Peggy Propst is running for Colorado’s State Board of Education. She believes kids should be able to read by the time they complete the third grade. She also advocated for the debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen but says that shouldn’t matter because it has nothing to do with education.

Two years ago, while participating in the Dec. 12, 2020, Jericho March in Washington, D.C., Propst advocated for pro-Trump conservatives to join the “Great America Party,” an election fraud conspiracy party “for those who refuse to submit to the hijacking of our United States.”

Propst previously served on the state education board from 2004 to 2010 before becoming an El Paso County Commissioner (2011-2019).

At the conspiracy march, Propst joined fellow Colorado Republican Dede Laugesen, a former Trump campaign staffer who was speaking at the rally, to promote a website called “Every Legal Vote,” the URL for which was registered two days after the election. Every Legal Vote and the Great American Party were both projects of Islamophobic extremist Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Other speakers at the march included Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, currently facing 20 years in prison on charges of seditious conspiracy, Alex Jones, and QAnon-promoting former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

During her speech for Every Legal Vote, Laugesen demanded that “leadership in DC must speak as one voice and insist that there will be no declared winners until voters are convinced that the election was honest and fair and that the final count is accurate.”

Propst poses with a Trump impersonator at the Jericho March, Dec. 12, 2020

Propst acknowledges that she attended the rally and says she supports the idea of a third party.

“[The Great American Party] just one of the ideas that I think the Center for Security Policy put out with Frank Gaffney and Dede,” says Probst, “I was just working with them, looking at what would it be like to have an alternative or a third party.”

Propst clarifies that she wasn’t working for Graffney or Laugesen.

Laugesen at the Supreme Court, promoting Every Legal Vote and the Great America Party

“I’m just a friend of Dede’s, supporting an idea. That was the extent of my involvement,” she said.

Laugesen returned to D.C. with her husband Wayne, the editorial page editor for the Colorado Springs Gazette and its affiliated outlets, for the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally. They then documented their participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol, posting photos on social media of armed men next to them at the base of the building’s steps.

Propst says her personal beliefs about the 2020 election have nothing to do with her campaign for the state Board of Education and that they won’t influence her approach to policy if she wins.

Propst at the Capitol

Colorado Times Reorder: The Great America Party appeared to be based largely around the idea that the election was hijacked and stolen from Trump. Is that something that you feel was the case?

Probst: Well, I mean, what we do is we look at who is president now, and that’s what happened.

CTR: Are your thoughts about what really happened in 2020 going to influence the way you approach education policy?

Probst: No, they certainly won’t. They have nothing to do with one another.

CTR: The Republican Party made a pretty big effort to push aside those in the primary who didn’t think the 2020 election was legitimate. Did you have any of those discussions or have any of those challenges as far as with the party establishment?

Probst: It has not weighed in on the State Board of Education at all, no.

CTR: So it doesn’t matter that your position is out of the mainstream of what the Republican Party is, for the most part, saying now, which is pushing back on that belief that the election was not legitimate?

Probst: You know, it really has nothing to do with my election for State Board of Education. Right now, I’m just focused on making sure that we do good things for kids and getting back to the basics of our classrooms, making sure kids can read and are set on a trajectory for success. That is my focus.