Republicans Aren’t Running Or Hiding From The Big Lie, They’re Endorsing It
June 14, 2022
Across the country, MAGA extremists have taken over the Republican Party. Instead of pushing back against Donald Trump’s Big Lie, more than 100 candidates are running on the defeated former president’s conspiracy theories. In their desperate attempt for power, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the MAGA Republicans will do just about anything, including enabling extreme election deniers.
Washington Post: More than 100 GOP primary winners back Trump’s false fraud claims
By Amy Gardner and Isaac Arnsdorf
June 14, 2022
J.R. Majewski marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and tweeted a photo with the caption: “It’s going down on 1/6.” Last month, he won the Republican nomination in an Ohio congressional district along Lake Erie.
Monica De La Cruz, an insurance agent, contested her defeat in 2020 by repeating former president Donald Trump’s disproved allegations of mail-ballot fraud. For a second time, De La Cruz is the GOP nominee for a Texas House seat that touches the Mexican border.
In an open primary in a safely Republican Georgia district, all nine candidates questioned the 2020 result. Of the two candidates who advanced to this month’s runoff, lawyer Jake Evans touted his past efforts to “overturn” elections, while physician Rich McCormick emphasized that he refused to concede in a 2018 race.
“No one was hurt by voter fraud more than myself,” McCormick said during a May debate.
About a third of the way through the 2022 primaries, voters have nominated scores of Republican candidates for state and federal office who say the 2020 election was rigged, according to a new analysis by The Washington Post.
District by district, state by state, voters in places that cast ballots through the end of May have chosen at least 108 candidates for statewide office or Congress who have repeated Trump’s lies. The number jumps to at least 149 winning candidates — out of more than 170 races — when it includes those who have campaigned on a platform of tightening voting rules or more stringently enforcing those already on the books, despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud.
Many will hold positions with the power to interfere in the outcomes of future contests — to block the certification of election results, to change the rules around the awarding of their states’ electoral votes or to acquiesce to litigation attempting to set aside the popular vote.
As the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol laid out in vivid detail at a hearing on Monday, Trump’s obsession with discrediting and overturning the 2020 result began even before Election Day. Members of his inner circle testified they repeatedly told him that his fraud claims were baseless.
Despite some high-profile setbacks for his candidates, notably in Georgia, Trump’s demand that fellow Republicans embrace the cause of election denialism has become a price of admission in most Republican primaries. The collection of falsehoods that committee members have described as “the big lie” is now a central driving force of the Republican Party.
So far, voters have chosen eight candidates for the U.S. Senate, 86 candidates for the House, five for governor, four for state attorney general and one for secretary of state who embrace Trump’s election denialism. The tally does not include the most recent round of primaries on June 7. The Post will continue to update its analysis throughout the year.
Many of the winning candidates are overt in their intentions to use public office to affect electoral outcomes.
In Pennsylvania, gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano has asserted that the Republican-controlled legislature should have the right to take control of the all-important choice over which presidential electors to send to Washington. If he wins in the fall, he will have the authority to sign legislation to that effect and his powers will include the appointment of the Pennsylvania secretary of state, who oversees election administration.
In Michigan, Republican nominee for attorney general Matthew DePerno spearheaded a November 2020 lawsuit over an election night tabulation error in Antrim County that Trump supporters have seized on in their efforts to perpetuate unfounded claims of fraud. Secretary of state nominee Kristina Karamo served as an observer in Detroit during the 2020 absentee ballot count and claimed without offering supporting evidence that she had witnessed fraud.
DePerno has promised to lead criminal investigations of alleged fraud in 2020 despite the conclusion by Republican state senators that his allegations are “demonstrably false.”
Neither Mastriano nor DePerno responded to requests for comment. The campaigns of Majewski, McCormick and Evans did not respond to requests for comment.
Keith Self, the runner-up in a Republican-leaning Texas congressional seat, became the nominee after incumbent Rep. Van Taylor (R) admitted to an affair and withdrew.
Self’s campaign emphasized the need to combat election fraud. In an interview, he said he hopes to serve on the House Administration Committee — not usually considered a plum assignment, but appealing to Self because it is responsible for overseeing elections. The panel is sometimes charged with settling disputes in congressional races.
“That’s where election integrity resides,” he said. Self declined to specify what hearings, investigations or legislation he would work on through the committee, saying it would depend on the results of the November midterms.
“My focus is protecting states’ rights in running elections,” he said.
For many candidates, the embrace of Trump’s false statements is a clear attempt to court the former president’s endorsement or campaign contributions — or to avoid his wrath.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) felt that wrath acutely in March, when Trump rescinded his endorsement after Brooks dismissed talk of the 2020 result and urged voters to move on.
“Mo Brooks of Alabama made a horrible mistake recently when he went ‘woke’ and stated, referring to the 2020 Presidential Election Scam, ‘Put that behind you, put that behind you,’” Trump said in a statement at the time.
Brooks got the message. Last week, he made a clear bid for Trump to reconsider a nod in his runoff Senate election against fellow election denier Katie Britt with this tweet: “Today I’m challenging @KatieBrittforAL to participate in a 2 question debate on 1 topic: 1) Was the 2020 election stolen? 2) Did Donald Trump (@TrumpWarRoom) win or not? I say ‘Yes’ to both. Katie can accept or reject this debate challenge publicly on any of her social media.”
One of the more striking findings in The Post’s analysis is how many candidates have felt compelled to embrace some aspect of Trump’s false election narrative — even those who have stopped short of questioning the 2020 result itself.
“Nebraskans deserve to have confidence in our election process, and we have more work to do,” wrote Jim Pillen, the Republican nominee for Nebraska governor, in a recent tweet explaining his support for a new voter ID law in the state. Trump won 59 percent of the Nebraska vote in 2020, and there are no reports of widespread voter impersonation there.
Besides Mastriano, DePerno and Karamo, election denier nominees for statewide office in swing states include Herschel Walker for Senate and Burt Jones for lieutenant governor in Georgia, as well as Ted Budd and Mehmet Oz for Senate in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively. In addition, such candidates have won their party’s nomination in at least a half-dozen competitive House districts in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.