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A new report from ABC News and Five Thirty Eight shows that nearly 2/3 of Americans will have an election denier on their ballot in November. All of them are running as Republicans.
The report detailed positions from every GOP nominee for US Congress, US Senate, Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. Of the 552 Republicans running for those seats nationwide, 201 have “fully denied” Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election.
All of these candidates either “clearly stated the election was stolen from Trump” or “took action to overturn the results“.
Another 61 Republican candidates have “raised questions” about the election. While they haven’t “explicitly stated” the election was stolen or tried to overturn it, they also won’t say the election was legitimate.
Over 100 others gave no comment or avoided answering when asked about the election directly. More than 90 others said they accepted the results, but had reservations.
Of all 552 Republicans, only 77 have fully accepted the results of the election. And as Election Day draws closer, polls are showing that buying into the “big lie” might hurt the GOP’s chances.
Some Republicans try to hide positions on elections as midterms near
Some Republicans who latched on to election conspiracy theories to win their primaries are now changing course ahead of November.
In Washington state, US Senate Candidate Tiffany Smiley “scrubbed her website” of statements that called into question the legitimacy of the 2020 election. According to reporting from Axios, Smiley, who is running against incumbent Senator Patty Murray, “deleted a section of her website that previously questioned the integrity of the 2020 elections”.
Smiley has stated that Joe Biden “is our duly elected President”. However, in an awkward CNN interview recently, she wouldn’t state that the election was legitimate.
In swing states like New Hampshire, Arizona and Pennsylvania, election deniers won GOP primaries despite opposition from other Republicans.
In New Hampshire, election denier Doug Bolduc did a dizzying about-face after winning the GOP primary for US Senate. Bolduc plainly stated the election was stolen throughout the primary, only to say it was legitimate a few days later.
Dr. Oz, the GOP nominee for US Senate in Pennsylvania, seemed to take two different positions in the same day. During an interview with Fox News on September 6, Oz would not say the 2020 election wasn’t stolen. Just a few hours later, Oz said he would have certified the results if he was in the US Senate.
In Arizona, election deniers Kari Lake (Gubernatorial candidate) and Blake Masters (Senate candidate) repeatedly call the election “stolen”. Lake even says her Democratic opponent (the current Arizona Secretary of State) should be jailed for certifying the election.
Election lies have been largely targeted in urban areas with a large proportion of Black and Latino voters. States nationwide have worked since 2020 to enhance restrictions on voting. Civil rights groups argue the narrative of fraud in the 2020 election is an attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.
Will dangerous, anti-democratic rhetoric from Republican election deniers prevail in November?
With just over six weeks remaining until the midterm elections, America faces perhaps one of the greatest tests of its democracy, according to Republicans like Liz Cheney.
Cheney, a leading Republican and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced recently she will actively campaign against election deniers in key swing states.
The former Republican House whip was excommunicated from her party for standing up to Trump, losing her primary to an election denier last month. That loss only fueled Cheney to ensure that Trump and other MAGA extremists don’t gain a foothold in power.
“I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, make sure he’s not the nominee,” Cheney told the Texas Tribune recently. “And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.”
In a midterm election that should historically be devastating for Democrats is turning increasingly in their favor. Recent polling shows Democrats within striking distance of flipping three gubernatorial seats and expanding their majority in the Senate.
Polling still indicates Republicans are likely to win the House, but by much smaller margins that expected. Rather than securing a 30 or 40 seat majority, latest projections show Republicans winning with a slim 11-seat majority.
Recent polls show that nearly two thirds of Americans view efforts to overturn an election as “a crime”. As November 8th nears and election denier candidates continue to push lies and falsehoods, it’s possible that gap may only continue to close.