A Republican party official from El Paso County is suing two of her own GOP colleagues along with Colorado’s Secretary of State in an attempt to overturn the results of last week’s county assembly. The lawsuit is just the latest salvo of party infighting that has plagued the state’s largest Republican county party in recent years.
The race in question is House District 21, currently held by freshman legislator Mary Bradfield (R-Fountain), who hoped to become a sophomore state representative but came up just shy of the 30% vote requirement needed to make the ballot via the assembly process. Candidates wishing to appear on a major party primary ballot can either gather petitions in advance of the assembly from in-district party members, or earn at least 30% of the votes of delegates at the assembly.
Bradfield choose to go the assembly route and lost by a whisker to newcomer Karl Dent, a political newcomer with a lengthy criminal record who nevertheless garnered over 60% of the votes from HD21 GOP delegates. Neither Bradfield nor Dent immediately replied to requests for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.
Reached for comment, former state Rep. Lois Landgraf, who represented HD21 for the eight years before Bradfield’s election, says the lawsuit’s call for a new election “makes sense.”
“I would like to see a fair assembly held or whatever the process will be,” said Landgraf. “I would like to see fairness, and it was not fair.”
The lawsuit appears to hinge on the testimony of one of its own named defendants, HD21 Chair Teresa Cheek, who claims she discovered inaccuracies on the list of voting-eligible party delegates that resulted in one non-eligible person voting and two eligible voters being prevented from casting ballots.
The lawsuit then makes claims as to how the supposedly ineligible delegate voted, as well as how the two allegedly disenfranchised eligible voters would have voted.
57. If the ineligible delegate had not participated, the Assembly would have only had 40 votes. More likely than not, the ineligible delegate did not vote for the candidate that received 12 votes, or 29.2%. If the ineligible delegate had not voted, the candidate receiving 29.2% of the vote would have instead received 30% of the vote, thus making her eligible to be placed on the Republican Party primary ballot for House District 21.
58. If the two improperly excluded delegates had participated, it is likely that at least one of them would have voted for the candidate that received 29.2% of the vote. In that case, the candidate receiving 29.2% of the vote would have received 31.7% of the vote (out of 41 votes) or 31% of the vote (out of 42 votes), thus making her eligible to be placed on the Republican Party primary ballot for House District 21.
The lawsuit notes that Cheek raised her objections with Colorado GOP Chair Kristi Burton Brown in an email on March 21, yet also includes her affirmation, signed the next day, that the election tabulation was accurate.
Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler filed the lawsuit on behalf of Miller. Gessler, who is also representing election fraud conspiracists Rudy Giuliani and Tina Peters, previously sued another El Paso County GOP official, Eli Bremer (now running for U.S. Senate) along with SOS Griswold over a similar party primary election debacle in 2020.
Reached for comment Bremer said he hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit but noted that the 2020 case he was involved in regarding party elections “set precedent that may be in play.”
The Secretary of State’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The office is not responsible for administering private political parties’ internal elections, but it does determine the names that make the eventual primary ballot.
Attempts to reach Bradfield, Dent, Cheek and Tonkins were unsuccessful. This article will be updated with any responses received.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated HD21 Chair Teresa Cheek’s title as Vice Chair.