “and that the apparent outcome of this election does not reflect the will of Colorado voters not only for me but also for many other Americans.” Top state and local primary candidates.”
America First is a coalition of conservative candidates and officials who, among other things, promote the falsehood that Democrat Joe Biden did not win the 2020 presidential election.
This idea has gone deep into this year’s Republican primaries, which have revealed a new political strategy among numerous candidates: running on a platform that denies President Trump’s defeat two years ago. As some of those candidates lose their own races, they are reaching new frontiers in election denial by insisting that those primaries, too, were rigged.
“There’s a clear reason why they’re doing it, and it’s a much broader, coordinated attack on the freedom to vote across the country,” said Joanna Lydgate of United States Action. Her group supports election officials who recognize the validity of the 2020 election.
Noting that he coaches youth basketball, Lydgate added another reason: “Really, these are people who are sore losers, people who don’t want to accept defeat.”
The biggest losers have an obvious role model: Trump himself.
After his first electoral loss during his White House bid in 2016, in the Iowa caucuses, Trump unsubstantiated alleged fraud and demanded an investigation. When he was elected president later that year, he claimed that fraud was the reason Democrat Hillary Clinton won more votes than him. Trump created a commission to try to prove that. that commission it was dissolved when he did not present any evidence.
After his 2020 loss, Trump and his supporters lost 63 of 64 legal challenges in the election. trump continued blame fraud, without evidenceeven after his own attorney general Y election reviews in the state it failed to reveal any generalized irregularities that could have any impact on the result.
The denial of this year’s post-primary elections may be a sneak peek into November, when Republicans face Democrats in thousands of contests across the country. The GOP is expected to do well, an expectation that could set the stage for more false claims of fraud when some of those candidates lose.
Still, some Republicans aren’t waiting for Democratic voters to weigh in before making unsubstantiated fraud claims.
Some recent candidates who have done so are relatively marginal.
In Georgia, Trump’s two recruits to challenge the state’s governor and secretary of state, former Sen. David Perdue and Rep. Jody Hice, conceded defeat after losing the May primary. But Kandiss Taylor, a fringe candidate who won just 3% of the vote in the gubernatorial primary, refused to budge, alleging widespread cheating.
In South Carolina, Republican Harrison Musselwhite, known as Trucker Bob, lost his primary to Governor Henry McMaster by 66 percentage points. Still, he complained of problems with the state party election, as did another losing Republican contender, Lauren Martel, who ran for attorney general. The party rejected her claims.
Others who have reported fraud are more prominent.
Joey Gilbert, who came second in the Nevada Republican primary for governor, posted a video on Facebook days after the June count showing him 26,000 short votes. “These elections, the way they’ve been run, are like Swiss cheese,” he said. “There are too many holes.”
gilbert, who attended Trump’s rally near the White House on January 6, 2021, in the face of the US Capitol riot, demanded a recount. The results appear unlikely to materially change the final account. He did not return messages seeking comment.
In Arizona, former news anchor kari lake won Trump’s endorsement in his quest for the party’s nomination for governor, insisting he won the presidency in 2020. Last week, he told supporters that his main opponent in the primary “might be trying to set the stage for another robbery” in the next primary of the month.
That earned him a reprimand from Governor Doug Duceya Republican who has endorsed Lake’s main rival, Karin Taylor Robson.
“The 2022 Election hasn’t even been held yet, and we are already seeing speculation doubting the results, especially if certain candidates lose,” Ducey tweeted. “It’s one of the most irresponsible things I can imagine.”
Lake’s campaign did not return messages seeking comment.
In Colorado, County Clerk Peters immediately questioned the primary results once the count showed she was trailing badly in the race for secretary of state. Claiming fraud as she followed former County Clerk Pam Anderson, a regular debunker of Trump’s election lies, Peters said, “Looking at the results, it’s so obvious it should be changed.”
She and Senate candidate Hanks repeated Trump’s election lies, a position that had won them strong support last spring in the 3,000-member Republican state caucus, a convention attended by the party’s strongest activists. Both candidates, in letters to the secretary of state’s office last week demanding a recount, cited that support to explain why they could not have lost their primaries.
Hanks referred a reporter to a media email address for the two candidates, though no one responded to questions sent to that address.
The activists attending the GOP rally are just a tiny fraction of the 600,000 who voted in the June primary. According to preliminary results, Peters lost by 88,000 votes and Hanks by 56,000 votes.
Their recount letters gave reasons why the candidates believed those vote recounts were “being artificially controlled.”
The Colorado Secretary of State’s office said a recount will cost $236,000 for each candidate. As of Friday night, the deadline set by the office to receive the money, neither candidate had paid, according to spokeswoman Annie Orloff.
This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.