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Send Peters home

In general, The Daily Sentinel does not endorse in primary elections. But we are making an exception this year to endorse against the following: running with scissors, drinking Drano and voting for Tina Peters. She is a uniquely unqualified, incompetent and immoral candidate in the Republican race for secretary of state.

We’re not endorsing any of her opponents. We’re simply recognizing that Peters, the current Mesa County Clerk and Recorder, is under indictment for 10 crimes that comprise a mix of serious felonies and misdemeanors. These are not all crimes defensible under her self-deluded “I had to do it to prove there was election fraud”-justification. These are crimes of moral turpitude. Her moral compass should be judged by her attempt to steal a house from her disabled ex-husband, kicking a cop, and showing her contempt for a judge in open court and fraudulent misuse of an employee’s identity.

Her official state offenses range from identity theft and criminal impersonation to failing to obey orders of the secretary of state, according to reporting by The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby.

The Colorado Republican Party even called on Peters to suspend her campaign at the time of her indictment.

“It is our belief, as leaders of the Colorado Republican Party, that any Republican candidate who is indicted with felonies by a grand jury and who will be charged by a Republican District Attorney should suspend their campaign while they undergo the legal challenges associated with those indictments,” state GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, Vice Chairwoman Priscilla Rahn and Secretary Marilyn Harris said in a statement after the indictment.

Peters should have suspended her campaign then, but did not do so and found her way to the top line on the Republican primary ballot. We find this development highly concerning. Peters has no respect for our institutions and doesn’t care if her actions continue to damage them.

As we’ve noted before, her indictment is entirely of her own making. There was a lawful alternative to the actions she took that compromised our vote tabulation machines. Peters took unnatural pleasure in disregarding the rules in the misguided belief that the rule of law no longer applies to her and tampered with the machines herself in the dead of night with the cameras shuttered, committing fraud and other crimes in the process.

This is not someone fit or stable enough to be Colorado’s secretary of state.

And she’s not fit to continue as our County Clerk. She’s been removed from overseeing the elections division because of her own actions. Frankly she probably should have lost that privilege after she failed to count more than 500 votes in the 2019 election.

We don’t make this anti-endorsement lightly. A primary is supposed to be about the party and its voters choosing the candidate to represent them in the general election. That’s not typically the place for news organizations’ opinions, but in this case the integrity of Mesa County’s citizenry is compromised by Peters’ statewide position on the primary ballot. After that process is complete is when we can weigh the various candidates’ strengths and goals and give a recommendation based on our research and in-person assessments.

But we also serve a public safety role. In this year’s primary, we have a person running who has displayed anti-social behavior and appears unmoored from reality. We cannot sit on our hands, failing to remind every voter in this primary of the danger of this particular candidate.

Peters, for her own good, should be focused on attempting to complete her term as clerk with dignity and on her own criminal defense. Since she cannot see that for herself, we hope the voters will make the right decision for her.

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