Thursday, September 29, 2022
Home POLITICS Candidates who deny primary elections allege fraud, win or lose

Candidates who deny primary elections allege fraud, win or lose

In the days leading up to Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial primary, candidate Kari Lake warned that something was seriously wrong. “We’re already detecting some thefts,” Lake said. he said at a campaign stop the week before the election. Hours before the polls close, she hadn’t changed her tone. “If we don’t win, there’s some cheating. And we already know that.” But when the race was over, The lake was the new Republican candidate for governor in Arizona. This created a little logical problem for Lake: How did he win an election that was rigged?

“We outvoted fraud,” Lake said. said at a press conference the next day, adding that his campaign had evidence of fraud that he would not detail with the media but would turn over to “the authorities.”

Lake isn’t the only candidate this primary season who has had to figure out how, or whether, to ring the fraud bell. Some candidates have stayed in the safe space of simply saying that 2020 was rigged. Others have claimed their own race as suspect. Either way, the risks are clear: Every time a candidate says the system is rigged, his or her supporters are more likely to be convinced the system is rigged. And victory does not always put an end to the candidate’s pretensions: many continue, win or lose.

“It’s not just the smaller races where it’s happening. It’s happening in races of all sizes,” said Wendy Weiser, vice president for democracy at the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute. “Part of the concern is how pervasive this tactic has become.”

By my count, at least a dozen primary candidates have lost their election and then immediately reported fraud. Tina Peters, who ran in the Republican primary for secretary of state in Colorado (and has a long history of electoral denial), blamed fraud after his third place finish, saying, “We didn’t lose. We just uncovered more fraud.” Two Republican Primary Candidates for Senate and Governor in Michigan made similar claims after losing by wide margins. Joey Gilbert, Republican gubernatorial candidate in Nevada, asked for a recount after losing the race to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo by about 26,000 votes, citing “false activity” and stating that he did, in fact, win.

In Georgia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kandiss Taylor ended losing the primary by 70 points, coming in third with less than 4 percent of the vote behind the current governor. Brian Kemp and former Trump-backed Sen. David Perdue. However, Taylor has refused to grant. Suspicious of the voting machines used in Georgia (both ballot marking devices and tabulators), he says the election was “rigged” against him and has demanded a manual recount of all ballots. But he also told FiveThirtyEight that he doesn’t know if a recount would change the results.

“I have no ideas. We don’t know,” he said. “It’s not really about, to me, flipping the election. It’s more about the machines going away and us having checks and balances.”

A similar sentiment has been shared by a list of losers from Kentucky’s Republican Party primaries, six of which have sought recounts even when losing by wide margins. The candidates have made no explicit claims of fraud, instead saying their goal is simply to “verify the technology” and verify the results. But Michael Adams, the Kentucky secretary of state and a Republican, said that explanation is just a cover story.

“They are not telling the truth. They love to move goalposts,” Adams said, pointing to one candidate who successfully petitioned for a recount (and raised the money to pay for it), only to file a new complaint after the count confirmed the original results. “They love to make these reasonable-sounding arguments and then they’re asked to do it and they show their true colors.”

In an interview with FiveThirtyEight, Rhonda Palazzo, one of the Kentucky candidates seeking a recount (albeit in a legitimately close race, only 58 votes apart), said she was not making any accusations of fraud, but also referenced to widely discredited Conspiracy theory documentary “2000 Mulas”, which claims that a network of “mules” packed the polls across the country in 2020, using specific evidence.

But many election deniers, like Lake, are winning their elections, presenting them with more than one conundrum. When you have spent months complaining that the electoral system is rigged, what do you say when you win? For some candidates, the solution is to shut up. Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, had A long story to repeat Trump’s claims of a stolen election, right up until he won his primary. When he declared victory on election night, he said nothing about the rigged electoral system and he is not alone. many republican candidates were very happy accept the results of their own races after spending months casting doubt on the 2020 election.

Some filed fraud claims even after winning. After Jim Marchant, the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Nevada, won his race, he said he “wasn’t really sure of the outcome.”

“Fraud is a harsh word, but there could have been anomalies, malicious or accidental, based on what I’ve heard,” Marchant he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, but added that he still accepted his victory. “What am I supposed to do, not win?”

All these candidates sing different verses of the same song, a way of continuing to sow doubts in the electoral system while benefiting from the support of voters who believe in such claims. And given how many election deniers have won their primaries so far, we’ll likely hear an encore in November.

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