More than 210 Republicans who cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory won congressional seats and races for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general on Tuesday night, underscoring the extent to which right-wing election denialism has become entrenched in the GOP and threatens to remain a noxious force in U.S. politics for the foreseeable future.
In a recent investigation of Republican candidates’ statements,The New York Times identified more than 370 so-called “election skeptics” who sowed doubt in some way about the 2020 contest. According to the newspaper’s Wednesday morning analysis, over half of them have won their midterm campaigns so far. It may take days or weeks for the final results to be tallied.
While more than 30 of these winning GOP candidates are outright “election deniers” who refuse to accept Biden’s presidency as legitimate, the majority have sown doubt “by suggesting, sometimes again and again, that there were irregularities or unresolved questions about the way the election was conducted, or by saying that further investigation was needed,” the Times reported.
Biden defeated former President Donald Trump by seven million votes and 74 electors two years ago. Nevertheless, “more than 100 of the winners questioned the 2020 election within this past year,” the Times noted, months after “judges across the nation rejected attempts by Mr. Trump and his allies to dispute the results.”
Dispensing with the newspaper’s differentiation between “deniers” and “skeptics,” socialist writer Ashley Smith summarized the development as follows: “Two hundred deranged reactionaries elected to government.”
200 deranged reactionaries elected to government. https://t.co/KQ7xmqzZIe
— Ashley Smith (@AshleyAreeSmith) November 9, 2022
More than 170 “skeptics,” including nearly 30 who explicitly said the 2020 presidential election was stolen or rigged, have been elected in the House. As a result, over a third of the chamber will be populated by Republicans who have questioned or denied the validity of Biden’s victory, and the vast majority of states will have at least one federal lawmaker who fits that description.
“Most of the election skeptics who will serve in the House next year are incumbents who objected to the 2020 Electoral College results, supported a lawsuit to throw out results in four states, or spread falsehoods in other public statements. Some did all three,” the Times reported. “About half of skeptics who are newcomers have said the 2020 election was stolen or rigged.”
In the Senate, more than a dozen Republicans who have expressed doubt or lied about the 2020 results have been elected so far, including deniers such as Ohio’s J.D. Vance, who claimed in March that “the election was stolen from Trump.”
At the state level, two dozen GOP candidates who have questioned or denied the outcome of the last presidential contest won races for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. The list of victorious deniers includes Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, who said earlier this year that “blue-state liberals stole the election from President Trump,” as well as Texas AG Ken Paxton and Wyoming Secretary of State Chuck Gray.
Although the GOP is projected to gain control of the U.S. House and still has an outside chance of taking the U.S. Senate, things could have been much worse for Democrats had the presumed nationwide “red wave” of Republican midterm victories materialized.
As NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard pointed out on social media, several Republican gubernatorial candidates who refused to say whether they would have certified Biden’s 2020 victory in their states and many election-denying secretary of state candidates lost on Tuesday.
Tonight, the Election-Denying Secretary of State Candidates from States Biden Won:
❔ Mark Finchem, Arizona
❔ Jim Marchant, Nevada
❌ Kristina Karamo, Michigan
❌ Kim Crockett, Minnesota
❌ Audrey Mendonca-Trujillo, NM
❌ Pennsylvania/Picked by GOV:https://t.co/OVNpnHZqtX
— Vaughn Hillyard (@VaughnHillyard) November 9, 2022
“Progressives everywhere should take pride in knowing they held off [the] MAGA wave Republicans were hoping for,” Leah Greenberg, co-founder and co-executive director of Indivisible, said in a statement.
“Coming off four years of Trump, followed by an insurrection, and two years of a MAGA Supreme Court stripping our fundamental rights, we can’t help but feel enraged, exhausted, and uncertain,” Greenberg continued.
“But even though we knew the odds for this election were stacked against us from the start, and we knew we were going to be outspent by Republicans, Indivisibles and progressives all over the country put up a tough and impactful fight against all the forces working against progress and we still have hope,” she added. “We will not stop fighting for our democracy.”