More Than 80 Candidates in 2022 Primaries Are Spreading Trump’s “Big Lie”

Partisan propaganda about the untrustworthiness of elections was worse in 2021 than during the 2020 presidential election, when Donald Trump claimed that he won and incited a riot at the U.S. Capitol to block ratification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to state election directors who fear that 2022’s elections will see deepening disinformation from losing GOP candidates.

“2021 was far worse than 2020,” said Minnesota Elections Director David Maeda, speaking at an event about election security webinar The University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey School of Public Affairs. “The temperature from 2020 had carried over and gotten worse… [and] just keeps escalating because of all of the mistrust from this misinformation, and questions about the security and fairness of our voting systems.”

Current and former top officials echoed these concerns. Colorado, Virginia, and the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security AgencyThey retold their responses but cited new developments including ongoing threats Trump backers to election officials, and an exodus among those officials and workers.

“They’re not dealing with facts, obviously. They’re dealing in emotion,” said Chris Piper, the former Virginia election commissioner, whom Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who was elected last fall, has recently replaced With Susan Beals. “I can give you all the facts in the world, but if your confirmation bias is ‘elections are rigged,’ then the facts are only going to serve to help bolster their [mistaken] case.”

But one trend not cited by the career civil servants on the March 17 webinar was that scores of 2020 election-denying cidates are on 2022’s primary ballots, where they are vying to be this fall’s Republican nominee for governor, attorney general and secretary of state. This May and June Primary elections will be held, including for these statewide office positions.

“To put it simply, the future of fair, professional and nonpartisan elections is on the line,” said a 2021 year-end report This report tracked anti-voter legislation in 41 US states, as produced by States United and Law Forward, and Protect Democracy, all groups that support inclusive, accurate elections.

March States United Action published a more troubling report, “Replacing the Refs,” that showed how the post-2020 trend of pro-Trump Republicans pushing for more restrictive voting legislation has morphed into scores of election-denying candidates running for state office. As of March 1, there were “at least 53 election deniers” running for governor in 24 states, “at least 11 election deniers” running for attorney general in 11 states, and “at least 22 election deniers” running for secretary of state in 18 states.

“The anti-democracy playbook is simple: Change the rules, change the referees, in order to change the results,” their report said. “Politicians who continue to deny the results of the 2020 election want the power to overturn the will of American voters in the future if they don’t like the results. In 2021, legislators introduced more than 260 bills That would be a problem for the nonpartisan administration and election process. Today, Election Deniers are lining up to oversee voting at all levels of the system — from top state offices to precinct-level poll workers. It’s all connected.”

“It’s critical to pay attention to this trend,” it continued. “Research suggests that hyper-partisan or poorly trained election administrators can negatively impact voter experience affect . Some Election Deniers will be present in 2021 won their seats — and in 2022, certain candidates are running on election lies As a campaign issue Earning the endorsement of former President Donald Trump and others who promote the myth that the 2020 election was ‘stolen.’ In fact, there is a coalition of ‘America First’ Secretary of State candidates — a group of at least eight people running for the post this cycle — that all backed former President Trump’s efforts to undermine the will of the voters in 2020.”

The candidates for secretary of state have garnered the most attention because they oversee their state’s elections. Many continue to claim that Trump was robbed from a second term, despite numerous lawsuits filed in their states that never produced any evidence that he won. Governors and attorneys general play important roles in elections. In addition to driving media narratives attorneys general also participate in post-election litigation. Governors also certify presidential victors.

Many of these election-denying candidates won’t be running for Republican nominations on the fall 2022 election ballot. In fact, some states have multiple candidates competing to fill the same statewide office. The candidates for the different offices appear to have slightly different strategies with casting doubt on the 2020 election’s results. These stances, which reflect their hoped-for office’s authority, are seen in their statements on social media, on podcasts, and in press clips.

Shades of Election Denial

States United defines an “election denier” as a candidate who meets one of the following criteria: They “[f]alsely claimed former President Trump won the 2020 election instead of the legitimate winner”; they “[s]pread lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election in public fora”; they “[c]alled for a ‘forensic audit’ of the 2020 presidential election after the results were certified and/or officially audited and/or stood up to multiple legal challenges”; they “[p]romoted conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election in public fora”; and they “[t]ook actions to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election” by backing lawsuits seeking to overturn the results, or organizing or taking part in “Stop the Steal” events.

“It’s so important to remember that it’s all connected,” said Lizzie Ulmer, senior vice president of communications for States United. “The lies about the 2020 election, the January 6 insurrection, the corrupt election reviews we are seeing happen all over the country, the election hijacking and interference attempts we are seeing happen in state legislatures, the threats against election workers, election deniers running for office. Those things are all connected, and they all drive distrust in our system.”

The candidates for attorney general were the most opaque in their election-denial statements. Nonetheless, Steve Marshall, the Republican incumbent in Alabama’s attorney general race, showed up at the White House in December 2020 to support Trump’s post-election fight. Abraham Hamadeh, a Republican candidate in Arizona’s attorney general election, attacked the former recorder in the state’s most populous county (Adrian Fontes, a Democrat now running for secretary of state in Arizona) for unspecified “unconstitutional” actions “to hijack our elections.” Ashley Moody, the Republican incumbent in Florida’s attorney general race, urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a motion from Texas’ attorney general seeking to overturn the Electoral College results from other battleground states, saying “the process” was not followed, but not citing evidence. Matthew DePerno, a Republican candidate for Michigan’s attorney general, attacked the Democratic incumbent “Dana Nessel, the Radical Left, and the RINOs [Republicans in name only]” and touted his role (“he gets results”) in an error-filled and debunked post-2020 “audit” in Antrim County, as he reiterated Trump’s September 16, 2021, endorsement in February 2022.

The candidates for governor were more explicit in their attacks on the voting process and President Biden’s legitimacy. Alaska’s Christopher Kurka said Questioning the results was patriotic, and called for an audit of 2020 ballots and a hand count. Charlie Pierce, who is also running to be Alaska’s Republican nominee for governor, said on social media that problems ranged from “100,000+ Alaskan’s [sic] data being stolen at the State Level to vote dumps in the middle of the night in Swing States.” (The stolen data was voter lists, which are unrelated to count the ballots. Top Republican election officials Arizona Georgia (Says that there were no vote dumps.

In Colorado’s gubernatorial race, Laurie Clark claimed that one voting system maker, Dominion, has stolen elections “since 2005,” while another Colorado candidate, Danielle Neuschwanger, repeated false claims about the election from Pennsylvania and Georgia, pledging, “When I am elected Governor of Colorado, on day one my priority will be restoring election integrity.” Much the same claims were made by Republican candidate for Georgia’s governor David Perdue, a former U.S. senator who in a January 2021 runoff election lost his 2020 re-election bid and who in November 2020 had called for the resignation of his secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, for rejecting Trump’s demand to find enough votes so that he’d win the state in 2020. Like-minded candidates You can also run in Arizona, California and Florida as well as New York, New York, Ohio, Idaho, Illinois and Kansas.

Many of their anti-election statements were made via podcasts and social media platforms that cater to right-wing audiences. Screenshots of these podcasts were included in the article by States United. reports. These platforms championed post 2020 partisan audits, led by the Cyber Ninjas’ review in Arizona) and skepticism about vaccines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of these personalities and platforms are now promoting Russia’s perspective on the war in Ukraine.

Secretaries of State with a conspiracy agenda

The top statewide election administrator was the most explicit candidate in perpetuating the stolen narrative and attacking key elements of the voting process. Wes Allen, a Republican candidate in Alabama’s secretary of state election, supported suing to overturn other states’ election results. Arizona’s Shawnna Bolick, a state legislator running for secretary of state, sponsored a (failed) bill allowing the legislature to reject the voters’ presidential choice. Mark Finchem (another Arizona Republican lawmaker running to be secretary of state), has frequently invited Other election conspiracy theorists to Arkansas. Eddie Joe Williams is a former Arkansas state senator who is now running for secretary. won’t say Biden won the election.

Colorado’s Tina Peters, a county clerk who shared proprietary voting-system data with pro-Trump activists — drawing wide criticism from election professionals — is running against David Winney, another promoter for the GOP nomination in Colorado’s secretary-of-state race. Georgia has two candidates who are attacking Brad Raffensperger, the Republican incumbent.

“The Real Lie is Brad looking us in the eyes and telling us that 2020 was the most secure election in Georgia’s history,” said David Belle Isle, one of the Republican candidates in Georgia’s secretary of state race. Jody Hice (Georgia Republican Congressman), is also running in Georgia for secretary of state. boasted of voting against ratifying Georgia’s 2020 Electoral College votes, and has said that “[t]hey stole the presidential race” and that his candidacy “means being vigilant to all fraud and irregularities.”

The misinformation spread by the other candidates is similar to that of Biden’s victory. They claim that denying the 2020 election results would be patriotic. They have attacked media outlets that report that Biden’s victory was legitimate. They continue to claim that hidden hands secretly manipulated the vote totals and have not produced any evidence.

States United’s Ulmer said that the election-denying candidacies and the false beliefs they present about American elections pose a continuing threat to American democracy.

“It’s a warning sign that the challenges that we saw launched at our free and fair elections in 2020 are far from over,” she said. “And while some have tried to downplay those threats, or move on from 2020, we cannot. It is vital to democracy and how the people are represented and their votes count that we have nonpartisan trusted elections officials in these positions. And what we are seeing happen across the country is putting that system at risk.”

This article was created by Voting Booth, project The Independent Media Institute.