Backers of Trump election claims lose in Colorado Republican midterm primaries

·3 min read
Former U.S. President Donald Trump holds a rally in Mendon

By Andy Sullivan and Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Republican candidates who echoed former President Donald Trump's false claims of a stolen presidency were defeated in high-profile nominating contests in Colorado on Tuesday ahead of November's midterm elections.

The two Colorado candidates, U.S. Senate hopeful Ron Hanks and county clerk Tina Peters, who had sought the Republican nomination to be Colorado's top election official, are among dozens of Republicans who support Trump's denial of his 2020 election loss, prompting concerns that U.S. democracy could be at risk.

But Edison Research projected that Hanks would lose the Senate primary to businessman Joe O'Dea, who has rejected Trump's election fraud claims. Hanks took part in a march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when it was attacked by Trump supporters seeking to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Likewise, Edison projected that Peters, who has been indicted for election tampering and barred from overseeing voting in her home county this year, would lose the Colorado secretary of state primary to Pam Anderson, a former county clerk who has also dismissed Trump's baseless allegations.

Those defeats came on a day when a congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack heard testimony from a former Trump White House aide that she had been told he tried to take control of his presidential limousine that day when his security detail declined to take him to the Capitol where his supporters were rioting.

Trump acolytes prevailed in other elections.

In western Colorado, firebrand Republican Representative Lauren Boebert was projected by Edison to defeat challenger Don Coram, who had argued that she is too extreme.

In Illinois, Republican Representative Mary Miller was projected to defeat Representative Rodney Davis in an unusual primary contest that pit two incumbents against one another as the state lost a congressional seat due to its shrinking population.

Miller caused controversy at a rally with Trump on Saturday when she said that the Supreme Court's decision to revoke the nationwide right to abortion was a "victory for white life."

Miller's aides say she meant to say "right to life," but Davis says it is further evidence that she is unfit for office, citing previous controversial comments.

Miller was endorsed by Trump and has backed his false claims of a stolen election. Davis, by contrast, broke with his party last year to back the congressional inquiry into the Jan. 6 attack.

With Biden's approval ratings underwater, Republicans are favored to win control of the House of Representatives, where they need to flip only five Democratic seats for a majority, and could also take over the Senate.

A Republican-controlled House could stymie Biden's legislative agenda and launch politically damaging investigations into his administration.

In the Chicago suburbs, Democratic Representative Sean Casten led rival Marie Newman in a similar battle between incumbents for a newly drawn seat.

Another one of Trump's picks, Illinois state senator Darren Bailey, was projected by Edison Research to win the Republican nomination for governor over Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, a more moderate Republican who was seen as a greater threat to incumbent Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker.

In New York, incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul was projected by Edison Research to win the Democratic nomination over two rivals. Hochul took the job last year when former Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned while facing sexual harassment allegations.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Jason Lange, Editing by Ross Colvin and Alistair Bell)

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