In this edition of “The Big Lie at the Ballot Box,” we look at some of the GOP candidates running in the May 24 primaries who think the 2020 election was stolen.
Kaleigh Rogers: The first thing David Perdue had to say at a debate last month, before anyone asked him a single question, was this: “Let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen.” Perdue, who’s a former senator, is challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary on Tuesday and is just one of the many “Big Lie” proponents running in this week’s races. Throughout the primary season, FiveThirtyEight and ABC News have been tracking candidates who support Trump’s Big Lie: They’ve either questioned Trump’s loss, said the 2020 election was illegitimate or took legal action to overturn its results. Here are some of the Big Lie believers we’ve identified who are running this week.
While Perdue has been vocal about his Big Lie beliefs, Kemp hasn’t exactly rejected the idea. Granted, Kemp did sign off on certifying the state’s election results, but he also said there were “inconsistencies” and called for an audit. And while Perdue is Kemp’s closest challenger (and the candidate who earned Trump’s endorsement), two other contenders — Kandiss Taylor and Catherine Davis — have also questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, with Taylor calling it “illegal” and Davis calling it “stolen.”
Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, is also getting primaried. Raffensperger famously refused a request from then-President Trump to “find 11,780 votes,” which would have given Trump a win in Georgia. Raffensperger has been outspoken about the fact that the election was legitimate and there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud. His main challenger is Rep. Jody Hice — and it’s a close election that may end in a runoff. Hice has promoted Trump’s claims from the beginning. He voted not to certify the election results from some states and has said that Raffensperger created “cracks in the integrity of our election, which I wholeheartedly believe individuals took advantage of in 2020.” Hice’s adherence to the Big Lie is troubling because the secretary of state position, as Raffensperger’s experience shows, is integral to ensuring that elections are run smoothly and fairly.
But Georgia is not the only state with primaries this week. There are also races in Alabama and Arkansas, a special election in Minnesota and runoffs in Texas from its primaries in March. One of those runoffs — the Republican primary for Texas attorney general — is a race between George P. Bush (son of Jeb) and current AG Ken Paxton. Bush has said the 2020 election wasn’t stolen but later said there was widespread fraud. And Paxton, who is currently ahead in the polls, has been a major player in the Big Lie space. He even led a lawsuit to defend Trump’s claims.
Big Lie candidates are not just fringe contenders. In fact, many have already won their primary races. Prior to the elections on May 17, 34 candidates who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election had already won the Republican nomination, and even more nominees had questions about the 2020 results.
If you want to see which candidates in your state support the Big Lie, follow along with FiveThirtyEight.
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