Pennsylvania Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Pass Election Audit – NBC10 Philadelphia
Former President Donald Trump’s bogus claims about a stolen election have been refuted by the courts, his own Justice Department and dozens of recounts.
But in the battlefield state of Pennsylvania, where Trump lost by 80,000 votes eight months ago, they are finding new signs of life.
A Republican state lawmaker, backed by the backing of top Republican candidates, has launched a campaign for a “forensic investigation” into the presidential election results, a review modeled on the widely discredited process underway in Arizona .
The effort is likely to face legal challenges and is still limited to three counties, where it is pushed back even by Republican commissioners. But its march forward is forcing many people to stop seeing it as a lawmaker’s favorite project and take it seriously.
The audit quickly became a litmus test in an electoral cycle where an open governor’s office and open seat in the US Senate – the political equivalent of a blue moon – sparked fiercely competitive Republican primaries.
This has GOP party officials and donors squirming in discomfort, albeit quietly. Some Republicans privately fear that the spectacle of a prolonged election audit will be a time bomb that will not only harm the state’s democratic institutions, but also the party’s credibility with critical voters.
“Most Republicans I know, at the very least, have doubts and at worst are like me and realize that this really is a mistake of epic proportions,” former congressman Charlie Dent said, a centrist Republican from the Allentown area. “Why bring the Arizona Clown Show to Pennsylvania?” “
These concerns were easily quelled by supporters of the effort.
One of them, State Senator Doug Mastriano, who claimed that Trump “asked me” to run for governor, is the leader of the audit and fundraising campaign.
“All I ask is a transparent and thorough investigation to prove to American voters that our votes were counted fairly and that we have nothing to fear,” Mastriano wrote in the email appeal over the week. -end last.
A rival, former congressman Lou Barletta, a candidate for governor, said he was for an audit in December.
Earlier this month, Mastriano sent letters to three counties – including Philadelphia, a Democratic stronghold and the state’s largest city – requesting access to a comprehensive list of information, documents and equipment, with the threat of subpoena.
Governor Tom Wolf and State Attorney General Josh Shapiro, both Democrats, have pledged to fight subpoenas, giving Republicans wary of Trump’s antics hope the audit will have a short lifespan.
Summons are a tool lawmakers have rarely used in the past, making it unclear whether a court would block such an effort, order counties to comply, or simply choose not to intervene, Bruce Ledewitz said. , professor of law at Duquesne University who teaches constitutional law.
“No court will stand in the way, probably,” he predicted. “But that doesn’t mean you get some sort of enforceable title.”
Meanwhile, Mastriano has left key questions unanswered including who will do the job, how it will be funded, and where such a large amount of documents and equipment would be safely stored.
That hasn’t stopped candidates for the US Senate or governor from supporting him.
Sean Parnell, a candidate for the US Senate, said that “half the state” not trusting the election result is a problem that can be solved by an audit, and has rejected official state audits and county as mere “counts” that were insufficient to investigate. allegations that something went wrong.
“And now after the fact people say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe there was some trouble,’ they all hiss at us and say, ‘No, no, fuck you, you don’t. dunno what you “You’re just a bunch of crazy conspiracy theorists,” Parnell told a radio host Wednesday.
In Arizona, the Republican Senate leadership launched the unprecedented partisan audit of votes in Maricopa County, home to Phoenix, despite the votes having already been counted, recounted and certified. The effort was supported by many Republican state lawmakers, state party chairman Kelli Ward and state attorney general Mark Brnovich, a Republican running for the United States Senate.
However, it has drawn scathing criticism from other establishment Republicans, including those who control the Maricopa County Oversight Board; Cindy McCain, wife of the late senator and GOP presidential candidate; and former US Senator Jeff Flake. Republican Governor Doug Ducey avoided the subject altogether.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican leaders of the Republican Party and the Senate responded with silence.
Many Republicans who wish to take the party away from an audit question the cost of complying with Mastriano’s demands. They argue it’s time to focus on future elections or say it’s highly unlikely this will reveal evidence of widespread fraud.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know what you’re going to achieve,” said Sam DeMarco, president of the Allegheny County GOP, Pittsburgh headquarters.
Yet even Republicans who avoid repeating Trump’s election fraud allegations have perpetuated the idea that Democrats cheated.
They routinely distort the actions of judges and state officials as “unconstitutional” or “illegal” in resolving legal disputes and issues regarding Pennsylvania’s brand new mail-in ballot law in the weeks leading up to the election. November.
A few weeks ago, Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives rejected such an audit of the 2020 elections through their chamber.
Instead, these Republican lawmakers proposed a “Voting Rights Protection Act” that they said would make elections safer and more accessible and solve alleged problems in 2020.
In addition, he reportedly moved authority over electoral politics away from the executive branch and assigned new, broad election auditing authority in future elections to the state auditor general, currently a Republican.
Democrats dismissed the bill as a “voter suppression” and Wolf vetoed it, but it gave the Republican Party numbers something to report, at the very least, as an alternative to a style audit. Arizona election 2020.
“I think that’s the problem,” said Jeffrey Piccola, GOP chairman in Republican-controlled York County. “I don’t think coming back in 2020 will solve any problems, and I’m not sure you can solve any problems.