Far-right election deniers gather at Castle Rock ’emergency’ meeting after Tina Peters arrest

A leading figure in Colorado’s far-right election denial movement gathered in Castle Rock Thursday night for a lengthy city council meeting that featured a raft of unfounded conspiracy theories and at least one threat of political violence.

The “emergency” meeting, organized by right-wing activist and FEC United founder Joe Oltmann, came two days after Tina Peters and Mesa County Clerk were arrested for obstructing investigators’ attempts to seize an iPad under a search warrant.

Peters arrived at the Friday event, which was held at The Rock Church, to a standing ovation from the assembled crowd. She said she was still wearing the same clothes she was wearing when she turned herself in to be booked on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer and obstructing government operations at the Mesa County sheriff’s office earlier Thursday.

Get the morning headlines to your inbox

“When you’re doing the right thing, you don’t have to be ashamed,” said Peters, who was seen trying to kick a police officer in a video of the February 8 incident. “I won’t back down. They don’t like it.”

An iPad seized by authorities allegedly contains prohibited recordings of court proceedings relating to Peters’ deputy clerk, Belinda Knisley, who is facing charges of burglary and cybercrime in connection with an investigation into workplace misconduct. Peters, the Republican who has consistently promoted false claims that former President Donald Trump is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election, is under separate investigation for allegedly allowing unauthorized access to Mesa County’s voting systems during a May 2021 security update.

Just before Peters’ arrival, prominent electoral conspirator Shawn Smith—who works with the US Election Integrity Plan and is an ally of MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell—mobilized against Colorado Secretary of State Gina Griswold, whom he accused of complicity in election fraud.

As the crowd chanted “Lock her up,” Smith said he believed in “due process of law” and “justice.”

“I think if you were involved in election fraud, you deserve to be hanged,” he said to applause and applause from the audience. “Sometimes the old ways are the best way.

“I don’t support violence,” Smith continued, “I’m saying when you put your hand on a hot stove, you’ll burn.” “And you have to see that coming. That’s what happens to tyrants.”

Griswold replied For Smith’s threats on Twitter Thursday night.

“This video may be hard to watch, but I’m sharing it so we can all see it clearly: Threats against election officials like myself happen every day,” Griswold wrote. “We must counter these blatant attempts to end democracy as we know it.”

John Eastman, a former conservative scholar at the University of Colorado Boulder and a Trump lawyer who wrote legal memos calling for the former president, joined Peters and Smith on stage at Thursday’s event, which included an hours-long question-and-answer session. and his allies in Congress to cancel the 2020 elections; Republican Senator and Representative Ron Hanks of Penrose; Todd Watkins, El Paso County mayoral candidate; El Paso County Republican Party Chairman, Vicki Tonkins; and GOP candidate Daniel Neuschwanger.

Network of election deniers has ties to the Republican Party

Oltman, who organized the event, was instrumental in promoting the baseless conspiracy theory that Denver-based Dominion voting systems aided in the commission of widespread fraud. Along with other senior Trump allies, he faces a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Dominion employee in Denver District Court.

Oltman, a former digital marketing executive, founded FEC United in 2020 after emerging as a prominent organizer of protests against COVID-19 public health measures. The group belongs to the United States Defense Force, a militia group led by a former Trump campaign replacement, John Teigen, who predicted another American “civil war” as a result of “forcing the country into communism.” Colorado Republican Party Chairman Kristi Burton-Brown, who previously served as president of FEC United, revealed in his testimony in court.

In the Conservative Daily podcast, Oltman repeatedly called for mass executions of “disloyal” journalists and political opponents, including Governor Jared Polis and several US senators. He spoke in December of being “able to build the gallows all the way from Washington, D.C. to California,” and instructed his followers to “go out there and get some firewood.”

Eastman denounced the “attacks” he and others in the electoral conspiracy movement suffered, telling the audience that they faced “pure evil.” He again raised the possibility of legal challenge to the Colorado Open Primary Act, which allows unaffiliated voters to choose to vote in either party’s primary. Eastman solicited donations to a legal fund that would fund the case and said the lawsuit would be filed “next week.”

The open primary law, Eastman said, is “guaranteed to allow the establishment to control who the party nominates, and to prevent all of you from regaining control of your destiny.”

Hanks cheered as he bragged to the crowd Thursday of going “to the Capitol” on Jan. 6, 2020. The first-term state lawmaker launched his challenge in the Senate against incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennett by announcing a video showing the explosion of a simulated Dominion voting machine.

Polls have consistently shown that more than three-quarters of Republican voters still believe the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Hanks, who won two early referendums in a crowded field for Republican Senate candidates, said his campaign is gaining “remarkable” momentum.

“I’m the only Senate candidate who talks about election integrity,” Hanks said. “The truth is, that’s what people want to talk about.”

Leave a Comment