Top Ten Stories of 2022 #10: The Faithful Choose The Crazies

2022 U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks (R).

In order to understand the historic disaster that unfolded for Colorado Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, a good place to begin is the results of the Republican Party state assembly in April. Historically, winning the state assembly is not a reliable predictor of success in the primary election, but it is a reliable indicator of where the party’s most dedicated organizers and influencers are.

And as Colorado Public Radio reported on that fateful Saturday, April 9, the GOP faithful chose candidates for the primary ballot who would come back to haunt them:

Republicans on Saturday set the stage for competitive primary elections in a statewide assembly that was dominated by talk of election security and gender politics — along with high hopes for the party’s return to power in Colorado.

The nominees include some of the party’s most prominent election deniers. Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who has been indicted for the alleged theft of election systems data, will take the top line among three Republican candidates to challenge Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Ron Hanks shut out all other assembly candidates and will be one of only two names on the party’s U.S. Senate primary ballot, alongside businessman Joe O’Dea, who petitioned on. They’re vying to challenge Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet. Hanks has embraced false claims that the 2020 elections were stolen and has been closely involved with Peters and a national network of election skeptics…

The result of the GOP state assembly, especially in the U.S. Senate race where multiple ostensibly viable candidates were knocked out of the race by insurrectionist state Rep. Ron Hanks, was a major shock to Colorado Republican strategists hoping to regain ground after punishing defeats in the two previous election cycles. Hanks’ resounding win at the assembly left only unknown self-funding construction executive Joe O’Dea, who petitioned on the ballot, to oppose Hanks for the U.S. Senate nomination.

Recognizing that Hanks would be not just a concession of the race but a source of collateral damage for the rest of the Republican ticket–like Hiedi Heidi Ganahl proved to be, but that’s for another post–“establishment” Republicans and their pundit-class mouthpieces leaned in hard to prop up O’Dea, casting any pretense of neutrality to the wind in a desperate attempt to stave off Hanks. In the Secretary of State’s race, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ felony indictments didn’t faze the party faithful one bit, and her win at the state assembly likewise terrified country club Republicans into openly boosting the eventual nominee Pam Anderson.

With some help from unaffiliated voters who were receptive to the false argument from establishment Republicans that candidates who won their party’s assemblies were being imposed upon then by “meddling” Democrats, Hanks, Peters, and Ganahl’s feckless opponent Greg Lopez all lost in the June 28th primary election. It’s true that Democrats trolled the Senate and gubernatorial races by promoting Hanks and Lopez in ads intended to have backhanded appeal to conservative voters. In response, Republicans put all their chips on the argument that “Democratic meddling” had made the winning candidates more electable.

As we know now, that’s not what happened. After Joe O’Dea and Heidi Ganahl had a brief honeymoon with national political press falsely casting them as “moderate” victors over Democratic shenanigans, both of these campaigns fell apart after they failed with absolutely no one’s help to live up to that billing. As we’ll explain in upcoming posts, O’Dea and Ganahl each squandered their June primary victories in different ways. But their spirals downward began with a common hubris, borne of denial of what today’s Republican Party has become–and how far out of touch they are even at the highest levels from a majority of Colorado voters.

It’s a problem so fundamental that we do not have a solution, so fortunately that is not our job.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. 2Jung2Die says:

    I got inspired by some of the "Jesus, Prince of Peace" stuff I heard over the past few days. Rhetorical question – how long until His followers start denouncing campaigns where the candidates basically use WMDs to get their point across?

  2. Matt A. Harry says:

    She was granted Trump dispensation. She had other "talents". 

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