How election-denying GOP governors could swing the 2024 presidential election
Republican candidates who claim the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump have been named governors in four critical runaway states, raising fears that if elected they could try to influence the election results in 2024 and beyond.
In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Republican primary voters elected a candidate who denied the 2020 election results and believes voter fraud influenced the results. GOP voters also nominated a candidate who refused to run for office in Maryland, despite having less of a chance of winning in a blue state.
Many more Republican gubernatorial candidates questioned whether the 2020 election was legitimate or refused to say President Joe Biden was the legitimate winner. But these five are more outspoken election deniers, who would be willing to call for audits or decertify the results.
If they win in November, they will have less direct impact on the election than the six Holocaust deniers who candidate for secretary of state, a position that is responsible for elections in most states. But the impact of governors could still be significant.
They will sign or veto legislation governing election administration, which could affect who can vote and the amount of financial support counties receive to administer elections. Governors can also issue executive orders regarding the administration of elections in emergency situations. And in Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state, which gives that governor immense power over elections.
Currently, state law determines whether governors play a role in certifying electoral votes, but in each state, governors are then expected to convey those votes to Congress.
If Congress passes a bill to modernize the Voter Count Act to reform the way electoral votes are counted, governors could be empowered to select their state’s presidential voters in a new way.
The current proposalintroduced by a bipartisan group of senators, requires that at least six days before the Electoral College meeting, each governor submit a “verification certificate” identifying the presidential voters in his state, and this document would be “conclusive”.
The provision is included to prevent states from submitting more than one voter list, as seven states did in 2020 when Trump supporters false voters submitted.
If a rogue, election-denying governor chose to certify voters with fewer votes, the certification would then go to state and federal courts, which would have the final say.
Marc Elias, an elections lawyer who has worked for Democratic campaigns and elected officials, expressed concern that the reform bill gives too much power to governors who may refuse elections.
“One would hope that a federal court would overturn the results in a particular state if Governor ‘Big Lie’, for example, certified the presidential candidate who received fewer legal votes than the candidate who actually won,” he said. -he declares. wrote for Democracy Docket, a progressive voting advocacy group he founded. “But nothing in this law assures or even expresses that preference over the conclusiveness of the governor’s certification.”
But Rick Pildes, a professor of constitutional law at New York University, said it was a misunderstanding about the bill.
He said that currently governors have too much discretion when it comes to passing the document certifying voters in the state. “The problem is that a governor cites reasons for refusing to send the result that the state has already certified as the correct election result,” he said.
Several of the GOP gubernatorial candidates claim that in 2020 they would not have passed on their state’s certified voters.
But the law on the reform of the electoral count would protect against this possibility by adding judicial control. Pildes also said a simple adjustment, making it clear that the results of the judicial review would prevail over the governor’s decision, could make that even clearer and was supported by senators.
Under the “Reform Bill, Congress agrees to accept the Governor’s Certificate unless the federal court orders that Certificate to be amended, in which case Congress should accept the Certificate because it must be changed in federal court,” Pildes said.
Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, a Democrat, and Susan Collins of Maine, a Republican, who sponsored the legislation, said they expect to pass it before the end of the year. That would mean it could be signed into law before the 2024 presidential election cycle and before the Democrats potentially lose the US House in the midterm elections.
Here are the five GOP gubernatorial candidates who said they would not have certified Biden as the winner of the 2020 election or who say the 2020 election was rigged:
Kari Lake, a former news anchor, is a strong supporter of Trump’s baseless claims that he won the 2020 election. The GOP candidate in Arizona is also endorsed by Trump and has suggested she won’t accept the results of its next election if it loses.
“If we don’t win, there is cheating. And we already know that,” she said just hours before polls closed on primary day.
After winning the race, she told reporters: “We voted against fraud, we did not listen to what the fake news had to say.”
Lake said during a Republican debate in Arizona in June that she would not have certified Biden’s victory in Arizona.
In the same debate, she called the election corrupt and said – without any evidence – that 34,000 ballots “were counted two, three and four times” in Arizona and that 200,000 ballots were tampered with. by mules. “He lost the election and shouldn’t be in the White House,” she said of Biden.
Republican State Sen. Doug Mastriano will face Democrat Josh Shapiro in November in Pennsylvania. Mastriano is an extreme supporter of Trump’s Big Lie.
The candidate was at the United States Capitol on January 6 and helped thousands of others come to the event by bus. He says he left before the riot started, but the video contradicts his claim and shows him walking through police cordons.
The House January 6 committee subpoenaed Mastriano for information on how he participated in the events leading up to the insurrection.
Mastriano also surrounded himself with other election deniers. In June, he hired election denier and former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis to be his campaign’s senior adviser.
After the 2020 election, Mastriano led a state Senate hearing in which Ellis and Trump campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani testified and shared false information about election fraud.
In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state. Although Mastriano has not publicly named the person he plans to select, he has hinted at his choice in interviews with far-right radio and television programs. Mastriano said he would appoint someone who would radically reform the elections.
“I’ve seen better elections in Afghanistan than in Pennsylvania,” Mastriano, an army veteran, said during his campaign.
He swore his choice for the state’s top election official would force everyone to “re-register” to votea requirement that would violate the National Voter Registration Act. And according to election experts consulted by Bolts magazine, a secretary of state under Mastriano could try to refuse certify election results Democratic-leaning counties.
Mastriano is also a gab useran online platform for hate speech
Tudor Dixon, a conservative commentator, is endorsed by Trump and recently dodged the question when asked if she still believes Trump won the 2020 election. But on numerous occasions since 2020, the Michigan GOP nominee has backed Trump’s claims that fraud cost him the election.
During a debate in May, Dixon answered an unequivocal “yes” when asked if she thought Trump had legitimately won Michigan’s 2020 election.
And in a November tweet in response to Trump, she wrote: “Steal an election then hide behind calls for unity and leftists lick it.
In a interview in November 2021, Dixon criticized Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson for “not conducting the election as she should have” and “in a manner conducive to fraud.” She then said that Benson gave Joe Biden the opportunity to swing the election so he could win.
Tim Michels, a millionaire construction executive and the most recent Holocaust denier to win a GOP primary, is also backed by Trump, though he has distanced himself from the former president in recent months and has been more hesitant to say that he thinks the 2020 election was robbed.
During a debate in July, Michels said if elected, he would not prioritize decertifying the 2020 election results.
But he tried to appeal to all GOP primary voters, too. saying he would consider signing legislation that came to his office from the GOP-controlled Assembly to overturn certification of the results. He said he would “need to see the details” before making a decision on decertification. Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin by about 21,000 votes.
This isn’t the only time Michels has gone back and forth on his support for the former president. He also said during a debate that he would not endorse Trump if he ran for president in 2024, but then reversed course at a subsequent campaign event.
Maryland Republicans elected attorney and state delegate Dan Cox in the June primary against a candidate backed by the state’s party establishment and current Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Cox was endorsed by Trump and organized buses and attended the rally outside the US Capitol on January 6.
“I am co-hosting two buses for the Million MAGA March/Rally with the Frederick County Conservative Club in support of President Trump @realDonaldTrump on January 6, 2021 at #StoptheSteal,” he wrote on Twitter on January 1, 2021 .
Later that day he tweeted: “Pence is a traitor.”
After the election, in December 2020, he wrote on Facebook that Trump should seize the voting machines. He also has asked for an audit of the 2020 election in Maryland, even though he could cite no credible evidence of fraud.