Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters said the three people named to oversee the county’s primaries this month are political allies of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.
At the same time, the embattled clerk questioned whether her chief rival in her bid for the GOP nomination to run against Griswold this fall was even a Republican.
Peters, who faces criminal felony charges for tampering with election equipment and official misconduct in office, said the three people — Mesa County Director of Elections Brandi Bantz, Mesa County Treasurer Sheila Reiner and former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams — would be “loyal to the radical left” Griswold.
Both Reiner and Williams are Republicans, while Bantz, who once worked for Williams when he was the El Paso County clerk, was recruited and hired by Peters to come to Mesa County in 2020 to run elections here.
“Bantz and others were appointed to temporarily oversee Mesa elections while courts adjudicate the legality of Griswold’s questionable overreach and her disputed claims against Peters,” her campaign said in a press release. “Clerk Peters is confident that her message of more transparency in government will defeat Jena Griswold and carry her into the Secretary of State’s Office in November.”
Actually, the courts have already ruled that Peters is barred from overseeing this year’s elections, and there are no criminal cases that Peters is involved with that are looking into Griswold.
There is, however, a 13-count criminal indictment against Peters and her chief deputy, Belinda Knisley, arraignments for which are scheduled for later today.
On a Denver radio interview Monday with former Arapahoe County District Attorney and one-time GOP Attorney General candidate George Brauchler, Peters accused Pamela Anderson, a former GOP clerk in Jefferson County, of working with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to funnel money into several battleground states in an effort to get Democrats elected.
Many of the things Peters said on that program, however, were untrue, Anderson countered.
Anderson said the group Peters had referred to, the Center for Tech and Civic Life, is a nonprofit organization that gave out grants to help election officials nationwide do better in conducting elections, adding that money went to Republican and Democratic counties alike.
“I’m pushing for integrity of elections, supporting local election officials,” said Anderson, who is on temporary leave from the group’s board of directors. “These organizations do training and education and (provide) tools for election officials.”
Anderson said Peters herself is a voting member of another nonprofit organization that similarly works to improve election integrity, the Colorado County Clerks Association, saying her dues and conference fees for that group are funded by Mesa County taxpayers.
As she’s done numerous times, Peters introduced herself as a longtime business owner on Brauchler’s KNUS radio show, saying she spent 36 years operating a construction company.
The company, Thomas Peters Construction LLC, was solely owned by her former husband, who started the business in 1972 after taking it over from his grandfather, who formed it in the 1940s, according to state business records.
According to Tina Peters’ own LinkedIn webpage, she worked there as its office manager, bookkeeper and personnel manager, not as an owner.
Peters is now involved in a legal dispute with her former husband that claims she filed a quit claim deed on a home he purchased after they were legally separated, transferring the property to herself.
Peters’ support among people who agree with her that there may have been something amiss in the 2020 presidential and 2021 city elections might be losing some ground, sending some of them to throw their support for the third Republican in the primary, Michael O’Donnell, who spoke at a Stand For the Constitution event in Grand Junction on Monday evening.
That event was partly sponsored by the sister-in-law of Fruita resident Gerald Wood, whose identity Peters allegedly used to make images of election computer hard drives, which are part of Peters’ criminal indictment.
“The duly elected Clerk Tina Peters stole my brother-in-law’s identity,” Andrea Barber told the Mesa County Board of Commissioners last week, inviting them to the O’Donnell event.
“She used his (security) badge while he was at a graduation party to swipe into a secure area in Mesa County, and left him and his family very vulnerable taking the fall for her actions,” Barber added.
“Now that he has finally been cleared, we’re actually able to talk about that. I found it to be a great honor to be putting my support and energy behind Mike O’Donnell.”
In addition to the criminal charges against her, Peters also faces obstruction charges, a contempt of court citation for allegedly lying to a district court judge and several ethics investigations.