Election 2022 – Republican Party

United States Senator: Ron Hanks or Joe O’Dea

Representative to 118th Congress: Lori Saine, Jan Kulmann, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Tyler Allcorn

Governor: Greg Lopezz or Heidi Ganahi

Secretary of State: Tina Peters, Mie O’Donell, Pam Anderson

Board of Education: Peggy Propst or Cody LeBlanc

Regent of the University: Eric Rinard, Mark VanDriel

County Commissioner: Kevin Ross or Elijah Hatch

United States Senator: Ron Hanks or Joe O’Dea

6 big areas where the two Republicans running for U.S. Senate in Colorado disagree

State Rep. Ron Hanks and Joe O’Dea, a first-time candidate who owns a Denver construction company, are split on abortion, climate change and how to beat U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in November

State Rep. Ron Hanks and Joe O’Dea, a first-time candidate who owns a Denver construction company, are the two Republicans running in the June 28 primary for a chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

The candidates have very different opinions on some key issues, including abortion, climate change and what Republicans’ strategy should be to beat Bennet.

The Colorado Sun spoke to the candidates, attended candidates forums and combed the public record to find six critical areas where Hanks and O’Dea are split.


With the U.S. Supreme Court poised in the coming weeks to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision protecting the right to an abortion without excessive government restriction, abortion is set to be a central issue in the midterm elections.

Hanks and O’Dea have very different stances on the topic.

“I don’t support a total ban,” O’Dea said at a recent debate. “The country is not 100% pro-life. The country is not 100% pro-choice.”

O’Dea has said he doesn’t want to see Roe v. Wade overturned and that he would support federal legislation codifying the precedent with some limits.

“I would vote for a bill that protects a woman’s right to choose early in the pregnancy,” he told conservative talk radio host Dan Caplis last month. “I would also protect that right in cases of rape, incest and medical necessities.”

He opposes “late-term abortions,” but hasn’t defined exactly what late term means except to say that he thinks abortions shouldn’t be allowed in the third trimester — or last three months — of a pregnancy.

“I do not support taxpayer funding for abortion,” O’Dea said. “I believe in parental notification requirements for minors.”

Hanks, meanwhile, says all abortions should be banned, regardless of whether the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest or the mother’s life is at risk.

“I believe life starts at conception,” he said. “There should not be any exceptions.”

The outcome of the 2020 election

Hanks is among the loudest deniers of the 2020 presidential election results in Colorado, aligning himself with indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is running to be Colorado’s secretary of state, and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, one of the nation’s most high profile election deniers.

Hanks, who baselessly believes that President Donald Trump won the contest, attended the rally on Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“Trump won this,” Hanks said at a candidate forum a few months ago.

Hanks sponsored a bill in the Colorado legislature this year that would have overhauled the state’s election system, including by:

Eliminating voting by mail, except for certain absentee voters

Requiring that voting take place on election day

Requiring voters to have a state-issued ID to receive a ballot

Requiring that ballots be counted by hand and for election results to be provided within 24 hours of polls closing

O’Dea, meanwhile, rejects claims that the 2020 election was really won by Trump.

“I don’t believe the election was stolen,” he said at the same candidate forum.

MORE: Colorado’s June 28 primary will test just how much Republicans embrace 2020 election conspiracies

Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Another notable area where Hanks and O’Dea differ is on the war in Ukraine and Russian President Vladamir Putin.

Hanks, a military veteran, said Putin “does not need to take the beating and the embarrassment that this regime is putting him through.” The “regime” he was apparently referring to was the Biden administration.

“At some point he can extract great pain against the United States — whether it’s a cyber attack, whether it’s blocking shipping lanes,” Hanks said. “Actually, (Putin’s) options are quite unlimited.”

Hanks said he thinks that Sweden and Finland should not be allowed to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO, right now because it may further upset Putin. Allowing the two countries to join later on would be better, Hanks said.

O’Dea called Putin a “punk” and said the U.S. shouldn’t “back down” from him, though he agreed with Hanks that American troops shouldn’t be sent to Ukraine right now.

“I would support Sweden and Finland in NATO as long as they pay their fair share,” O’Dea said. “For far too long we’ve had a lot of these NATO members that have shortchanged us. I think Trump did a good job saying ,‘You know what, it’s time for you guys to pay your fair share.’“

Climate change

Hanks has suggested that climate change isn’t real.

“I don’t want to sit here and pretend climate change is a real issue,” he said at a candidate forum. “It’s called weather. And they have used it as a lever to control policy and to control conversation and we’ve got to push back.”

O’Dea said in a written statement that  “the climate is getting warmer and humans contribute to that in some way.”

“But where Biden and Democrats get it wrong is with their top-down government mandates,” he said. “We must foster innovation and embrace an all-of-the-above energy policy that encourages natural gas production, solar and wind technologies, small, modular nuclear reactors, geothermal and hydropower. Begging despots and dictators for their oil, like Bennet and Biden want to do, is a losing energy policy when we have the resources to be energy independent here at home.”

Who should lead the Senate Republican caucus?

O’Dea hasn’t ruled out backing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to continue leading the Senate Republican caucus.

“It would depend on who (McConnell’s) running against,” O’Dea said.

Hanks said he would not support McConnell.

“He called everyone that went to Jan. 6 an insurrectionist, as did Michael Bennet,” Hanks said. “I’ve got no respect for him. Those were peaceful Americans that were concerned about their country.”

How to win in 2022

O’Dea and Hanks are split on how to beat Bennet in November, which will require a significant amount of support from unaffiliated voters, who make up 45% of the state’s electorate.

O’Dea said he plans to stick to the issues affecting Americans — namely rising consumer costs — and find middle ground where possible.

“I’m going to run this campaign against inflation, crime and $4 gas,” he said, “not social issues.”

Hanks thinks Republicans need to be more unyielding in their conservatism to win in Colorado.

“I think the Republican Party has lost its way and is not firm enough in its conviction,” he said. “I firmly believe if we have convictions and we tell people our beliefs and convince them we are going to stand by them they are going to come back to the party.”

Representative to 118th Congress: Lori Saine, Jan Kulmann, Barbara Kirkmeyer, Tyler Allcorn

Four Republicans are running in their party’s primary to be the candidate for a new congressional seat added to Colorado following the 2020 census.

On the map: The 8th Congressional District encompasses the suburbs north of Denver, including sections of Adams, Larimer and Weld counties.

Meet the candidates: The options are Army veteran Tyler Allcorn, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine

Of note: Saine has the top line (meaning her name will appear first on the ballot) because she qualified through the party assembly. The other candidates submitted petitions.

Between the lines: All four candidates share similar conservative views, but differentiate themselves by degrees.

Allcorn wants to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, doesn’t believe former President Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election being stolen, and believes his knowledge of foreign affairs and the military help him stand out in the field.
Kirkmeyer says she’s the go-to candidate on agricultural issues, though she noted that securing the southern border would be a top priority for her if elected. She’s worried about inflation, and wants the country to continue its energy independence.
Kulmann’s big focus is energy — specifically, making sure the U.S. is dominant in this sector. She also wants to see fewer “career politicians” in Washington.
Saine holds the most conservative record in the race from her time as a state lawmaker, but in some ways she’s out of step with the party’s mainstream voters. She told the Colorado Sun that her top priority in Washington would be stopping President’s Biden’s agenda. She wants to strengthen the military and ramp up domestic energy production.
The other side: State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician who represents Thornton, won the Democratic nomination in April.

The big picture: This will be a highly competitive race. Cook Political Report has labeled it a tossup.

Governor: Greg Lopezz or Heidi Ganahi

Two Republicans are competing for a chance to do the improbable: Defeat an incumbent with tens of millions to spend and become their party’s first governor in Colorado in 15 years.

What to know: Heidi Ganahl, a University of Colorado regent, and Greg Lopez, a former Parker mayor, are the GOP’s two options in the June primary election.

Ganahl called a bid to defeat Gov. Jared Polis a “moonshot.” Polis spent $23 million of his own money to get elected in 2018.
Neither Republican is mounting a high-profile campaign at this point.
Meet the candidates: Ganahl, who lives in Lone Tree, is the only current Republican elected to statewide office. She founded and ultimately sold Camp Bow Wow, a pet care facility. She now works for causes on behalf of nonprofits.

She lost her first husband at age 27, and survived a recent brain tumor scare.

Lopez, who lives in Elizabeth, once served as the Democratic mayor of Parker, later switching parties. He’s now embracing the most conservative policies after losing bids for the U.S. Senate in 2016 and Colorado governor in 2018.

He previously served as the Small Business Administration’s Colorado director. After leaving the office, he admitted in a case brought by federal prosecutors in 2020 that he intervened to help a friend obtain a loan and broke the law.
Zoom in: On the issues, the two candidates are divided, the Colorado Sun reports.

Lopez believes fraud influenced the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, while Ganahl — who initially refused to discuss the matter — says it didn’t.
Lopez opposes all abortion, but Ganahl supports the practice in cases of rape and incest.
Lopez rejects suggestions of human-caused climate change. Ganahl wouldn’t answer the question

Secretary of State: Tina Peters, Mie O’Donell, Pam Anderson

Where the three Republican candidates vying to be Colorado’s secretary of state stand on the issues
Pam Anderson, Mike O’Donnell and Tina Peters have dramatically different positions

Three Republicans are running this year to be Colorado’s next secretary of state, a position in which they would oversee the administration of elections and handle business registration.

It’s a job that’s become highly politicized since the 2020 presidential election, which former Republican President Donald Trump and his supporters baselessly claim was stolen from him through fraud and malfeasance. Two of the three GOP candidates embrace those claims.

The Republican candidate who wins the June 28 primary will go on in November to face Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who has risen to national prominence defending election systems in Colorado and elsewhere.

The Colorado Sun asked the three GOP candidates about some of the major issues in the contest.

Who are the candidates?

Left to right, the three Republicans running to be Colorado’s next secretary of state: Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, and Mike O’Donnell, a nonprofit leader. (Colorado Sun file photos)
Pam Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk and recorder and the former executive director of the Colorado County Clerks

Mike O’Donnell, an Australian immigrant and Yuma County resident who has worked at nonprofits that make loans to small businesses. He does not have experience in election administration.
Tina Peters, the Mesa County clerk who was indicted earlier this year in a security breach of her county’s election system. She has also been barred by a judge from overseeing the 2022 elections in Mesa County partly because of the breach, which stemmed from her belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

Yes or no: Was the 2020 presidential election stolen?
ANDERSON: “No. Here in Colorado we have independent, verifiable paper ballots audits that have found no evidence that the outcome was incorrect.”

O’DONNELL: “Well, I can’t say yes or no to that. We have a president (Joe Biden) who’s in power today. So whether or not it was stolen, we probably won’t know for quite a while, but (Biden) is the elected president.”

PETERS: Yes. “This is a personal opinion based on the evidence that I have seen and gone through and based on what I know from our reports. I do believe there may have been enough fraud that it turned the election.”

Top priorities for the candidates
ANDERSON: She said she wants to restore “trusted professionalism” to the Secretary of State’s Office and to county clerk and recorder offices across Colorado. “We have had a long tradition of nonpartisan administration in these offices that sort of remain above that partisan fray,” she said. “That’s been my record, as both a municipal and county clerk both from the management side as well as the elections administration side.”

O’DONNELL: He said he wants to work with the legislature and members of his executive team at the Secretary of State’s Office to craft bills, including a measure that would “wind back” automatic voter registration, the process in which people are registered to vote when they get their driver’s license. O’Donnell said he also wants to “look at what we can do to not decimate the small business sector the same way we did during COVID.”

PETERS: “For sure it would be election security. If someone is voting who shouldn’t be voting, that’s diluting your vote.”

Mail-in ballots and early voting
We asked the three candidates if they’d support ending Colorado’s all-mail-ballot elections, which became statewide in 2013, and if they’d limit or end early in-person voting.

ANDERSON: She’d keep the current system. “For access to our constitutional rights here in Colorado, our model provides freedom of choice to the voter. While we proactively mail a ballot to every active eligible voter, the choice still remains for the voter if they wish to utilize that mail ballot or to go to a vote center anywhere in their county. I think that choice remaining with the voter is important.”

O’DONNELL: He didn’t directly answer the mail-ballots question. “There are people who pretend to be residents here who get their ballots sent out of state and are voting from out of state.” On early voting: “I’m not sure that I have a strong opinion about that. I think we start voting very, very early here.”

PETERS: She said use of mail-in ballots should be limited to people who can’t vote in person because of physical disabilities or overseas voters, though she added “if we can eliminate the fraud any other way, I’m all for solutions. … I think that some of these, what they call conveniences, have gotten to the point where they’re being abused.” She said, however, that early voting is fine.

On changing or eliminating election rules

A sign in Spanish stands near voters as they cast their ballots at stations inside the La Familia Recreation Center in the Baker neighborhood Nov. 3, 2020, south of downtown Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office enacts election rules that county clerks have to abide by. We asked the three GOP candidates how they would approach the rulemaking process.

ANDERSON: She said she would like to examine rules on candidate and petition signature collection, as well as rules ballot signature verification. And she wants to return “to being inclusive with the local election officials and how these rules impact voters on the ground.”

O’DONNELL: He said he’s concerned that current rules allow potential noncitizens to register to vote, in turn inflating voter rolls. He said he’d want to change such rules.

PETERS: She said she’d eliminate a 2021 rule prohibiting third-party audits of election equipment, which was aimed at addressing calls from her and her followersothers for an Arizona-style audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Colorado. She said she might also get rid of other rules. “This secretary of state — and I’ve talked to other clerks who have been around for 20 years — has passed more legislation, has rolled out more rules than any one secretary of state in the last 20 years.”

Relationship with county clerks and their association

Elections are managed at the local level by county clerks, who oversee ballot printing and counting and audits of results. The secretary of state works closely with those clerks and the Colorado County Clerks Association, so The Sun asked the three candidates about how they would work with both.

ANDERSON: She said that all elections are local and thus maintaining good relationships with county clerks and recorders is paramount. “There is a regulatory role that’s appropriate as well, but making sure that we’re collaborating on resources, training, education and security (is critical),” Anderson said.

O’DONNELL: He said he’s been meeting with county clerks and believes the state is creating too much work for them in some areas, such as when it comes to motor vehicles and a new requirement from the legislature to sell park passes with vehicle registrations. He said he isn’t “connected with the County Clerk’s Association.”

PETERS: She said she disagrees with how the clerks association has handled the Mesa County controversy that ensued after she allegedly allowed an unauthorized person access to voting equipment and a sensitive election system software update. She implied that other clerks don’t understand the conspiracy she baselessly claims occurs between Griswold and Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, which provided machines that process the vast majority of ballots in Colorado.

Individual questions for each candidate
The Sun asked Anderson about her role as a director of the Center for Technology and Civic Life, which distributed grants from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation to local election offices around the country in 2020 to help defray costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. (She’s on leave from the organization while running for office.)

ANDERSON: She said she served with the center as a volunteer director, one of many volunteer roles she’s played “because of my expertise as a local election official.” ”I don’t know Mark Zuckerberg. Never met him. I’ve never been paid in these capacities,” she said.

O’Donnell is a political novice and the only Republican candidate for secretary of state without experience administering elections. We asked him how he’d handle being the state’s top election official.

O’DONNELL: He said he would join a national association for election officials and take online classes in election administration if he wins the primary. “A lot of the elections are handled by the county clerks and the system is well in place. There are a lot of rules that don’t make sense to me, there are a lot of things that just inflate the voter rolls and little issues we have with not removing people from the voter rolls.”

The Sun asked Peters how she could serve as secretary of state if she ends up being convicted of the charges against her, which could result in a prison sentence.

PETERS: “I will never plead guilty because I’ve committed no crime … This is a political maneuver to color the minds of the voters to keep me out of the Secretary of State’s Office,” she said. She said that if she were convicted and sentenced to prison she “will have in place in the Secretary of State’s Office … people that are trustworthy, that are honest, that are strong, that are capable — that can run that office.”

Board of Education: Peggy Propst or Cody LeBlanc

Voters’ first decision — the only contested primary — will be in June’s Republican primary for the 8th District. Peggy Propst, a former State Board member and county commissioner who recently moved to the district, faces Cody LeBlanc, a young school board member and political activist from Weld County.

Propst, who recently married, represented the Colorado Springs area on the State Board from 2004 to 2010 as Peggy Littleton. She wants to support the state’s efforts to improve reading instruction and represent parents who didn’t like what they saw in remote learning.

Colorado Senate candidate Joe O’Dea sues over mailers comparing him with GOP primary rival Ron Hanks
“People are upset about their kids’ education, and they should be, and I can do something about this so we can get back to the true way where we focus on the things that matter,” Propst said.

LeBlanc said he’ll be an advocate for local control and hopes a Republican-controlled State Board can serve as a check on the legislature, if Democrats retain power.

“Why is the state mandating what we teach in our classrooms if we’re a local control state?” he said. “One reason I want to be on the State Board is to return power to local school districts.”

Both want to revamp Colorado’s standards, which are based on the Common Core. Propst voted against them in 2010 as a State Board member, while then-12-year-old LeBlanc protested against them as the founder of Teenage Republicans of Northern Colorado.

The primary winner will face Democrat Rhonda Solis in November. Solis just completed two terms on the Greeley-Evans school board. Solis is vice president of the Latino Coalition of Weld County and active on community issues. Solis said she wants to support teachers who have “really taken a beating” in recent years and make sure students have access to high-quality neighborhood schools.

Regent of the University: Eric Rinard, Mark VanDriel

Eric Rinard

Party: Republican
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education, University of Colorado-Boulder

What are your top three priorities if elected?

Uphold and defend all four of CU’s Strategic Pillars designed to preserve sustainable and accessible excellence at our nationally ranked public university. Maintain successful and innovative four-year undergraduate tuition guarantee at CU Boulder since 2016 and expand it to other campuses. Promote diversity, especially in free inquiry that sometimes challenges academic orthodoxy. Promote minority rights while recognizing that the smallest minority is the individual. Foster a competitive environment for student athletics.

What experience has prepared you for office?

My exposure to higher education began at an early age, as one of three children of a University of Denver professor of electrical engineering. My formative years were filled with visits to the DU campus offices and laboratories, and detailed descriptions of research programs like hands-free communication via sensing of eye movements (ocular control) and early development of electric powered cars, decades before their commercialization. My own engineering career has produced commercial success in the industries of computer peripherals, data storage, home automation and currently, ultrafast pulsed lasers for research and industry. I have lived near the center of what is now the 8th congressional district for about twenty years. Twelve years ago, I became a volunteer for my county Republican Party, and six years ago became a board member at my children’s public charter school. I have also traveled internationally, including Canada and Mexico on our continent, and many different countries in Europe. On every visit I am eager to learn about the uniqueness of each of these varied cultures. The sum of these experiences from both inside and outside of a university environment, paired with my innate curiosity about the world we live in, gives me a unique, science-based perspective from which to approach the role of a CU Regent. And to top it off, I am proud to be a CU Buff for life!

Mark VanDriel

Party: Republican
Education: Bachelor’s degree in History, 2009, University of Norther Colorado; Ph.D. in History, 2017, University of South Carolina.
What are your top three priorities if elected?

Affordability: tuition has tripled in 18 years at CU, and that growth cannot continue. Accessibility: CU should be a flagship university for all of Colorado, equally accessible to all regardless of beliefs and prior circumstances. I think there are two areas, in particular, to increase accessibility: making unpopular speech welcome on campus and robustly fighting “cancel culture,” and making CU more open to first generation students

Accountability: I believe that the CU Regents have over the past several decades allowed for a large disconnect between regent law/official policy and the lived experience at CU Campuses. I want to dismantle this disconnect and help CU live up to its actual promises.

What experience has prepared you for office?

Starting in 2012 I became heavily involved in campus administration at the University of South Carolina, serving on many resource, advisory, and steering committees. I was elected multiple times and represented thousands of constituents in university proceedings. Of particular note, I served on several senior executive hiring committees as well as on faculty advisory committees. I have been the faculty instructor in traditional and non-traditional classrooms and in specialized courses for almost every segment of university students and I have been recognized with a number of awards for my teaching. In summary, I have both the administrative experience to be an effective Regent, and the instructional experience to appreciate and craft effective policies considering the diverse backgrounds and educational realities present at CU.

County Commissioner: Kevin Ross or Elijah Hatch

  • Elijah Hatch — Kersey businessman and current Weld County Planning Commission member.
  • Kevin Ross — Current mayor of Eaton and candidate for at-large commissioner seat.

Ross …..

In 2020 I had the privilege of serving as Weld County Commissioner for 10 months after being appointed to a vacated seat.

We, the Weld County Board of Commissioners, accomplished a great deal in arguably one of the most challenging years ever.

We were able to keep Weld County moving forward while continuing to uphold individual rights and kept Weld County debt-free.

I fought for private property rights by securing favorable oil and gas rules for Weld County residents.

I stood up for ag producers as they faced an onslaught of potentially destructive legislation against their operations.

I am a strong conservative and proven leader.

I will fight to keep Weld County strong!

Financial Responsibility
I have a proven record of financial responsibility and will work to keep Weld County with NO DEBT while providing excellent service for our citizens.

I promise to not raise taxes and I promise to keep Weld County debt free.

If we DON’T have the money, we DON’T buy it.

I am not willing to saddle future generations with debt because we cannot plan properly today.
Water is the lifeblood of Weld County, for our homes, our businesses and our agriculture.

Continuing to protect and secure our water rights will be a priority of mine as commissioner.

Together, we can keep Weld County water in Weld County.
Oil and Gas
Clean, reliable, American produced energy is essential for our economic vitality and our national security, now more than ever.

I stood up for our oil and gas industry.

After the state ignored the will of the voters and imposed 2000-foot drilling setbacks, as County Commissioner, I helped craft language that allowed producers to drill as near as 500 feet from a structure
As Weld County Commissioner, I fought for our ag industry.

Testifying and pushing back against the state as they tried to impose more regulations and restrictions that would be harmful to ag producers.

I know the importance of agriculture to Weld County and will make sure that Weld County keeps feeding America.
Transporation is a key issue in Weld County.

I have the experience and track record to get it done without taking on unnecessary debt or raising taxes.

I served on the Highway 85 Coalition, the I-25 Mayors Bullseye Coalition and the Front Range Metropolitan Planning Organization securing funding for the I-25 expansion decades ahead of federal schedules.

Theme: Elation by Kaira.