Ronda Churchill/AFP by way of Getty Images
When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp overwhelmingly received the Republican major in Georgia on May 24, his chief opponent former Sen. David Perdue was fast to confess it was over.
“Everything I said about Brian Kemp was true, but here’s the other thing I said was true: he is a much better choice than Stacey Abrams,” he mentioned shortly after polls closed, referring to the matchup this fall between Kemp and Democrat Abrams. “And so we are going to get behind our governor.”
But one other one among his opponents felt one thing was off.
“I want y’all to know that I do not concede,” Kandiss Taylor mentioned in a video posted to social media. “I do not. And if the people who did this and cheated are watching, I do not concede.”
Kemp received Georgia’s major with about 74% of the vote. Perdue, who had the backing of former President Donald Trump, earned about 22% of the vote.
And Taylor? Just 3.4%.
Taylor is a fringe, far-right determine in Georgia with a historical past of creating false claims in regards to the 2020 election, voting machines and the way elections are run. In the times following her defeat, Taylor has requested followers to signal affidavits stating they voted for her to show she received the election — regardless of no proof the vote totals are incorrect and with the deadline to problem an election already handed.
Taylor will not be an outlier, however quite an indicator of a brand new crop of candidates who insist they received their elections, info be damned.
Election denialism is far-reaching within the midterm elections
While Trump has most notably spent the final 18 months denying his 2020 election defeat, regardless of clear proof he misplaced, he is not the one one. During this election cycle, candidates throughout the nation have refused to concede – even in races that aren’t remotely shut.
This week, a Colorado county clerk indicted on costs together with election tampering completed final within the GOP Secretary of State race, refused to acknowledge her loss and accused officers of dishonest.
“We didn’t lose. We just found more fraud,” Mesa County clerk Tina Peters instructed supporters at an Election Night social gathering.”
In South Carolina, a pair of Republican primary challengers said their blowout losses were tainted by serious problems. Both gubernatorial candidate Harrison Musselwhite and attorney general candidate Lauren Martel lost by double digits against popular incumbents, but sent nearly-identical letters to state officials claiming a plethora of concerns with the election.
The South Carolina Republican Party’s executive committee rejected the claims.
And in Nevada, GOP gubernatorial major runner-up Joey Gilbert instructed supporters in a video message he couldn’t have been defeated.
“It is impossible for me to concede under these circumstances,” Gilbert mentioned. “I owe it to my supporters. I owe it to all Nevadans of all parties to ensure that every legal vote is counted legitimately.”
Gilbert, who was exterior the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 although he denies it was for the insurrection, has paid near $200,000 for all 17 counties to recount the governor’s race that noticed him lose by about 11 proportion factors. State and native officers reject Gilbert’s claims.
In all of those circumstances, there is no such thing as a proof to again up claims of fraud that would reverse defeats, and most of those elections weren’t remotely shut. But Matthew Weil with the Bipartisan Policy Center mentioned, sadly, that does not matter to those that push the narrative of fraud.
“There is a very strong segment of the electorate that believes strongly if their candidate had lost, and they were doing well in the polls – even if they weren’t doing well in the polls – it was the election machinery that caused their loss,” he mentioned.
The actual world impression of false fraud claims
The overwhelming majority of elections finish uneventfully, even in shut races, however a current incident in New Mexico exhibits how election denialism is impacting native election procedures.
Commissioners in rural Otero County gained nationwide consideration for initially refusing to certify the ends in the Republican-heavy space. After stress and menace of authorized motion, solely Couy Griffin voted no.
“My vote to just remain a no isn’t based on any evidence,” he mentioned at a June 17 emergency assembly. “It’s not based on any facts, it’s only based on my gut feeling and my own intuition, and that’s all I need.”
Griffin known as into the assembly from Washington, D.C., the place he was sentenced for his function within the Jan. 6 Capitol revolt.
It’s not simply fringe candidates making these claims, both. An NPR investigation tracked four election conspiracy influencers throughout tons of of native occasions in 45 states and the District of Columbia, together with conferences with at the very least 78 elected officers throughout all ranges of presidency.
These sitting lawmakers can have energy to form laws that alter voting legal guidelines and may make it tougher for individuals to vote and simpler to subvert outcomes.
Weill, with the Bipartisan Policy Center, mentioned you additionally do not must look far to see why dropping candidates may benefit from ignoring electoral actuality.
“There are clearly now perverse incentives for losing candidates to keep up the fight long after the certification is complete and they’ve lost,” he mentioned. “And those incentives are that they can raise money for these challenges [that] often don’t cost much because there’s nothing to them, and they can use that money in future cycles.”
The greatest instance of fundraising off of a message of fraud may come from Trump himself. He raised greater than $250 million to cowl authorized charges throughout his makes an attempt to overturn the 2020 election for an election authorized protection fund, in response to the House committee investigating Jan. 6.
But that cash, the committee mentioned, did not go to masking authorized charges. Instead, it went to individuals and organizations aligned with Trump.
Voting consultants and elections officers are frightened this habits will solely enhance in future elections, particularly in battleground states the place some elections aren’t determined by such extensive margins.