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Highlights from Colorado’s primary election results

Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
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Ganahl gets nod in GOP primary for governor

Republicans chose Heidi Ganahl as their candidate to challenge Jared Polis in the governor’s race. Ganahl defeated former Parker Mayor George Lopez in the primary.

Ganahl is the only Republican candidate currently holding a statewide office as a regent for the University of Colorado. On the campaign trail, she touted being an entrepreneur who has overcome many storms, including the death of her husband in a 1994 plane crash, and a brain tumor.

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She has blasted Polis for his response during the pandemic and launched her campaign promising a better economic recovery. But she is viewed as an underdog against Polis, who has maintained high approval ratings throughout his first term.

Republicans reject 2 candidates who campaigned on unfounded election fraud claims

Voters overwhelmingly chose Pam Anderson, a former county clerk in Jefferson County as their choice to challenge Democrat Jena Griswold in the secretary of state’s race.

Anderson said Colorado’s elections are secure and pushed back against claims that fraud impacted the results of the 2020 election.

She defeated Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who was recently indicted on criminal charges related to allegations that she was involved in a data breach of voting machine data.

Peters made unfounded allegations of voter manipulation a central theme to her campaign, and her candidacy worried some of the state’s top elections officials.

Matt Crane, a Republican who leads the bipartisan County Clerks Association, questioned whether Peters would accept the results.

"We are preparing for June 29, 2022, to be worse than November 4, 2020, because if we have some of these candidates lose or if they're losing at the time, the claims of fraud and all of the garbage is just going to be amplified even more," he said as primary ballots were being mailed.

Because of that possibility, county clerks said they took unprecedented security measures ahead of the primary.

In Chaffee County, Democrat Lori Mitchell recently met with the sheriff’s office this month to talk about potential threats. She also released a new guidebook about election crimes.

"It makes our staff feel safe. It makes the voters feel safe," Mitchell said. "And they want to know that you're doing everything and you take it seriously."

Republicans also did not choose state Rep. Ron Hanks in the primary for U.S. Senate.

Like Peters, Hanks made election security skepticism a central theme of his campaign. He sponsored several bills aimed at changing the state’s voting machines and mail ballots.

Instead, Republicans picked Joe O’Dea, the owner of a Denver construction company, as their candidate to take on Sen. Michael Bennet in the midterms.

The candidates clashed over abortion policy, with Hanks favoring a total ban and O’Dea only favoring a restriction in the last three months of pregnancy.

Boebert easily fends off primary challenge

Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District overwhelmingly backed Lauren Boebert in her reelection bid.

Boebert defeated state Sen. Don Coram, a rancher from Montrose who said Boebert was too extreme to represent the district that includes much of the West Slope and a part of southern Colorado.

Boebert has made national headlines for a string of controversies during her first term.

Late last year, she used anti-Muslim language while referring to another member of Congress.

She launched her political career campaigning on Second Amendment rights.

Because of redistricting, Boebert's district is expected to lean more conservative in the upcoming midterm election.

Kirkmeyer wins GOP primary in brand new 8th Congressional District

Republicans chose state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer to take on state Rep. Yadira Caraveo in the midterm election.

Kirkmeyer co-owned and operated a dairy farm before serving in the state legislature.

She has lived in Weld County for more than 35 years.

With Democrats controlling Congress by just eight seats heading into the midterms, Democratic state party chair Morgan Carroll is predicting the new district could become the biggest political battleground in the nation.

“This seat may well be the majority-maker seat,” she said. “It is that close that it could even come down to one seat and it could be this one.”

Carroll is framing the first election in this district as a choice between continuing President Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda or reverting back to the Trump years.

GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown predicted a Republican could prevail in the new district because “they can speak to innovation and allowing businesses to start and flourish and prosper.”

The new district is comprised of 38.9% Latino voters, the highest proportion of any district in the state.

Copyright 2022 KUNC. To see more, visit KUNC.

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.