GOP candidates Bill McSwain and Joe Lombardo reinforce Trump’s election lie

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Before a speech at an Italian restaurant last week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McSwain answered yes or no. Did he believe that the 2020 presidential election was conducted freely and fairly in Pennsylvania?

He answered neither yes nor no.

“Well, Joe Biden is our president, unfortunately,” McSwain said, according to Jonestown, Pa. Democratic tribune.

It was not the first time that McSwain, a former US attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, dodged a question about the validity of the 2020 election. Nor is he the only one among his class of aspiring governors. Across the country, campaigns for Republican governors are haunted by the 2020 election, which remains a sore point among the GOP base. According to a recent CNN poll, nearly one in six Republican believes it is important that their party members support Donald Trump’s (false) claims that he won the 2020 election.

This new party line has aspiring Republican governors in the Blue States walking a narrow path, casting doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory, even if they don’t outright allege fraud.

McSwain has fueled conspiracy theories about Biden’s victory in the past, sometimes even in conflict with former Trump associates. In June, McSwain wrote a letter to Trump, claiming to have “received various allegations of electoral fraud and electoral irregularities” in Pennsylvania, where Biden’s victory was verified. McSwain appeared to accuse former Trump attorney general Bill Barr of blocking investigations. Barr, in turn, told the Washington post that McSwain’s claims were false and accused McSwain of trying to gain Trump’s support in his bid for governor.

When the Philadelphia Investigator asked McSwain three times if the 2020 presidential election was legitimate, McSwain declined to answer. “I’m not going to discuss this kind of problem,” he told the Applicant. “That’s not what I have a comment on at this point.” (McSwain’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.)

Non-responses like McSwain’s are becoming a catch-all for some Republican candidates. In Nevada, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has strewn his gubernatorial campaign with doubts about the 2020 election.

“ Personally, I believe there has probably been fraud on both sides.“

During an interview with KRNV NBC in June, Lombardo asked if Biden won “fair and square.” “You used the term fair and square,” replied Lombardo. “President Biden won, and I’m moving forward.”

In a meeting with supporters this month, Lombardo asked for the crowd’s opinion on the presidential election. “Do you think there was integrity in the last election? Lombardo asked. “Consensus, right? Me neither, okay, but how to fix it? “

Talk to Reno Gazette-Journal in July, Lombardo said he was unsure whether the 2020 presidential results were accurate. “I don’t have the information to make an informed decision,” he told the Gazette-Journal, adding that “I am not aware of the evidence associated with the investigation. Personally, I believe there has probably been fraud on both sides. We had an environment where it was easy to commit fraud. (His campaign did not return a request for comment.)

In Michigan, another recent lawyer is running for governor with an equally tentative position on 2020. When asked in August if he supports allegations of electoral fraud by Trump, the former chief Detroit police have not given a definitive answer. “If there was evidence, if there was a proper investigation that the election was stolen,” he said, stopping, according to the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t have that information.

He had previously passed on the question when asked the question earlier in August and told reporters “I’m not going to talk about it today”, when he asked him, upon his retirement in May, s ‘he believed in the allegations of electoral fraud.

In New Jersey, meanwhile, the Republican gubernatorial candidate distanced himself from the “Stop The Steal” movement after speaking to a “Stop The Steal” sign at a “Stop The Steal” rally. ” in November.

Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican challenger for Governor Phil Murphy’s office, told the Big Book of Stars that he didn’t know he was speaking at an event that promoted conspiracy theories against voter fraud.

“Yes [the organizer] told me it was a “Stop the Steal” rally, I wouldn’t have attended. I don’t think it’s been good for the nation, ”Ciattarelli told Jersey Matters in March. “Joe Biden is our rightful president.”

Murphy’s campaign accuses Ciattarelli of playing on the far right of the party.

“Assembler Jack Ciattarelli attended a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally to push the same dangerous conspiracies Trump used to ignite extremists before January 6,” Murphy’s campaign spokesman Jerrel Harvey said. , at The Daily Beast. “He then refused to acknowledge that President Biden had been legitimately elected until weeks after the election. Republicans like MP Ciattarelli will do or say anything to flatter the far right, even if it means undermining democracy. “

Ciattarelli’s campaign denied these accusations.

“Jack recognized Joe Biden as president-elect long before his inauguration,” a spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “As far as the rally goes, he never saw the sign and his comments focused entirely on Phil Murphy’s defeat and the Republicans’ election in 2021. These are the facts and Murphy’s team know it. They’re lying just to deflect attention from Murphy’s failed record running our state and arrogantly telling people that if they don’t like high taxes, they should go. “


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