It’s been five weeks since the election, and he still hasn’t conceded. Alleging massive voter fraud, he’s demanded an audit of votes in populous Democratic strongholds. On Thursday, he sued the secretary of state.
We’re talking here about Loren Culp, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for governor in Washington state, where he lost by more than 13 percentage points on Nov. 3. Like Donald Trump, Culp insists he’s the victim of a rigged election.
Trump, it seems, isn’t the only dead-ender holding out more than a month after the election, refusing to acknowledge defeat. Even as Trump lost again in court on Friday, with the Supreme Court rejecting a long-shot effort to overturn the election, he remains a lodestar for denialists of the GOP.
In California, a Republican congressional candidate trounced in Democratic-heavy Los Angeles is still refusing to concede — while simultaneously announcing he’s running for governor. In Maryland, a congressional candidate beaten by more than 40 percentage points is still complaining about “irregularities” in her election. And in Tennessee, a House candidate defeated by more than 57 percentage points has reached out to the ubiquitous pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell to air her grievances about an election that no Republican had any chance of winning — but that she’s convinced she did.
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The down-ballot parroting of Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud began right after the election. But in the weeks since, it has evolved into a self-sustaining phenomenon of its own. Republican candidates for House, legislative and gubernatorial races in more than half a dozen states are still refusing to concede.
Echoing the president, these candidates are an early sign of what Republicans say will be a sustained, post-Trump effort to tighten voting restrictions and to reverse measures implemented in many states to make voting easier. They also may mark the beginning of a Trump-inspired trend of candidates who never fold — they just fade away after weeks and months of unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
“It’s not about whether it’s a competitive race or not,” said Errol Webber, a little-known Republican who lost his race to unseat Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) by more than 70 percentage points. “It’s on principle that we will not let up until the truth is known.”