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Tina Peters, under multiple investigations, announces she's running for Secretary of State

Mesa County clerk under grand jury investigation for alleged election breaches
tina peters.png
Posted at 10:15 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 22:44:20-05

DENVER — Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who was arrested last week on two misdemeanor obstruction charges and faces multiple investigations over alleged election security breaches, announced Monday she is running for the Colorado Secretary of State’s seat.

The Republican clerk and recorder, who was prohibited by a judge from overseeing the 2021 elections after the alleged breaches, said in a statement Colorado needs a secretary of state “who will put people over the political theatre and prioritize them over politics.”

Peters has faced intense scrutiny from Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold and has aligned herself with far-right election conspiracy theorists who have consistently pushed the false notion that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, along with other conspiracy theories.

“Tina Peters is unfit to be Secretary of State and a danger to Colorado elections,” Griswold said in a statement.

In her statement, Peters did not name Griswold. But she hinted at the divide between the state’s top election official and the couple of county clerks in Colorado who have pushed the false election conspiracy theories.

“Weaponizing our elections and targeting political opponents has no place in Colorado,” Peters said.

Peters has been surrounded by controversy over the past week and several months.

Last Thursday, Peters turned herself in to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations from an incident the day before at a Grand Junction bakery.

Grand Junction police release body cam video showing Tina Peters' arrest

District attorney’s office investigators were serving a search warrant on Peters, trying to obtain an iPad which she allegedly used earlier last week to illegally record a court proceeding involving her deputy clerk’s burglary and cybercrime charges.

But she was uncooperative, according to an affidavit and body camera video, and yelled inside the restaurant, struggled with officers, and attempted to kick one.

She appeared at a town hall that night hosted by FEC United in Castle Rock involving other Colorado election conspiracy theorists in which one of them, Shawn Smith, hinted that Griswold should be hanged.

“If you’re involved in election fraud, then you deserve to hang,” he said, as 9News reported.

Griswold’s office is requesting $120,000 for security in the wake of threats she has received as far-right conspiracy theorists target election officials across the country and in Colorado.

She said in an interview Friday she has received threats to her personal phone, voicemail, her personal email and on social media.

“We’re seeing the threat of violence being used as an attack on democracy. Across the nation, over 33% of election workers have reported feeling scared to do their job. One in six have been directly threatened, and over 40% in large jurisdictions are considering retirement,” Griswold said.

“We’re seeing election deniers being recruited into those positions. And at the secretary of state level, those of us who have been most leaning in, battling the lies, pushing back on the voter suppression, we’ve received so many threats that it’s hard to even track them,” she added.

“As Secretary of State, I am proud of my work to protect the right to vote for all eligible Coloradans. While overseeing four successful elections, I expanded voter access and maintained our gold standard in election security,” Griswold said in a statement Monday.

The 21st Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced in January it had convened a grand jury to investigate the allegations of official misconduct and tampering with county election equipment involving Peters and other Mesa County election workers last year.

Griswold also filed another lawsuit seeking to block Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections, which was the case for the November 2021 election after she was found to have committed a breach of her duties and of neglecting them.

Investigations are ongoing into how Peters and others copied hard drive images of election software last year, which ended up online and being discussed by Peters and others at conpsiracy theorist and pillow salesman Mike Lindell’s South Dakota symposium.

Along with the grand jury investigation, the local district attorney’s office, attorney general’s office, and FBI have all been involved in investigations into Peters as well.

Three other Republicans have declared their candidacy for the seat: Pam Anderson, David Winney and Mike O’Donnell. But Griswold has an immense cash-on-hand lead over the Republican suitors, with nearly $1.4 million in the bank.

“Country, service, and responsibility mean something to me,” Peters said. “I have a duty and responsibility to stand for truth, justice and your vote.”

Denver7's Blayke Roznowski contributed to this report.