Since our last report, 11 states have voted in their primary elections and two special elections have been held. The results have been mixed. Some radicals have had big wins—for example, Russell Fry defeated Rep. Tom Rice, a 5-term congressman who voted last year to impeach Donald Trump, in South Carolina’s 7th District. Others have gone down in flames, like Cordie Williams, a militant Jan. 6 participant running for U.S. Senate in California.
With the Jan. 6 hearings demonstrating how close we came to a Constitutional crisis in the 2020 election, it’s especially alarming to see primary victories for candidates not only running on the premise that the election is stolen, but also openly admitting that if a chance to overturn an election comes up in 2024, they’ll gladly pitch in.
Also troubling is the rise of conspiracy theorists to positions of power. Even if they cannot directly interfere in an election, they can amplify false claims of fraud and, because of their role as an elected official, give them the veneer of credibility. It all adds up to more discord and destabilization.
Here are two to keep an eye on:
Jim Marchant (Candidate, Secretary of State, Nevada): Marchant, a former state legislator who falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, won the Republican primary election for Nevada secretary of state. If he wins the general in November, he would oversee elections across the Silver State. On his website, he alleges that he himself was a victim of “election fraud” in 2020 and that “his number one priority will be to overhaul the fraudulent election system in Nevada.”
Mayra Flores (Candidate, U.S. House, TX-34): Flores won a special election held to fill a South Texas seat left vacant by Rep. Filemon Vela. Flores not only spreads conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election, but also is involved with the QAnon conspiracy, having repeatedly posted the QAnon slogan and hashtags online. Flores will serve out the remainder of Vela’s term, until January.
The only thing that saved our democracy on Jan. 6 and the months leading up to it was the character of the elected officials, regardless of party, who honored their oath to the Constitution. There’s a chance we won’t be so lucky next time. For the full list of candidates the Renew America Foundation has identified as radical, please visit our Extremist Tracker.
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