The chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who in the past had been accused of pushing unfounded allegations of voter fraud against Democrats, reportedly ordered a local party official to release false election results in a primary for a state Senate race.
As Salon reported, leaked audio released this week appeared to show U.S. Rep Ken Buck telling a Republican chairman for the state Senate district to “abide by a committee decision” on who would be the party’s nominee and not accurately report the election results, in which a GOP candidate failed to meet the threshold to be on the ballot. As the report noted, the primary saw state Representative Larry Liston defeat GOP activist David Stiver.
Buck told The Denver Post that Stiver believed the election was “unfair” and that the state’s central committee voted to put Stiver on the ballot even though he failed to reach the 30 percent threshold needed to be on it.
In a recorded phone call with Eli Bremer, the GOP chairman for state Senate District 10, Buck could be heard asking for him to go along with the party’s decision, even though the election results said otherwise.
“Do you understand the order of the executive committee and the central committee that you will submit the paperwork to include Mr. Stiver and Mr. Liston on the ballot, with Mr. Liston receiving the top-line vote?” Buck said in the recording.
When Bremer said he would need to seek legal counsel to make sure it was not against the law, Buck appeared to press him and asked if Bremer understood that this was what the committee decided. But Bremer stood firm, saying he would not do so until it was made clear that it was not illegal.
“I will consult with counsel. Yes, sir. I understand the central committee has ordered me to sign an affidavit stating that a candidate got 30% who did not,” Bremer said. “And I will seek legal counsel and determine if I am legally able to follow that.”
Buck told The Denver Post that he was not asking Bremer to commit fraud, noting that he was only asking him to follow the request of the Republican central committee and that he didn’t personally have a stake in the race.
Ken Buck, the GOP congressman who was just caught on audio by the @denverpost pressuring a local party official to report false election results ("it's an order from the central committee"), has repeatedly denounced proposals to expand voting rights for "promoting voter fraud." pic.twitter.com/9wbo2JKMcd— Taniel (@Taniel) May 7, 2020
The release of the leaked recording has gained national attention, especially after Buck had been criticized for what Salon called “bogus allegations” of voter fraud against Democrats, saying that their efforts to expand voting rights were underhanded.