After opening the Mesa County Republican Assembly in Grand Junction with a prayer, a singing of the national anthem, and recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, county GOP chairman Kevin McCarney invited his “adopted daughter” Rep. Lauren Boebert to the stage.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is being one of 147 who voted against certification of the 2020 election,” Boebert told the crowd of delegates and alternates gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton on March 26. “It’s why we need Republicans in the majority. We can’t work with Biden, but we can sure investigate Biden.”
Local, state and national candidates were invited to speak for three minutes to the approximately 390 people attending the assembly. Delegates elected during the GOP caucus in early March were there to vote on county candidates they want on the primary ballot in June. State candidates will be decided in April at the Republican Convention and Assembly in Colorado Springs.
Boebert briefly referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “Chinese virus funded by Fauci” — a slam that former President Donald Trump used during his presidency that some say fueled ongoing hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Boebert received a standing ovation with chants of “Lauren, Lauren, Lauren” after she touted “Biden ignored 13 men and women who died on his watch.” Boebert heckled President Joe Biden with a similar phrase during the State of the Union address while he was speaking about his veteran son’s death to cancer and the many veterans who may have suffered injuries from toxic military burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Tina Peters, the embattled Mesa County clerk and recorder, who was indicted earlier this month on 10 criminal counts of alleged tampering with election equipment, was also present, seeking supporters for her bid for Colorado secretary of state. While Peters remains the county clerk until the end of the year, Secretary of State Jena Griswold intends to strip her of election responsibilities.
Before Peters addressed the crowd, Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis spoke on behalf of Peters’ GOP opponent in the secretary of state race — former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson.
“Something all Republicans can agree on is that we have the most radical secretary of state in Colorado,” Davis said. “We have a real opportunity to take this seat away from Jena Griswold. (Anderson) is the best option to beat Jena Griswold in the fall.”
Peters disagreed after she took the stage following Davis.
“I’m running as the only choice for secretary of state,” Peters said, adding that she is “a Christian and a Gold Star mom” who is being persecuted for opposing corruption.
“(Mesa County Sheriff Todd Rowell) suspended my concealed carry,” she said. “I could go on about the night I spent in jail while my father was dying. I could go on and on about two lawsuits against me, but I won’t. What God has called you to, he will call you through.
“There are three reasons I am running — report No. 1, report No. 2 and report No. 3,” a reference to reports that claim to demonstrate vulnerabilities with the Mesa County election system written by a member of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s cyber investigation team — reports debunked by election officials.
“Make no mistake; they’re coming after you,” Peters said. “You’re the real target. I’m just standing in the way.”
Hoping to succeed Peters as county clerk and recorder are Bobbie Gross and Julie Fisher. Both women accepted primary ballot nominations on Saturday. Gross currently serves as Mesa County treasurer and public trustee technician. She worked previously in the clerk and recorder’s office for 13 years and is a nationally certified elections administrator.
Fisher is currently employed in the clerk and recorder’s office where Peters promoted Fisher to “second chief deputy clerk” after Peters’ chief deputy, Belinda Knisley, was barred from the office pending criminal investigations against her.
Delegates voted for Fisher over Gross, 205 to 146. However, Gross received at least 30% of the votes, which qualifies her to be added to the primary ballot along with Fisher.
There are three routes candidates can take to secure a spot on the primary ballot: They can petition on by collecting, for a county office, 1,000 party signatures; attend a county assembly where a candidate must win at least 30% of the delegate votes; or participate in both the assembly and do a petition — the path that Gross took. The signature threshold is greater for statewide offices.
However, there’s a risk to doing both, said Gross. If you petition successfully, but don’t receive at least 10% of the vote at the assembly your petition doesn’t count, she said.
“I took the risk because the party process is dear to me and I felt I should do both,” she said.
Fisher also petitioned to get on the ballot but fell short collecting enough signatures. Chief Deputy Attorney General Natalie Leh has said Fisher is unfit to oversee elections in the county, because – like Peters and Knisley – she has not completed required state training on how to run elections.
Delegates also voted for Mesa County sheriff and District 2 county commissioner. Incumbent Rowell, who suspended Peters’ concealed weapons permit, received 191 precinct votes compared to challenger Bob Dalley’s 160. Both men will be on the primary ballot.
In the county commissioner election Bobbie Daniel won the delegate vote in a landslide, 261 to 87, against Mesa County Assessor Ken Brownlee.
Andrea Haitz, One of three members of a conservative bloc elected to the Mesa County Valley School District 51 board in November, nominated Daniel, who described herself as “a sixth-generation coal miner’s daughter,” who is tired of career politicians ruling our lives.
“I’ll work to keep the far-left policies at bay to keep our way of life,” Daniel said. “Freedom is not a gift from man or government. It’s up to this generation to preserve it. God is my foundation.”
Other candidates who spoke Saturday included U.S. Senate candidates state Rep. Ron Hanks, U.S. Air Force veteran Eli Bremer, Colorado Christian University professor Greg Moore, small business owner Deborah Flora, and entrepreneur Gino Campana.
Gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger also spoke.
“Do we have any God-fearing, gun-toting, MAGA supporters in the house?” Neuschwanger yelled. “On day one I will fire all special appointees of Gov. (Jared) Polis. We need a criminal justice cowgirl who can stand up to D.C. Every law enforcement must also be an immigration agent. I’m the only candidate that openly supports Tina Peters.”
State Party platform resolutions
The assembly distributed 2022 resolution ballots that included 46 state party platform resolutions to be voted on in April, including: “The Republican party supports the registration and regulation of journalism to protect against the Marxist agenda.”
Other resolutions included:
- “The Republican party supports the abolition of mail-in voting, reducing or eliminating early in-person voting, and requiring that all votes be cast in person on paper ballots after state-issued ID has been shown at a polling location (exceptions only for military members, or those physically disable who present written justification).”
- “The Republican party supports protecting religious speech, and specifically protecting it from being labeled ‘hate’ speech.”
- “The Republican Party opposes socialist and communist policies and tyranny, and publicly denounces Democrats and the Democratic Party as communists.”
This article was originally published by Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom.