As Kyle Clark reports for 9News, — confirmed by Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel — the moment you knew was eventually coming has arrived: Embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters has announced that she will seek the Republican nomination for Secretary of State (SOS) instead of running for re-election in 2022.
This news is a bit of a surprise in that Peters had previously said that she would not run for SOS, though this is also a move that she has hinted toward in the past. What changed in recent days/weeks is probably that Peters continues to find herself in all sorts of legal trouble related to her efforts last year to break into her own voting systems in order to prove some sort of 2020 election fraud.
Because of both her growing legal problems and her rising fame among the right-wing base of Republicans in Colorado, a Peters run for SOS always felt inescapable. Peters is a devout follower of Donald Trump, who ran for President in 2016 at least in part to help shield himself from his own legal woes. There is a certain sort of twisted logic to running for higher office in the hope that increasing your public profile makes investigators more reluctant to keep digging into your history; don’t think for a minute that this isn’t a significant factor in Peters’ decision.
Peters is also feeling the love in her own little bubble. She showed up last week to an FEC United event in Castle Rock, Colorado where speakers were quite literally calling for the hanging of elected officials such as Democratic SOS Jena Griswold. She was greeted there as a conquering hero rather than a bumbling criminal:
Shortly after Smith’s threat of violence, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters arrived to a standing ovation from the crowd. pic.twitter.com/J9oLPogSRc
— Chase Woodruff (@dcwoodruff) February 11, 2022
The decision by Peters to run for SOS is, to put it lightly, problematic for the Colorado Republican Party. With Peters in the race, it’s much more difficult for the likes of gubernatorial candidate
Hiedi Heidi Ganahl to get distance from her shenanigans, which undoubtedly do not play well with average voters. Every Republican candidate for every office in Colorado is now going to get asked about whether or not they support Peters and her run for SOS; if you want to win a Republican Primary without crippling your changes in a General Election, there’s no great answer here.
The Peters’ candidacy is also a donkey kick to Republican efforts to win back the SOS office in 2022. The GOP found a “good on paper” candidate in former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson, but Anderson’s public acceptance of — you know — reality puts her at odds with the GOP base that will be voting in a June Primary Election. In this environment, Peters is immediately the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination in 2022, and the circus she brings along with her will be helpful to other conspiracy-minded candidates such as Senate candidate Ron Hanks.
Republicans did this to themselves by playing footsie with election fraud conspiracies and the people who promote them. Tina Peters for SOS was sadly…inevitable.