More than half of GOP primary winners believe the big lie so far

The belief that the 2020 election was stolen is now so common among Republican politicians that they are asked about it during primary debates. Here are some of the candidates in the June 7 primaries who support the Big Lie.


There are so many candidates currently running who don’t believe the 2020 election was legitimate that asking about it has become a common question of debate. It happened a few weeks ago during a debate in New Mexico between Republican gubernatorial candidates. Some candidates, like financial adviser Greg Zanetti, cast doubt without saying outright that the election was stolen:

“The jury is still out, but the evidence is mounting that the voter fraud was out of the ordinary. »

Others, like New Mexico State Rep. Rebecca Dow, didn’t mince words:

“I think we will go down in history by showing that there is widespread voter fraud across the United States. And without this electoral fraud, Donald Trump would have been the president, would have been re-elected.

The favorite in this race, former local meteorologist Mark Ronchetti, dodged the question in the debate. He hasn’t made any allegations of widespread fraud in 2020, but he does have a section on his campaign website devoted to “election integrity.”

And that’s just one race in New Mexico. Throughout the primary season, FiveThirtyEight and ABC News have tracked candidates who support former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie: They either questioned Trump’s loss, said the 2020 election was illegitimate, or take legal action to overturn its results. Here are some of the Big Lie believers we’ve identified who are running in the primaries this week.

In Iowa, the race for the Republican nominee in the state’s 3rd congressional district is being watched closely as the party hopes to unseat Iowa’s only Democratic congresswoman, Cindy Axne. One of the three candidates in this race is Gary Leffler, a retired farmer who promoted the Big Lie as long as Trump pushed him. He attended Trump’s January 6 rally, then took photos from the steps of the US Capitol building.

In Mississippi, the Big Lie plays a major role in the Republican race for candidates in the state’s 4th district. The seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, who voted not to certify some election results, and even backed a Texas lawsuit to overturn the results. But Palazzo has recently faced a number of ethics scandals, putting his campaign on shaky ground. Now he faces six challengers in the primary, including a few other Big Lie supporters. Kidron Peterson, a stagehand taking part in the race, told a candidates’ forum in May: “Based on my own research, I don’t think this is a fair election. And there’s Carl Boyanton, a business owner, who answered “Yes” in this forum when asked if he believed the election was stolen. He later complained on Facebook that some attendees walked out when he replied.

These candidates are not outliers. For elections through May 24, we found that more than half of Republican candidates who won their primary either denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election or questioned its results. If you want to see which candidates in your state support the Big Lie, follow FiveThirtyEight.

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