State Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Fremont County (Handout)

State Rep. Ron Hanks, a controversial Republican who has peddled unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election being fraudulent, on Friday filed to run for U.S. Senate.

“The U.S. Senate race needs to be shaken up a bit,” Hanks said in a text to The Colorado Sun.

“As the great Paul Harvey used to say: ‘Stand by for news!” Hanks said, declining to comment further.

State Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Fremont County (Handout)

Hanks, an Air Force veteran, is the sixth Republican to file with the Federal Elections Commission with the hopes of challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in 2022. Also running are former El Paso County Republican Chairman Eli Bremer, Army veteran Erik Aadland, unsuccessful 2020 2nd Congressional District candidate Peter Yu and Colorado Springs resident Juli Henri.

Gino Campana, a former member of the Fort Collins City Council, also filed to run on Friday.

The Republican who wins the GOP nomination will have a difficult path to victory. President Joe Biden won Colorado by more than 13 percentage points in 2020 and Bennet has already won two U.S. Senate elections.

The Cook Political Report, an election prognosticator, says Colorado leans solidly in Bennet’s favor next year.

Hanks is an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump. He attended a rally that preceded the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hanks said he didn’t enter the Capitol during the riot.

After Colorado’s 2021 legislative session ended in June, the Fremont County Republican drove to Arizona to observe an “audit” of Maricopa County ballots. That exercise, conducted by a consulting firm with no experience in election administration, recently concluded that Democratic President Joe Biden did, indeed, receive more votes than Trump in the county. 

Hanks also attended a conference in August, hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, during which baseless claims about the 2020 election being stolen were discussed.

More recently, Hanks was among a group of Republicans trying to get the Colorado GOP to opt out of holding a primary election in 2022 because Colorado allows unaffiliated voters to participate. That effort failed in September.

During his first year in the state House, Hanks stirred controversy with remarks about slavery. He said that the Three-Fifths compromise, an 18th Century policy classifying slaves as three-fifths of a person for congressional apportionment purposes, “was not impugning anybody’s humanity.”

Just before making the remarks, Hanks was accidentally introduced as fellow Republican Rep. Mike Lynch.

“Being called Mr. Lynch might be a good thing for what I’m about to say. No, just kidding,” Hanks said.

Hanks said his comments were taken out of context.

YouTube video

The 2022 U.S. Senate race in Colorado won’t be Hanks’ first congressional run. He made an unsuccessful bid for a U.S. House seat in California in 2010.

Colorado is in the middle of its once-in-a-decade redistricting process and a draft state House map recently released would place him in the same district with another first-year GOP representative, Stephanie Luck, of Penrose.

The Colorado Sun —

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Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage.

A Colorado College graduate, Jesse worked at The Denver Post from June 2014 until July 2018, when he joined The Sun. He was also an intern at The Gazette in Colorado Springs and The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, his hometown.

Jesse has won awards for long form feature writing, public service reporting, sustained coverage and deadline news reporting.

Email: Twitter: @jesseapaul

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