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Politics

After brief arrest, Mesa County Clerk announces run for Secretary of State

 This booking photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, shows Mesa County clerk Tina Peters on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Grand Junction, Colo.
Mesa County Sheriff's Department
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AP
This booking photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, shows Mesa County clerk Tina Peters on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Grand Junction, Colo. Peters, who repeats former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 presidential contest and is under investigation for alleged election security breaches, announced Monday, Feb. 14, 2022 that she is running to be her state's top elections officer.

A Colorado official who repeats former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 presidential contest and is under investigation for alleged election security breaches announced Monday she is running to be her state's top elections officer.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, whom a judge suspended from overseeing last year's election in her western Colorado county, announced her bid for Colorado Secretary of State on Trump adviser Steve Bannon's podcast Monday morning.

Peters, a Republican, has echoed Trump's false theories about the 2020 election, and a grand jury and federal authorities are investigating how she allegedly allowed an unauthorized person to view her county's election software.

"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," Peters said in her announcement.

Peters was arrested last week for allegedly resisting arrest by local police who were investigating her for an alleged illegal recording of a subordinate's court hearing on her iPad. She faces misdemeanor charges of obstructing justice.

Peters joins three other candidates who have declared their plans to run in the GOP primary. The winner is expected to face Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, whose office helped spur the investigations of Peters.

In a statement after Peters announced her candidacy, Griswold said: "Tina Peters is unfit to be Secretary of State and a danger to Colorado elections."

Peters is one of a wide number who question whether President Joe Biden's won the 2020 election and want to become top election officials in U.S. states.

Colorado is a Democratic-leaning state, with the party controlling all branches of state government, though Peters' county stretching to the Utah border is reliably conservative.

Republican election deniers are also running to become Secretaries of State in the major swing states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and in many other states. The candidates include an Arizona state lawmaker who was at the Jan. 6 rally and a Georgia congressman recruited by Trump, but Peters may have the most colorful past.

She first came to national attention when she spoke in August 2021 at a conference hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the most prominent election deniers in the country.

Peters claimed to show evidence that county voting machines were hacked, even though they were never connected to the internet. She went into hiding for weeks after her participation drew national attention.

Griswold got a judge to bar Peters from running the 2021 election in her county and has asked a judge for a similar injunction against Peters' involvement in this year's elections.

After that, state and federal investigations were launched into how the election software Peters used for her country got into the hands of a consultant. Screenshots of that software quickly appeared on right-wing conspiracy web sites.

One of Peters' deputies was suspended for allegedly helping commit the breach and faces charges of burglary and cybercrimes for sneaking back into the office after her suspension.

It was Peters' alleged illegal recording of that deputy's court appearance that led to the fracas at a bagel shop last week in the small Colorado city of Grand Junction and her brief arrest.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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