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Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters announces run for secretary of state

Election-rigging conspiracy theorist Tina Peters announced she's running for secretary of state, the job that oversees Colorado's elections.

DENVER — Still facing local and federal investigations related to an election data security breach, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters on Monday announced her plans to run for Colorado secretary of state.

She joined Steve Bannon, previously an advisor to former President Donald Trump, on his podcast Monday to publicly announce her run.

“Colorado needs a Secretary of State who will put people over the political theatre and prioritize them over politics," she said in a press release. "Colorado deserves a Secretary of State who will stand up to the Biden administration that wants to run our country in the ground with nationalized elections. That is why today I am announcing I am running for Colorado Secretary of State to restore trust and put an end to government overreach in our election process."

She added that "weaponizing our elections and targeting political opponents has no place in Colorado" and she plans to honor the state constitution.

Peters currently faces a Colorado grand jury investigation into her alleged involvement in the 2021 data breach, which resulted in Mesa County's election software passwords ending up online. She's accused of allowing a person from outside of the clerk's office to make a copy of the Dominion Voting Systems hard drives.

Local authorities in Mesa County, the Colorado Attorney General's Office and the FBI have conducted searches related to the data breach.

Additionally, Grand Junction police arrested Peters last week in a separate case. A judge suspected Peters of going against courtroom policy to film a hearing involving her deputy clerk with her iPad.

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Current Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat, unseated Republican Wayne Williams in 2018. In January, Griswold filed a suit to stop Peters from overseeing the 2022 elections because of the allegations against her. Before the suit was filed, Peters rejected Griswold's terms for regaining that responsibility. The conditions included supervision for Peters when accessing election equipment.

A judge already agreed to bar Peters, who previously said she wanted a second term as clerk, from overseeing Mesa County's election in 2021. Mesa County then hired Williams to oversee that election process. He worked with Griswold's pick to run the election, Republican Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner.

Griswold denounced Peters' announcement about running for Colorado's top elections office.

"Election denier Tina Peters just jumped in to run against me. She compromised voting equipment, lies about elections, and has embraced dangerous extremism," Griswold tweeted Monday.

"Tina Peters is unfit to be Secretary of State and a danger to Colorado elections. Colorado needs a Secretary of State who will uphold the will of the people; not one who embraces conspiracies and risks Coloradans' right to vote."

The Republican pool for secretary of state candidates already includes Pam Anderson, a former clerk and recorder in Jefferson County.

The primary election is scheduled for June 28. The general election will be held Nov. 8.

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