The TAKE with Rick Klein
The claims have gotten more outlandish. The silence — even from former President Donald Trump’s strongest supporters — has become more conspicuous.
It should no longer be a surprise that, after he loses or his candidate loses an election, Trump amplifies false and easily discredited claims of fraud. He did it way back in 2012, when Mitt Romney lost but Trump didn’t buy it, again in early 2016, when Sen. Ted Cruz beat him in the Iowa caucuses, and even after he won the presidency but lost the popular vote.
But unlike his false claims about the 2020 election, his most recent insinuations of voter fraud are being almost entirely ignored. That happened in Pennsylvania, where Trump-endorsed Mehmet Oz didn’t follow Trump’s advice to declare victory before all votes were counted in the Senate race and a recount is now proceeding with Oz still in the lead.
Now comes Georgia, where Trump-backed candidates were blown out in the highest-profile competitive primaries last week. Trump on Tuesday circulated a blog entry citing as “obvious fraud” the fact that Gov. Brian Kemp got nearly 74% of the vote in the GOP primary — since “it doesn’t happen” that candidates win in such lopsided fashion. (Actually, plenty of incumbents win primaries by that margin or more.)
Just about nobody is following Trump’s lead on that. Form Sen. David Perdue conceded on election night — “we trust the people of Georgia,” he said — and counties certified their vote counts without incident on Tuesday.
Even Rep. Jody Hice, the election-denying candidate Trump backed for secretary of state, has conceded his race and called for Republican unity — even though his opponent most likely avoided a runoff only because Democrats crossed over and voted in the Republican primary, according to The Associated Press.
One thing that makes these claims harder for some Republicans to swallow is surely that, for the most part, these are votes by Republicans that Trump is baselessly suggesting were not properly cast or counted.
For some Republicans and many Democrats, there may be another lesson out of the primary season beyond the fact that some Trump candidates are losing. Also losing is the idea that fighting nonexistent vote fraud — and maybe hurting GOP turnout in the process — is a winning concept for Republicans moving forward.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Legal developments continue to unfold against the backdrop of Pennsylvania’s Republican primary recount, which officials must complete in less than a week.
The Supreme Court has put a temporary administrative hold on a Third Circuit decision that undated Pennsylvania mail ballots must be counted in a contested 2021 Lehigh County election, ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports. The court’s ultimate decision on that case could impact this year’s high-profile GOP primary between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick.
The order dropped hours after a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court hearing in which representatives for the McCormick campaign argued in favor of counting undated ballots that were received by the required deadline in this year’s primary election, based on the Third Circuit decision.
“The date that matters is the date that [the ballot] was received, not the date that is provided by the voter on the envelope,” said Ron Hicks, an attorney for the McCormick campaign.
Attorneys representing the Oz campaign and the Republican National Committee, respectively argued a decision should be put on hold until the recount is complete and maintained undated ballots should not be counted as was in accordance with state law when they were cast.
In the meantime, the McCormick campaign is also asking the state Commonwealth Court for a hand recount in 12 counties due to discrepancies in the vote counts reported by Pennsylvania State Department and individual counties. Despite pointing to these discrepancies, the campaign is not alleging fraud in the vote tallies — a sharp contrast from the fallout of the 2020 general election in Pennsylvania.
“We’re going to understand with a hand recount where any abnormalities exist, and actually have a receipt that we can trust and verify… We don’t want to elongate the process. We don’t want to cause any delays. We want the Republican primary voters to know that they have a winner — whether it’s by one vote or 1,000 votes — so we can all get behind the nominee and beat Fetterman in the fall,” a McCormick campaign official told reporters Tuesday.
The TIP with Brittany Shepherd
The lengthy process of redrawing each state’s congressional districts is finally winding to a close. On Tuesday, New Hampshire’s Supreme Court approved the final version of the state’s plans. And now, after months of map drawing and district disputes, all 50 states have legally operative congressional maps in place for the upcoming midterm season and beyond.
But this doesn’t mean the boundaries are set in stone. The maps are liable to change through litigation, and several state redistricting efforts were met with accusations of partisan gerrymandering and vote disenfranchisement. Perhaps one of the most notable litigious fights is in Florida, where in a particularly unusual move, the state legislature enacted a map drawn by advisers of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis’ map majorly reconfigured districts with a majority of Black residents, notably northern Florida’s 5th Congressional District, represented by Al Lawson, a Black Democrat.
Voting rights advocates — and even a federal judge — have attempted to thwart the governor’s map that gives Republicans a major advantage both in the state and nationally, but they have been unable to notch a win. Even as Democrats sued and a circuit judge filed an injunction on the map based on the idea that it “diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect candidates of their choice,” the map will remain in place pending a final legal decision.
NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight
6. That’s how many more Democratic-leaning seats the new maps drawn in the 2021-22 redistricting cycle have compared to maps drawn in the last redistricting cycle, according to FiveThirtyEight’s redistricting tracker. The number of Republican-leaning seats, meanwhile, remains unchanged. These numbers aren’t likely to move much either as New Hampshire was the final state to approve its map on Tuesday. (Several maps are being challenged in court but only Florida’s seems likely to be overturned before the midterm elections in November.) Read more from the FiveThirtyEight crew about what Republicans and Democrats gained in the redistricting cycle.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Start Here begins Wednesday morning with Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez on new details of the Uvalde shooting. Then, ABC’s Tom Burridge breaks down the latest from the war in Ukraine. And, ABC’s Juju Chang details her interview with transgender swimmer, Lia Thomas. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
- President Joe Biden takes part in the US Coast Guard change of command ceremony at 11 am when Adm. Linda Fagan becomes the first female officer to lead a branch of the American armed forces. Biden also meets virtually at 2:30 pm with infant formula manufacturers to discuss his administration’s “Operation Fly Formula,” which focuses on accelerating imports of infant formula to the US
- White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds a briefing at 3:30 pm
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