ICYMI: As GOP Nominates Election Deniers for Governor Across the Country, CNN and Washington Post Warn of “Crisis of Democracy”

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New reporting from CNN and the Washington Post highlights the dangerous and unprecedented number of Big Lie conspiracy theorists running for governor across the country — and how they have the potential to seriously damage democracy if elected.

“Governors play a major role in elections,” CNN wrote. “It is possible that some swing states will have their 2024 elections run by both a governor and elections chief who have vehemently rejected Biden’s victory.”

Key excerpts exposing some of the Big Lie candidates for governor:

  • AZ GOP Nominee Kari Lake “has put false claims about the 2020 election at the center of her campaign — repeatedly and falsely declaring the election ‘stolen’ and even calling it ‘disqualifying’ and ‘sickening’ that her top rival in the party primary wouldn’t say the same.”
  • CO GOP Nominee Heidi Ganahl “refused on multiple occasions — including in late 2021 and early 2022 — to say whether Joe Biden won the election legitimately. In November 2021, Ganahl praised a group of election conspiracy theorists that has knocked on Colorado doors looking for evidence of fraud, saying the group was ‘doing great things,’ the website Colorado Newsline reported.”
  • FL Gov. Ron DeSantis “has refused to respond directly when asked if he thinks Biden was legitimately elected or if the election was rigged.”
  • IL GOP Nominee Darren Bailey “signed a letter that asked an Illinois member of Congress to object, on January 6, 2021, to the certification of Biden’s victory; the letter said, ‘Certifying this election is tantamount to legitimizing fraud.’”
  • KS GOP Nominee Derek Schmidt “signed on to a legal brief in support of the Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the election results in four states.”
  • ME GOP Nominee Paul LePage “falsely claimed in a local radio appearance the week after the 2020 election: ‘This is clearly a stolen election.’ He proceeded to make baseless claims about voter fraud and baselessly declare that Democrats don’t want fair elections.”
  • MD GOP Nominee Dan Cox “has been a particularly aggressive denier of the 2020 results. Cox co-organized buses to Trump’s January 6, 2021, rally in Washington, writing on Twitter that he was doing so to ‘#StoptheSteal’ (a ‘steal’ that didn’t occur). During the insurrection at the US Capitol that day, as the mob raged against the vice president who had no power to thwart the certification of Biden’s win, Cox tweeted: ‘Pence is a traitor.’ The month prior, Cox had called on Trump to seize voting machines.”
  • MI GOP Nominee Tudor Dixon “falsely claimed at Republican primary debates that Trump was the legitimate 2020 winner in Michigan, where Biden actually defeated Trump by more than 154,000 votes, and that there was fraud sufficiently widespread to have swung the election to Biden.”
  • MN GOP Nominee Scott Jensen “would not offer a firm answer when asked if he thinks Biden won a ‘constitutional majority’ in the Electoral College … Jensen baselessly suggested at a Republican event in April that Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, should be imprisoned.”
  • NV GOP Nominee Joe Lombardo “has also fomented doubts about the election. In 2021, Lombardo told the Reno Gazette Journal that he didn’t have the information necessary to say if the 2020 results were accurate, and he added that ‘we had an environment where it was easy to commit fraud.’”
  • NY GOP Nominee Lee Zeldin “voted against the certification of Biden’s victories in Arizona and Pennsylvania. In his speech that day, January 6, 2021, he claimed that he was objecting because ‘rogue’ state officials had made ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’ changes to elections policies.”
  • PA GOP Nominee Doug Mastriano “has made an extensive effort to overturn the 2020 election … Mastriano’s campaign chartered buses to the Trump rally in Washington on January 6, 2021. Mastriano himself was pictured on Capitol grounds during the riot at the Capitol that day … Later in 2021, Mastriano spearheaded an effort to begin a so-called ‘forensic investigation’ of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.”
  • TX Gov. Greg Abbott “spoke positively about the lawsuit that sought to overturn the results in four states … In the fall of 2021, after pressure from Trump, he supported a state audit of the 2020 election in four counties in Texas, a state Trump won.”
  • WI GOP Nominee Tim Michels “baselessly said at a campaign event in May: ‘President Trump probably would be president right now if we had election integrity’ … Michels would not directly say whether he would, as governor, endorse an effort by other Republicans to decertify Biden’s 2020 victory in Wisconsin — again, an impossibility.”

“The systemwide protections to ensure fair and free elections will be severely challenged” if an election denier like Doug Mastriano becomes governor, one election lawyer told the Washington Post. “The dam will burst.”

Read the full coverage here and here.