DENVER — Election denier Tina Peters did not close the gap in the statewide Secretary of State Republican primary recount she paid a quarter million dollars for and fell far short of the 88,000 votes she lost the election by, the Colorado County Clerks Association and Secretary of State's Office said Thursday.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, Peters and the winner of the race, Pam Anderson, each picked up 13 votes in the recount, while Mike O'Donnell picked up 11.
CCCA Executive Director Matt Crane had initially said Thursday Peters had picked up four votes compared to the seven that Anderson picked up in the recount.
Crane called this particular recount “disgraceful” albeit legal because of the massive margin in which Peters, the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder who has been stripped of her election duties and who faces multiple felony charges for an election security breach and subsequent allegations, lost her primary race.
“She has found it to her advantage, and to the advantage of other election deniers, to perpetuate conspiracies rather than facts. The recount she asked for showed she lost, just as our post-election audits already held in every county and certified by volunteer citizen canvass boards found,” Crane said in a statement. “Clerk Peters’ attempt to concoct a reason for this recount is window dressing for the larger effort to undermine confidence in our elections.”
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said in a statement that the recount results confirm again that Colorado's elections are safe and secure, and praised the election workers who conducted the recount.
"Accepting the outcome of free and fair elections is a cornerstone of American democracy. Disinformation and frivolous lawsuits do not change the fact that there are winners and losers in an election," Griswold said in a statement. "...Repeating a lie over and over does not make it true. Colorado's elections are secure, and voters can be confident in them."
Few imagined much would change in the race even with a recount because of the roughly 15% margin in which Peters lost her race. But she and other election deniers and conspiracy theorists who handily lost their June primary elections in Colorado have pushed over the past weeks for recounts, though only Peters and Senate District 9 Republican candidate Lynda Zamora Wilson actually paid for the recounts.
Wilson did not pick up any votes in the recount, while Paul Lundeen added one vote.
Peters failed to pay for the recount the first time the money was requested, but then was able to pay the $255,912 estimated cost of the statewide recount last week despite her continued protests about the manner in which the recount would be conducted in accordance with state statute and election rules.
However, most of that money came after Steve Bannon discussed the conspiracy theories she had been spreading and had her on his show in the days surrounding his conviction on contempt of Congress charges for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoenas.
The latest campaign finance reports show Peters raised $519,260 in the last cycle. As of the prior reporting period, she had only $32,697 in cash on hand. Most of the money in the latest cycle came within a span of a week surrounding July 25 when Bannon spoke about her unfounded or false claims.
The majority of the 5,600 donors from the last cycle were from other states, including nearly 900 people from Texas and Florida alone. Peters had said on Bannon’s show that she had raised more than $190,000 in the 24 hours since Bannon first spoke about her hopes for a recount.
Throughout the recount process, Peters has falsely accused counties of having irregularities in their initial verification tests and the recount. But both El Paso County and Denver counties have refuted those statements. In Republican-heavy El Paso County, Peters gained one vote. In Denver, Peters again finished last after the recount.
“Citizens of El Paso County can be proud of our election team and bipartisan election judges. Due to the uniqueness and complexity of this requested recount, while conducting it in a polarized environment, has provided them the opportunity to showcase the professionalism they exude, daily,” said El Paso County Clerk Chuck Broerman in a statement. “These individuals continue to demonstrate the utmost integrity and dedication in providing accurate, fair, and verifiable elections and often do not get the credit and thanks, they truly deserve. I’m proud of the work everyone did in completing this recount, including a retesting of the tabulation machines to verify accuracy.”
Crane, the executive director of the CCCA, told the Senate judiciary committee Wednesday of the lengths many Colorado clerks have gone to in order to protect themselves and their offices and staff in the wake of conspiracy and election denial pushes from people like Peters that have led to threats of violence.
“We are seeing in our counties in Colorado where people are trying to get the information, the names and addresses of telephone number of these citizen election workers, so they can put pressure on them, intimidate [them],” he said. “It has had a chilling effect on their willingness to participate.
Crane, a Republican, called for better federal funding for security for election officials and for Republicans to push back about the ongoing lies about the 2020 and subsequent elections.
The Secretary of State's Office said the money paid by Peters' and Wilson's campaigns will be distributed to the counties to cover their costs for the recounts and that any unused funds will go back to the candidates.