Feb 25, 2021 - Politics
Colorado GOP doubles down on Trump's baseless "stolen election" claims
Photo illustration of two headless political candidates wearing MAGA hats and debating.
Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photos: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle and Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Top leaders in the Colorado Republican Party are doubling down on the baseless idea that voter fraud cost former President Trump the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The Colorado GOP is embracing the same debunked claims of a stolen election that helped propel a mob of Trump supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

  • Republican state lawmakers cited the potential for fraud as the reason they introduced a handful of bills that would make it harder to vote.
  • The top contenders for Colorado GOP chair, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and current party vice chair Kristi Burton Brown, are advocating for a recount of the 2020 vote and review of the Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Colorado.
  • Gessler, who worked with the Trump campaign on legal challenges in Nevada and Pennsylvania, recently wrote on Facebook that "a full and complete investigation will prove widespread election fraud. And maybe show that President Trump rightfully won the election!"

Reality check: Colorado's voting system is considered one of the safest in the nation because it conducts risk-limiting audits that double-check the vote counts and machine integrity.

  • Outgoing Colorado GOP chair Ken Buck, a Windsor congressman, says Trump deserves some blame for the riot and doesn't believe fraud altered the state's election results.
  • Outgoing Colorado U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn, who was appointed by Trump, told The Colorado Sun he had concerns about misinformation from the president's team about the election.

Our thought bubble: The state's most fervent Republican activists remain loyal to Trump, according to polls, so it's no surprise to see the issue define the race for the Colorado party's next leader.

  • "It will be dominated by Trump loyalists who believe the election was stolen, including here in Colorado, and (this) plays into their most basic fears and conspiracy theories," said Dick Wadhams, a former state party chair.

Flashback: In December, an internal GOP investigation — led by Gessler — dismissed a complaint about its party caucuses in despite evidence of fraud.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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