[Updated 3/5: see additional statement from Jonathan Lockwood at end]

After weeks of wavering on the issue of voter fraud, candidate for Colorado GOP Chair Casper Stockham admitted he believes the 2020 election was stolen, joining many of his opponents in their belief that fraud altered nationwide election results. 

While the rest of the Colorado Republican Party has for months been pushing the false claim that the 2020 election was rigged, until Thursday, Stockham largely avoided the topic, or said he did not know one way or the other whether voter fraud impacted the election.

However, when the candidates for GOP Chair gathered in Weld County to discuss party losses, voter fraud, and our electoral system, Stockham changed his tone.  

Colorado GOP Chair candidates (L to R) Scott Gessler, Kristi Burton Brown, Rich Mancuso, moderator Alan Philp, Casper Stockham & Jonathan Lockwood

“I also agree the election was stolen nationwide.” Stockham said. “And I believe we had major problems here in Colorado.”

Hours before Stockham spoke at the Weld County debate, he told the Colorado Times Recorder he did “not know what impact voter fraud had on the 2020 election.” Instead he called for greater transparency and a review of Dominion Voting. 

“Typically there is always some type of voter fraud.” Stockham said Thursday morning before the debate. “The question is how much and how much did it affect the election. We don’t know.”

Following Thursday’s debate, when asked to confirm his position on the issue, Stockham told the Colorado Times Recorder it is his belief that election was stolen, but added he “does not have any evidence.”

Stockham’s opponents in the race, Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current Vice Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown have also publicly stated they believe substantial election fraud took place across the country, as well as possibly here in Colorado, and that Dominion Voting Systems may have been responsible.

At an Arapahoe Tea Party forum in January, Brown said the party needs to “go on the attack” against Dominion Voting.

“We must recognize that serious election fraud took place…,” Gessler posted on Facebook Jan 30. “A full and complete investigation will prove widespread election fraud. And maybe show that President Trump rightfully won the election!”

Current Republican Party Chair Ken Buck, who is not seeking reelection, has publicly expressed his confidence in Colorado’s election system, illuminating internal divisions over the issue of election fraud among Colorado’s Republican leaders. 

“It is so important that people have confidence in their elections,” Buck told a virtual CaucusRoom crowd in December. “And that people understand that in Colorado — I can’t speak for other states, but in Colorado — we’re doing it the right way and we have confidence in our election results.”

In terms of election systems, Colorado is widely held as the ‘gold-standard’ due to its risk limiting audits and two-factor authentication process for accessing voter databases. But for Stockham, that isn’t enough.

“Our current chair is telling us that we have a ‘gold standard’ election system in our state,” Stockham said at the Weld Debate. “But that gold standard is blue and I’m not happy with a blue gold standard. I want a red gold standard and I’m not going to quit fighting until that happens.”

UPDATE: Candidate Jonathan Lockwood, who also participated in the debate, stands alone as the only candidate willing to state unequivocally that Joe Biden won the election fairly.

Reached for comment, Lockwood added, “Republicans who refuse to accept the election results have no business holding positions in our party. My opponents are followers, I’m a leader and I’m running to revive the Republican Party so we can improve lives and livelihoods.”