Top Ten Stories of 2021 #5: The Tragicomedy of #MesaGate

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

In early August, word first broke of a breach of election systems security in Mesa County involving Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, after Secretary of State Jena Griswold became aware of passwords and eventually the complete image of the operating system installed on the county’s Dominion Voting Systems election hardware had been leaked to election conspiracy theory website The Gateway Pundit and Ron Watkins, believed credibly by many to be the fabricator of the “QAnon” urban legend.

The data was stolen as part of what Clerk Peters now freely admits was her plan to “investigate” the belief expressed to her by some of “her constituents” that the 2020 elections had been decided unfairly against Donald Trump. In January, Peters had joined in the chorus of election second-guessing despite her own certification of the election in Mesa County as trouble-free. By May, as we know now, Peters had progressed beyond speculating about the election to a half-baked plan to “prove” the grand fraud of 2020 with a little help from local friends–including Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

Which didn’t happen, of course. It was quickly determined that the passwords leaked to conspiracy websites don’t work remotely, debunking a key contention of the conspiracy theorists. A further amateur-hour “inspection” of hard drive images obtained of the operating system of a Dominion computer initially claimed that “thousands of files were deleted,” with no apparent comprehension of how operating systems work or what is legally required to be retained as election data. The pilfered Mesa County data was celebrated by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell as the latest in his string of “bombshell” developments–which have all fallen apart under light scrutiny.

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Up the food chain, Republican candidates like Heidi Ganahl are flopping like fishes trying to reconcile their own participation in the election process with the belief of a majority of Republican primary voters that the process is rigged against them. Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 elections has made it impossible for Republicans to move on, imposing a litmus test on all Republican candidates that alienates the majority of general election voters.

In mid-November, the FBI and local law enforcement executed search warrants against Clerk Peters, Sherronna Bishop, and several others of interest in what was subsequently disclosed as a federal wire fraud investigation. After months of silence, Rep. Lauren Boebert announced that she had held a meeting with Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein, who had assured her to her satisfaction that the investigation was being carried out lawfully–a crushing blow not just to Peters and Bishop but also to the “Big Lie” election conspiracy theory movement. After all, if Peters is not a heroic whistleblower who should be given a medal instead of felony charges, what has all of this been for?

The rest of us know the answer: these people sacrificed themselves–possibly their literal freedom–to appease Donald Trump’s ego. Exactly like the January 6th insurrectionists Trump incited to violence and then left to twist in the judicial system, it’s the little people like Tina Peters who pay dearest for the “Big Lie.”

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. gertie97 says:

    Life is tough, Tina. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Tina is one of those little people who is little in mind and morals too.

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    The situation includes the on-going FBI and district 21 attorney's investigation. But beyond that TBD process, there are

     * a block on Peters and her Deputy, Belinda Knisley, serving as Designated Election Officers.  I'm assuming that is still in place for the 2022 primaries and general election.

     * the Deputy being suspended (with pay) from her position in the Clerk's office.

     * the Deputy facing charges of second-degree burglary and cyber crime.

     * the Deputy (at least) dealing with HR allegations of a hostile workplace.

     * the Ethics investigation of Peters concerning the "gifts" from Lindell.

     * potential campaign violations of not reporting donations to a legal defense fund.

    Any updates on those other processes?

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    Speaking of Lindell, . . .

    . . . How did we all somehow miss the Supreme Court’s 9-0 overturning of the election?  Do we have another new date?  Did that mysterious and handsome FBI agent steal Tina’s calendar? And, will she and Sherronna be able to find two compatible brain donors in time for the operations they both so desperately need?

    . . . Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the shocking answers to all these questions, and more, on the next dramatic episode of: As the Nutters Turn, Mesa County.

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