State Rep. Ron Hanks to challenge U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in 2022

Republican State Rep. Ron Hanks of Penrose, an outspoken 2020 election denier who attended the Jan. 6 rally at the U.S. Capitol, filed federal paperwork Friday to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in 2022.

Hanks is a relative newcomer to Colorado politics, first elected to the statehouse last November. He puzzled fellow lawmakers by not showing up for the start of the 2020 legislative session, and at the close of the session he forced a vote of the House GOP caucus in an unsuccessful attempt to oust Minority Leader Hugh McKean.

Hanks also joked about lynching on the floor of the House in April, prompting criticism from Democrats and Black lawmakers in particular.

Colorado Politics first reported Hanks’ candidacy. He did not return a phone call from The Denver Post on Friday.

This is his second run for federal office. In 2010, running under the name Loren Hanks, he lost in a bid to represent California’s 1st Congressional District.

Other Republican candidates trying to take Bennet’s include Erik Aadland, Eli Bremer, Karen Breslin, Juli Henry and Peter Yu.

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