Still a topic today, here’s what GOP U.S. Senate candidates said about election certification during Tuesday’s debate

By Marley Parish

The 2020 election still has a place in the 2022 cycle, with Republicans running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania promoting baseless voter fraud allegations and touting reform plans as they seek the nomination of their left before the May 17 primary.

Republican candidates had to ponder this week whether their party should advance to the 2020 election and whether they would have voted to certify the Pennsylvania Electoral College results confirming current President Joe Biden’s victory over former President Donald Trump.

“I don’t remember anyone asking this question of Democratic senatorial candidates,” comments a conservative commentator. Catherine Barnette said on Tuesday during a televised debate.

Democrats in the race – US Rep. Conor Lamblieutenant governor. John Fetterman, state representative Malcolm Kenyatta and Member of Jenkintown Borough Council Alex Khalil – did not dispute the results.

Legal challenges to the 2020 results have failed in court and post-election audits conducted after the presidential election found no evidence of fraud. However, most GOP candidates continued to promote baseless claims that Democrats stole the 2020 presidential election.

Montgomery County real estate investor and businessman Jeff Bartos was the only GOP candidate this week to say he would have voted to certify the 2020 election results.

“Unfortunately, Joe Biden is the president,” Bartos said Monday.

Bartos said the 2020 election acted as a “catalyst” for current events – citing rising costs and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“There were irregularities,” Barnette said. “How do I know? Because I was a candidate in 2020. I know what I’ve been through. It was real, and it was fake.

Barrette lost to U.S. Representative Madeleine Dean in 2020 by a margin of around 20 points. A Trump ally, Barnette continued to propagate the “big lie” throughout her campaign. During a Monday night debate, she said the GOP should “absolutely not” pass a 2020 election, saying “elections have consequences.”

“And we have to figure out what happened,” Barnette added. “And we have to hold people accountable, not just understand, but we have to hold people accountable.”

Former Trump Administration Ambassador Carla Sandsalso a candidate in the race, reminded Barnette of her loss and said she supported banning third parties from contributing to the financing of electoral operations.

Barnette said on Tuesday that she “never said” she had won her election – “what I said was that it was wrong”.

She claimed the election “was stolen” thanks to campaign grant money donated by Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg. Sands directed viewers to a film by far-right author Dinesh D’Souza that promotes the “Big Lie.”

philadelphia lawyer George Bochettowho helped write the defense brief to Trump’s second impeachment, claimed that Trump lost the election because the Democrats were “exploiting[ed]Act 77, the 2019 law that allowed Pennsylvanians to vote by mail without an excuse.

Montgomery County District Attorney Sean Gale said he would not have voted to certify the Electoral College results, saying Law 77 is unconstitutional. He added that “the blood is on the hands of every Republican senator from Harrisburg who voted for.”

Celebrity doctor endorsed by Trump Mehmet Oz repeatedly reminded viewers of that support on Monday, as he shared the debate stage with the hedge fund’s former CEO Dave McCormick for the first time since the former president weighed in on the race.

McCormick called the lack of confidence in election results a “tragedy” and proposed voter identification as “the most important thing”, as well as a ban on third-party donations for election operations.

“We can’t go on,” Oz said of the 2020 election. “Under the guise of COVID, drastic changes have been made to our election laws by Democratic leaders, and they’ve blocked proper reviews of those decisions. .”

Marley Parish is a reporter for the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.

Jessica C. Bell