Colorado Republican Dick Wadhams, the moderator of a GOP candidate forum Thursday, hops up and down and insists that Colorado voters will consider Republican candidates “credible” only if the candidates say the 2020 election wasn’t stolen. He wants candidates with the “guts” to say, “Fraud didn’t happen.”

Yet, after three of four Republican congressional candidates at Thursday’s GOP forum either brazenly dodged his questions about fraud in the 2020 election or delivered baseless election conspiracy theories, Wadhams told the audience at the conclusion of the event that he’d “rarely seen a forum with four more articulate, thoughtful” candidates.

Republicans CD8 Hopefuls Debate in Fort Lupton, 3/3/22

Wadhams asked the candidates at Thursday’s forum in Fort Lupton for Republicans in the race to represent Colorado’s new congressional district, whether the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and whether it was stolen in Colorado and in Weld County.

Only state Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Brighton) answered the questions directly, as she’s done before, stating that the 2020 election was fair.

“No, it was not stolen in Weld County,” said Kirkmeyer. “We have a county clerk that’s Republican. Her and her team have been running elections in this county for over 17 years. I think she knows what she’s doing. Second question, was the election stolen. No. … I just want you all to know the secretary of state in this state does not run the elections. It’s county clerks, and the majority of our county clerks are Republicans. So do I trust them? Yes, I do.

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann dodged the question, as she’d done before, by saying “Biden is a horrible president” and “unfortunately, he is our president,” without saying whether she thinks he won the presidency due to fraud.

“I’m tired of being called a conspiracy theorist just because I want to make sure our elections are fair,” said Kulmann at the forum. “It’s not a dumb question. It’s absolutely something we should be asking every single day.”

Tyler Allcorn, a former Army Green Beret, delivered the same dodge, saying, “President Biden, unfortunately, is our president; nothing that we can do to change that today.”

This approach, to say Biden is the president while staying mum about fraud, was once recommended to Colorado candidates by Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Allcorn said Colorado should “do away with mail-in ballots,” implying that he, baselessly, sees serious fraud potential in the state.

Jewels Gray, a businesswoman, got cheers after saying, falsely, that Colorado’s voting system is vulnerable and being abused.

“There are too many irregularities to ignore. Suitcases being pulled out from under tables, windows being covered so Poll watchers can’t see what’s going on.” said Gray. … We do need an end to mail-in ballots, except for absentee, of course, and go back to in-person voting.”

“We need to end the voting machines because they’re too vulnerable to hacking an outside influence. And we definitely need to clean up the voter rolls so dead aren’t voting. … And I’m sorry. But if you’re not a citizen, you probably shouldn’t be voting in our elections.”

Where’s Wadhams?

The moderator listening to these statements was Wadhams, who’s a respected GOP figure in Colorado, and he didn’t utter a word of fact-checking about the election conspiracies or about the insulting nonanswers to his questions on the topic, which — to be fair — he at least asked.


Wadhams, who’s a former chair of the Colorado Republican Party, was silent even though he’s said “the only way” candidates in Colorado “can be credible in a general election” is if they’re “willing to say, ‘No, the election was not stolen.'”

“I think candidates ought to look at the reporter and say, ‘I do not believe the election was stolen,’ Wadhams told KNUS host Peter Boyles last year. He further added, “We just need to have candidates who have the guts to say, ‘No, the fraud didn’t happen, Trump lost the election.’”

Instead of raising his voice for our own fair elections, at the exact same time that Ukrainians are dying for democracy in Europe, Wadhams concluded the forum by lavishing the candidates with unqualified praise.

“I mean what I’m about to say, sincerely,” said Wadhams in his closing comments. “I have rarely seen a forum with four more articulate, thoughtful, strong candidates for any office in [inaudible] years. I do not live in the 8th Congressional District, but those of you who do are very fortunate to have this kind of choice in front of you in June or whoever is up on the ballot I guess.”

A call to Wadhams seeking to know why he would offer such high praise to three of the forum’s four candidates who dodged his election-conspiracy questions — or embraced such conspiracies — was not returned.