Aug 2, 2022 - Politics

Criticism mounts against Democratic election meddling in Colorado

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is considering whether to condemn Democrats in Colorado and elsewhere for meddling in Republican primaries to boost 2020 election deniers.

Why it matters: The committee has spent the last year warning that former President Trump and his allies are endangering American democracy by casting doubt on the legitimacy of the vote, Axios' Alayna Treene writes. Now Democrats are being accused of doing the same.

The backstory: In Colorado and at least five other states, Democrats spent big money in GOP primaries to boost pro-Trump election deniers and conspiracy theorists because they consider them easier targets in November's midterm.

  • Senate Majority PAC, affiliated with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, spent $4 million through a group called Democratic Colorado to boost Ron Hanks in the June primary, but the effort backfired and the moderate, more competitive candidate Joe O'Dea emerged as the winner.

The latest: In a letter issued Monday, 35 former Democratic leaders denounced the practice of promoting election deniers, calling it "risky and unethical."

  • The list includes six Democratic luminaries from Colorado: former U.S. Sens. Gary Hart, Mark Udall and Tim Wirth; former Gov. Roy Romer; and former U.S. Reps. Pat Schroeder and David Skaggs.
  • "Our democracy is fragile, therefore we cannot tolerate political parties attempting to prop up candidates whose message is to erode our dedication to fair elections," they wrote.

The intrigue: The most forceful criticism is coming from Washington, where members of Congress and the Jan. 6 committee are expressing grave concern.

  • "The DCCC is playing with fire. It undercuts the great work of the Jan. 6 committee and makes us look like hypocrites," one Democratic member of Congress told Axios.
  • "This is bigger than any one candidate or campaign. No one should be promoting election deniers and peddlers of the 'Big Lie,'" added U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida.

The other side: Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who the Democrats tried to help, has mostly avoided commenting on the GOP primary meddling.

  • But he recently told the Colorado Sun that he wants to reform the campaign finance system to get dark money out of politics.
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