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Democrat Jena Griswold defeats Republican Pam Anderson in Colorado’s secretary of state race

Contest for top election official centered on 2020 election denial, though both candidates agreed Trump didn’t win and that Colorado’s system is safe
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold speaks during a news conference Oct. 15, 2020, about the the state’s efforts to protect the process of casting a vote in the general election in downtown Denver. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press, file)

Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold defeated Republican Pam Anderson on Tuesday to win a second four-year term as Colorado’s top elections official.

Unofficially, Griswold defeated Anderson, a former Jefferson County clerk, 55.12% to 43.37%. She took the stage for a victory speech at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday.

In La Plata County, Griswold won with 57.37% of the vote, to Anderson’s 39.56%. In Montezuma County, Anderson won 57.44% to 39.15%.

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.

Colorado secretary of state candidate Pam Anderson speaks during a Colorado Republican Party news conference Aug. 9. (Sara Wilson/Colorado Newsline, file)

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.

This is a developing story that will be updated.