Election deniers who say Trump won in 2020 stand a chance to become top cop in 4 battlefield states

In four crucial states on the battlefield, Republican candidates falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 election are running for attorney general.

If they win, they would serve as their country’s best law enforcement officers and would have the power to use their office to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. If Trump were to run again in 2024, and the outcome is close in a handful of states, the actions the attorney generals can take could also cover Trump from falsely claiming victory again.

“To the extent that the election results are challenged, or there are attempts to undermine the results, it will be the attorney generals representing the state and the results in court that may matter most to the will of the voters,” Joanna Lydgate said. , the CEO of States United Action, an impartial race-tracking group.

Along with the governor and, in most states, the secretary of state, the state attorney general is part of a trio of elected officials who oversee, administer, defend, and certify elections and election results. Election deniers also run for secretary of state and governor in many states.

State attorneys general have the power to initiate or defend electoral lawsuits — such as those seeking to record or contest ballots — which can ultimately affect how and which votes are or are not counted. They also provide legal advice to election officials on the interpretation of state election policies and the enforcement of prosecution powers for electoral fraud, voter intimidation, and other potential electoral crimes.

“It’s really important that your Attorney General is committed to defending the vote, whatever the outcome,” Lydgate said.

The state attorney general’s power of attorney was featured in 2020 in a federal lawsuit — one of at least 63 filed by Trump allies in various courts — filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. , a Republican, with the goal of nullifying the results of the presidential election in four strokes. states.

Sixteen state attorneys general supported it, while the attorneys general in the four purple states at the center of the lawsuit — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — asked the US Supreme Court to dismiss the lawsuit, what it did.

According to States United Action, at least 15 men and women who have denied the results of the 2020 election are attorney general candidates in 14 states — nearly half of the 30 where there are contests for the United States in this year’s midterm elections. Attorney General . That includes four on the pivotal battlefields of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin, whose 2020 results were all determined by just a few thousand votes. All four will also have elections this year for governors and secretaries of state, with election deniers in nearly every contest.

Here’s what the election denied attorney general candidates in those states have said:

Georgia

Conservative attorney John Gordon challenges incumbent Attorney General, Chris Carr, in the GOP primary.

The election — along with close primary contests for governor and secretary of state in the state — is on Tuesday.

Gordon, who has supported Trump, has built his long-running campaign around false claims that Trump won the state in 2020 (Biden won Georgia by about 11,800 votes. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state).

Gordon has nevertheless vowed, if elected, to open a new election fraud investigation in 2020 and said he will “expose the fraud” and “prosecute the people responsible for it.”

Gordon did not respond to questions from NBC News.

Carr, for his part, has repeatedly said there was no widespread voter fraud in the state, which deserved the wrath of Trump, who flared up in his endorsement of Gordon Carr for doing “absolutely nothing to stop the 2020 presidential election fraud that, as the facts have shown, shown, and shown, has been rampant.”

Carr’s office did not respond to inquiries from NBC News.

State Sen. Jen Jordan, the leading Democrat in the race, criticized Gordon in an interview.

“If you have a handpicked candidate who has been specifically chosen because he has sworn allegiance to Donald Trump and has promised to do what he can, if and when Trump runs again, that the election results will be in his favor, then everyone would be concerned.” , she said.

“Ultimately, the attorney general’s office shouldn’t be about party politics, or one politician or party,” Jordan said. “It’s about upholding the law and, in this case, defending the popular vote.”

Wisconsin

Karen Mueller, one of three Republicans vying for the chance to face incumbent Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, claims Joe Biden did not win the state in 2020. The other two attended a rally attended by a prominent right-wing militia whose aim was to undo the election.

Mueller, a lawyer who has vowed to investigate doctors who will not prescribe the animal dewormer medication ivermectin to treat Covid-19 patients, was part of a failed lawsuit to undo the 2020 Wisconsin presidential results.

In a January memo written Speaking on behalf of the Amos Center for Justice and Liberty, a conservative legal organization she founded, Mueller alleged a wide-ranging conspiracy in Wisconsin that involved “widespread electoral fraud” resulting in part from actions taken by the Obama administration and with the help of grant money from Mark Zuckerberg.

Her campaign website cites “election violations and fraud” as a central premise of its platform and demands that “the results of the 2020 presidential election be retracted to restore the integrity and transparency of the future Wisconsin elections.”

Biden defeated Trump in Wisconsin by 20,600 votes. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state, and claims to the contrary have: repeatedly rejected by courts and the state’s bipartisan election commission.

Mueller did not respond to questions from NBC News.

Kaul’s office repeatedly defended the results of the 2020 Wisconsin election in that lawsuit and others.

“Another Attorney General who is not committed to protecting the will of voters could have all kinds of negative effects on the future of democracy,” Kaul said in an interview. “We need an AG that defends the will of voters, not tries to undermine them.”

While Adam Jarchow and Eric Toney, the two other Republican candidates for attorney general, have not denied the results of the 2020 election, both spoke at a meeting where a flag of the Three Percenters – a right-wing militia group linked to the January 6 uprising – used to be prominent† Members of the group are charged with conspiracy on the attack on the Capitol.

Jarchow, a former state representative, did not respond to questions about the 2020 election. However, Toney, the Fond du Lac County district attorney, also did not respond to questions. he told the Wisconsin Examiner in January that he does not support the group and did not know that the flag was on display at the event.

Michigan

Attorney Matthew DePerno — who has already been approved by state Republicans as their nominee in the attorney general’s race to take on Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel — has repeatedly embraced debunked conspiracy theories about Michigan’s 2020 election results, leading him to received the approval of former President Donald Trump in his primary race.

DePerno filed suit alleged far-reaching voter fraud in the state, citing a 2020 election night error in Antrim County that showed Joe Biden win the trusty red county. The problem was quickly resolved. A state judge and an appellate judge both turned down the suit.

DePerno has also argued that: every Michigan resident should have the right to demand a vote check of the state election results.

Biden won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes, a result confirmed by multiple lawsuits and audits.

DePerno did not respond to questions from NBC News.

Nessel said in an interview that “it’s absolutely essential that you have both an attorney general and a secretary of state in these really essential swing states that believe in democracy and in following the law.”

“It’s not my job as the state’s top attorney to pick winners in the presidential election,” Nessel said.

“I don’t care if it’s a Democrat running or Donald Trump. If he gets the most votes in the state of Michigan, he gets our electoral votes whether I like it or not,” she added. “That’s the job, to make sure that the will of the people is heard and that the election is properly certified.”

Arizona

Of the six Republicans running for the party’s attorney general nomination (incumbent Republican Mark Brnovich is running for the Senate), at least two have falsely claimed that Trump won the 2020 election in the state.

“The hypocrisy of the media is fully visible when they point the finger at those of us presenting evidence of a rigged election in 2020,” candidate Abraham Hamadeh, a former prosecutor, told NBC News in a statement.

Biden defeated Trump in Arizona by about 10,500 votes, and none of the many lawsuits or audits over the results in the state revealed widespread fraud.

Nevertheless, in Interviews and tweetsHamadeh has repeatedly claimed Trump won Arizona.

Meanwhile, Attorney Rodney Glassman told the Republic of Arizona last week that… Biden did not win the state election and that Trump “was cheated on Arizona’s electoral votes.” Glassman did not respond to questions.

Bee a debate last weekTwo other GOP candidates in the race, attorneys Tiffany Shedd and Dawn Grove, joined Hamadeh and Glassman in saying they would not have certified the 2020 election results in the state had they been in a position to do so.

Shedd, Grove and the other two Republican candidates in the race — Andrew Gould and Lacy Cooper — did not respond to questions.

Kris Mayes, the lone Democrat in the race, called it “unfortunate” that “we have so many Republican candidates who have said they will try to undermine our voters’ confidence in our electoral system.”

Mayes vowed, if she wins, to “defend the outcome of the election here in Arizona, no matter who wins.”