Tina Peters’ Don Quixote bid to become Colorado’s top election official would be comical if it weren’t so terrifying. The state’s top Holocaust denier spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on a recount only to find she had lost the exact same margin as the original tally indicated.
Peters lost by more than 88,000 votes while garnering just over 180,000 statewide. It wasn’t a nail biter.
Put into perspective, since the presidential election of 2000, there has been just over 30 statewide recounts across the country. The biggest voting swing took place in Florida in 2018 when Ron DeSantis lost 3,500 votes (out of more than 8.2 million voters) but still won the election.
Peters had to return 25 times as many votes out of a total number of votes less than one-tenth the size. I’m more likely to find a winning Powerball ticket lying around the street.
But those odds didn’t deter Peters and his supporters. They worked hard to raise funds, pay for a recount and file lawsuits to demand a manual ballot count. She could not be convinced that she had lost by any means other than electoral fraud so massive that it would make Lyndon Johnson blush.
This is exactly why Peters’ actions should be a grave warning to anyone interested in preserving American democracy. Peters is the best embodiment of a substantial portion of the population more interested in airing their grievances than winning elections and governing.
Peters has more than tripled his fundraising total for his campaign after she had lost the primary elections. After raising $234,196 in the election, she raised over $500,000 in just over a month after.
I have never seen such a thing. Nobody did.
It is not uncommon for candidates, even losers, to continue raising funds after the elections. Often they have debts they want to pay off – often to suppliers who have deferred payment and sometimes to reduce personal loans to their own campaigns. The money is flowing in and usually covers only a fraction of the debt.
Peters’ cash flow came in like a flash flood.
Immediately after losing, Peters began fundraising to pay for his challenges. She appeared twice on Steve Bannon’s show asking for money. Bannon, who once called Peters’ campaign “national crusade,” assistance persuade thousands of his followers send him post-election funds.
Peters, Bannon and the millions who line up with them didn’t care that she didn’t have a path to victory. They just wanted to keep yelling, yelling, complaining and making totally unsubstantiated claims.
Just wait until November or 2024. These same people will try to enforce their twisted version of election integrity across the county. I still can’t figure out if the worst-case scenario involves deaths or the collapse of the electoral system. Probably a combination of the two.
READ: Colorado Sun Opinion Columnists.
Peters’ efforts will continue as she pursues legal action to force a manual recount of ballots. I assume his efforts will be superficially dismissed by a judge. There is no basis in law or reason – or any consistent mental state – to believe that Peters won the primary election.
While this is all well and good when someone like Peters loses by big margins, it becomes a crisis when a similar weirdo like Mark Finchem wins in a swing state like Arizona. If he takes office, the 2024 presidential election is all but decided in one of the most contested states in 2020.
His candidate will win or Finchem will simply tamper with the votes to make that happen.
Too bad for Peters that he’s not running for office in Colorado this year. It was the only thing that could have made a difference in the result.
Mario Nicolais is a lawyer and columnist who writes about law enforcement, the justice system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq
The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the editorial staff. Read our Ethics Policy to learn more about The Sun’s Opinion Policy and submit articles, suggest authors or give feedback to [email protected]