In a party dominated by election deniers, running against at least one election denier to replace another election denier, can a Republican willing to say Trump lost in 2020 win a primary election? Attorney Jeff Hurd is going to find out. 

At a campaign meet and greet in Collbran on Wednesday, Hurd answered an attendee’s question as to whether believed that Trump won the 2020 election. Hurd answered that he did not, before adding a caveat that at least, he hadn’t seen evidence of fraud significant enough to change the outcome.  

Event attendee: Do you think that Trump won the election in 2020?

Hurd: I do not. I think- I have not seen evidence of fraud on a scale that would in my view change the results of the election. 

Event attendee: So you don’t think he won?

Hurd: No. I do not.  

Following Congresswoman Boebert’s unexpected flight from the Western Slope, the Republican primary for the Third Congressional District quickly became crowded, mostly with pro-Trump conservatives each looking to out-MAGA the others. The exception is Hurd, a well-credentialed but relatively unknown corporate attorney who entered the race early to offer GOP voters a more moderate alternative to Boebert. A former Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce president with degrees from Notre Dame and Columbia, Hurd struck quite a contrast from Boebert, and stacked up a long list of prominent establishment Republicans, including numerous current and former elected officials from around the state.

With Boebert gone, Hurd’s most prominent opponent is an election-denying former state representative who calls himself a “warrior for Trump.” Ron Hanks is perhaps Colorado’s most enthusiastic election denier, having participated in both the Jan. 6 insurrection and the Arizona “audit” led by conspiracists. His 2022 run for U.S. Senate included an ad in which he blew up an office copier labeled “Dominion Voting Machine” by shooting it with a sniper rifle.

Hurd has noticeably avoided discussing Trump. The former president’s name appears nowhere on his campaign website and only once in Hurd’s 256 Tweets since launching his candidacy, when the Supreme Court overturned the ruling removing Trump from the Colorado primary ballot. He referenced a December 2023 op-ed he wrote for the Grand Junction Sentinel explaining his position that Trump should be on the ballot.

A spokesperson for the campaign responded to the Colorado Times Recorder email inquiry as to whether Hurd has any concerns about his position being at odds with his state party’s leadership, but was unable to break away from today’s assembly duties to provide a response prior to publication. The Colorado Times Recorder also asked about Hurd’s recent endorsement by former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who has not only said he believes the 2020 election was “probably stolen,” but argued on behalf of the Trump campaign in a Nevada court to try to overturn that state’s election results. This article will be updated with statements as soon as the campaign can provide them.

As promised, the campaign provided the following statement following publication:

“It’s unclear what news this secret recording broke. If anything it shows Jeff is consistent in what he says—whether it’s someone secretly recording him at a meet and greet, or a reporter on the record, for example.

Jeff got in this race because western and southern Colorado are being left behind by bad policies, and he thinks families deserve better. To do that Jeff is working hard to build support among a broad coalition of Coloradans—including former elected officials like Scott Gessler, who he is honored to count as a friend and supporter.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously transcribed Hurd’s answer, “…that would in my view change the results…” as, “…that would maybe change the results…” The transcription has been updated to correct the error.