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Colorado county clerk who embraced vote-fraud conspiracy theories says she will run for state’s top elections job

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters reads an election update in Grand Junction, Colo., on June 30, 2020. (Mckenzie Lange/AP)

A Republican county clerk in Colorado who was stripped of her election-oversight duties last year after she allowed an outsider to copy voting-machine hard drives said Monday that she is launching a bid to become the state’s top elections official.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who has embraced the false claim that former president Donald Trump won the 2020 election, made the announcement during an appearance on former Trump White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. Peters said she is running to “restore trust” and “put an end to government overreach in our election process.”

“Colorado deserves a secretary of state who will stand up to the Biden administration. … And, Steve, that’s why today I’m announcing that I’m running for Colorado secretary of state,” she said.

Peters is one of many Trump backers angling for key positions in the administration of U.S. elections, a development that some watchdog groups worry could create an opening for the former president and his allies to challenge future election results.

Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) filed a lawsuit last year seeking to strip Peters and her deputy of their election powers after passwords for Mesa County’s voting machines were posted online and copies of the hard drives were presented at a symposium hosted by MyPillow executive Mike Lindell, who denies that President Biden won the 2020 election.

A Colorado judge in October barred Peters from overseeing her county’s elections, finding that she had neglected her duties and was “untruthful” when she brought in someone who was not a county employee to copy the hard drives of Dominion Voting Systems machines.

Peters, who has said she wanted to copy the voting machine hard drives to preserve alleged evidence of fraud, has denounced the lawsuit as a “power grab” meant to serve as a “warning to all other potential whistleblowers.”

The local district attorney, state prosecutors and the FBI are investigating whether criminal charges are warranted in the voting-machine breach.

Peters was also arrested last week for allegedly resisting authorities’ attempts to seize an iPad in an unrelated case.

In the podcast interview Monday, Bannon called Peters “an American hero” and likened her to Trump. Peters cast herself as “the wall between your votes and nationalized elections.”

“They’re coming after me because I’m standing in their way,” she said.

According to the Denver Post, Peters has not yet filed paperwork for her secretary of state candidacy and had previously announced that she was running for reelection as Mesa County clerk and recorder.