Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold defeated Republican Pam Anderson on Tuesday to secure a second four-year term as Colorado’s top elections official.
Griswold led Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk, 55% to 42% at 8:45 p.m. when the she took the stage for a victory speech.
The Democrat’s victory came despite Anderson’s accusations that Griswold politicized the office, using the unrest surrounding the 2020 election outcome as a platform for national media appearances and fundraising emails.
Griswold accused Anderson of accepting election deniers in the Republican Party because she appeared at party events with some candidates who questioned the 2020 results.
Both Griswold and Anderson agreed that the 2020 election outcome was legitimate and that Colorado’s election system, including mail balloting and machine counting, is secure. And both agreed with the removal of indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from election oversight after a grand jury charged her in a breach of her county’s election system.
“Tonight is a big journey but it is just another step toward building a stronger democracy,” Griswold said. “As long as I am secretary of state, I’ll protect the right to vote for every eligible person. I won’t allow our elections to be threatened by anyone, whether it’s a local official or the president of the United States.”
She also commended Anderson for her public service. The Republican called Griswold to concede the contest.
“This is not the result we were hoping for,” Anderson told Republicans. “While we came up short tonight, I believe that we sent a strong message that we should be operating in a nonpartisan way to build voter confidence for all voters in Colorado and across this nation.”
Griswold spent $4.2 million to win reelection, while Anderson spent less than $300,000 on both the primary and general election. Much of Griswold’s spending went to TV advertising.
Democratic outside groups spent nearly $1.5 million on the contest, compared with only about $500,000 spent by GOP groups.
Anderson won a three-way Republican primary in late June that centered on the 2020 presidential election that former President Donald Trump lost. She was the only candidate who accepted the results of the 2020 election, defeating Peters, a national icon among election deniers.
Peters demanded a statewide recount of the primary results, which confirmed that she lost to Anderson by nearly 90,000 votes.