Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks speaks in the state House on May 22, 2021. (Screenshot from The Colorado Channel)
Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is campaigning to win a third term in 2022.
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Hanks, who is in his first term as a state lawmaker, was present for the Jan. 6 insurrection and repeats debunked claims that the November election was fraudulent. This year during his first legislative session, Hanks found himself in the news for being absent during its first days, facing a call for his expulsion from the House, defending the slavery-era three-fifths policy and making a joke about lynching, and threatening to break the neck of the House minority leader.
Bennet’s other Republican challengers include Eli Bremer, Erik Aadland, Peter Yu and Juli Henry.
Hanks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll issued a statement: “State Representative Ron Hanks participated in the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6th and joked about lynching in the 2021 legislative session. He is a right wing extremist and insurrectionist. Hanks’ entry into the crowded GOP primary is proof of Trump’s strong influence over the Colorado Republican Party.”
Bennet is the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools and came to the Senate at first by the way of appointment in 2009. His reelection campaign rests heavily on his leading role in the enactment of an expanded child tax credit, which was part of COVID-19 stimulus legislation.
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