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Republican Primaries: Pro-Trump Election Deniers Lose In Colorado But Far-Right Candidate Wins In Illinois

Forbes logo Forbes 6/29/2022 Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff

Topline

Three Republican primary candidates in Colorado who backed former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen election lost their bids Tuesday to more moderate rivals, while a far-right candidate won the GOP’s nomination for the Illinois gubernatorial race, capping off another night of mixed results for Trump-supporting candidates.

Joe O'Dea, a construction company CEO and first-time candidate for office, celebrates the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate over state Rep. Ron Hanks at Mile High Station in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday. Denver Post via Getty Images © Provided by Forbes Joe O'Dea, a construction company CEO and first-time candidate for office, celebrates the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate over state Rep. Ron Hanks at Mile High Station in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday. Denver Post via Getty Images

Key Facts

Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks, who attended the January 6 ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in Washington D.C. last year and supports Trump’s false claims about the 2020 elections, lost the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat to businessman Joe O’Dea, who has publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory.

Tina Peters, a Mesa county clerk who has been indicted for breaching vote-counting machines in an effort to prove Trump’s false claims about election rigging, lost her primary for the Colorado secretary of state to Pam Anderson, a moderate Republican and Trump critic.

In the state’s gubernatorial primaries, Greg Lopez, who also repeated Trump’s false claims and vowed to pardon Peters if elected, lost his bid to moderate candidate Heidi Ganahl.

The GOP primary for the Illinois governor’s race was won by far-right state senator Darren Bailey who will now take on the incumbent Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker in November.

Bailey's victory was partially aided by a risky strategy adopted by Pritzker and his Democratic allies, who spent $30 million to aid the far-right candidate who they perceive will be easier to beat in November.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), one of the Republicans who voted against certifying the Presidential election results on January 6, won the GOP’s nomination for the New York Governor’s race, beating three other opponents including Andrew Giuliani—the son of former New York Mayor and Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Tangent

Incumbent Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) comfortably beat two challengers to win the Republican party’s primary for his seat in the U.S. Senate. Lee’s victory comes despite him being under the scanner for his alleged role in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 elections, highlighted in text messages he exchanged with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. In November, Lee will face off against independent candidate Evan McMullin—who has the backing of Democrats.

Key Background

Tuesday’s primary results in Colorado showed the limits in supporting Trump’s false election claims, which does not guarantee victory in the Republican primaries. Earlier this month, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), who had been critical of Trump following the January 6 riots, managed to stave off a primary challenge from a Trump-backed candidate in South Carolina’s GOP primaries. However on the same night Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C)—who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 riots and called him a “would-be tyrant”—was handily defeated by a Trump-endorsee. Trump’s backing has had a mixed record in the primaries so far with it helping TV personality Mehmet Oz pull off a win against Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania's Senate primary race by the slimmest of margins last month. Trump, however, was dealt the most stinging rebuke by voters in Georgia after his endorsee David Perdue failed in his primary challenge against incumbent governor Brian Kemp—who has been at loggerheads with the former president over the integrity of the 2020 election results from his state.

Further Reading

Colorado GOP rejects candidates who back Trump election lie (Associated Press)

Rep. Lee Zeldin beats Andrew Giuliani in New York's GOP primary for governor (NBC News)

Downstate conservative Darren Bailey, boosted by Democratic ads and Trump endorsement, easily wins Illinois Republican nomination to face Gov. J.B. Pritzker (Chicago Tribune)

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