State Rep. Ron Hanks won the top-line designation in the Republican primary on Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat on Saturday at the GOP’s state assembly in Colorado Springs.
“I fully expected Donald Trump to win in 2020 — and he did,” Hanks said to a roar of cheers at the Broadmoor World Arena, where 3,772 delegates gathered to pick statewide candidates for the June 28 primary ballot.
“I expected him to drain the swamp in D.C. while we fought to turn this state back toward liberty,” Hanks said. “What we saw on election night in 2020, it changed everything, just like the changes we felt after 9/11.”
Hanks received 39% of the delegate vote, enough to keep the other five candidates who had been hoping to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet below the 30% needed to make the primary ballot.
A leading supporter of the former Republican president’s discredited contention that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, Hanks will face construction company owner Joe O’Dea in the primary. O’Dea, who successfully petitioned onto the ballot, has said he doesn’t agree with claims by Trump and his allies about the last election.
GOP delegates also delivered a win to Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who was indicted last month on allegations she helped others breach secure voting equipment in an effort to prove the election system was compromised.
With 61% of the delegate vote, Peters, a candidate for the state’s top election official, took top-line in the primary for secretary of state.
She’ll appear on the ballot with two other Republicans: economic development specialist Michael O’Connell, who finished behind Peters at the assembly with 39%, and former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, who skipped the assembly after successfully petitioning into the primary.
The winner of the three-way primary will face Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is seeking a second term.
Hanks and Peters appeared last week at a rally at the state Capitol featuring MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the leading promoters of Trump’s assertions about the 2020 election.
Republicans will have a two-candidate primary for governor after delegates handed the top spot on the ballot to Greg Lopez, the former mayor of Parker who finished in third place in the the state’s last Republican gubernatorial primary.
Lopez, who has been running for another shot at the office since shortly after Democratic Gov. Jared Polis was elected in 2018, joins Heidi Ganahl, an at-large University of Colorado regent and the only Republican currently holding statewide office in Colorado.
"I think the people are really ready for a change," he told Colorado Politics. "I think they’re ready for a message that talks about their quality of life, making sure we make Colorado, Colorado again. A lot of people are feeling that Colorado’s been lost, and they’re looking for someone who can bring it back to them."
Ganahl learned last week that she had qualified for the primary by petition and sealed her spot by finishing a close second behind Lopez among delegates, with 32.63% to his 34.3%.
While all three of the Republican secretary of state candidates advanced to the primary, Saturday’s assembly results ended the race for numerous U.S. Senate and gubernatorial hopefuls.
Among the Hanks’s rivals, nonprofit founder and former conservative talk radio host Deborah Flora fell just short of the threshold with 29% of the vote, followed by former El Paso County GOP official and 2008 Olympian Eli Bremer, who received 15%. Real estate developer Gino Campana got 11%, and political science professor Greg Moore finished just ahead of former congressional nominee Peter Yu at roughly 3% each.
In the gubernatorial primary, Danielle Neuschwanger, a Elbert County real estate agent and a first-time candidate, missed the ballot with 27% of the delegate vote, followed by Daryll Gibbs at 3.73% and several candidates who received less than 1% of the vote: David Justice, Jon Gray Ginsburg, Laurie Clark, Zach Burck and Jeff Fry.
A spokesman for the Colorado Democrats sounded a note of confidence based on Saturday's results at the state Republicans' assembly.
“The Colorado GOP is once again proving how out of touch they are with Coloradans," said Nico Delgado in a text message. "Out of a crowded field of unknown candidates, they’ve managed to choose insurrectionist Ron Hanks to take the top line on their primary ballot. This chaotic primary is just a choice between which out-of-touch Trump acolyte should lose to Michael Bennet in November.”