Only 2 of 3 GOP primary candidates for Idaho secretary of state believe Biden won in 2020

Only 2 of 3 GOP primary candidates for Idaho secretary of state believe Biden won in 2020

Idaho has long been a deep red state; the last Democrat to carry Idaho in a presidential election was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. But the Republicans Idaho elected in the past tended to be traditional old-school Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater conservatives; in 2022, far-right MAGA extremists and conspiracy theorists are the Republicans gaining ground in Idaho — and in a GOP primary debate for Idaho secretary of state on Tuesday, April 26, two of the three candidates refused to admit that President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

The candidates in that primary are Idaho State Sen. Mary Souza, Idaho State Rep. Dorothy Moon and Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane. And McGrane, journalist Ian Max Stevenson reports in the Idaho Statesman, was the only one of three who acknowledged “that Biden was duly elected” in 2020.

Stevenson reports. “The secretary of state candidates appeared in a televised debate on Idaho Public Television on Tuesday night to discuss issues ranging from voter identification laws to the State Board of Land Commissioners’ endowment — which helps fund institutions like Idaho’s public schools…. McGrane, the only candidate with direct experience in managing elections, emphasized his background as an attorney and prior work on elections in his pitch to voters…. The two other Republican candidates focused their barbs on McGrane, whose candidacy has been endorsed by three former Idaho governors.”

Moon and Souza aren’t the only far-right wingnuts running in Idaho in 2022. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who is trying to unseat conservative Republican incumbent Gov. Brad Little via Idaho’s Republican gubernatorial primary, is a MAGA extremist in the Marjorie Taylor Greene/Lauren Boebert/Madison Cawthorn vein — and she has posed for photos with members of the 3 Percenters militia and spoken at their events. Moreover, McGeachin was a speaker at the 2022 America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), which is organized by White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. And McGeachin has slammed Little for encouraging Idaho residents to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Moon has militia sympathies as well and has been a vocal ally of 3 Percenter Eric Parker. And Moon, like McGeachin, is an anti-vaxxer.

Idaho’s Republican primary will be held on May 17. In the secretary of state race, the winner — be it Souza, Moon or McGrane — will take on Democrat Shawn Keenan in the general election. And Souza and Moon obviously aren’t shy about promoting the Big Lie, former President Donald Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud. In fact, the 2020 election was quite secure, and countless bipartisan recounts showed that Biden defeated Trump fair and square.

“Despite all evidence to the contrary,” Stevenson reports, “Moon and Souza both claimed Biden did not win the presidency in 2020, touting Trump’s so-called Big Lie. Souza said the election was ‘death by a thousand cuts’ due to a litany of debunked fraud claims. Moon said there was a ‘big problem,’ adding that Idaho should have supported the Texas lawsuit filed to contest the results in swing states that had voted for Biden and certified results.”

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