As Donald Trump refuses to concede the election over unfounded allegations of voter fraud, defeated Republicans further down the ballot are finding his claims to be a convenient way to save face after their own losses.
Republican House candidate Kimberly Klacik became a star on the right in her bid for the Baltimore-area seat once held by late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and now by Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-MD). Klacik spoke at the Republican convention, earned a Trump endorsement, and raised a whopping $7.4 million, boosted by her viral campaign ad decrying urban problems in Baltimore.
Despite her Trumpworld celebrity, Klacik was always a long shot for the heavily Democratic district, which the Cook Political Report ranks as D+26. With more than 85 percent of ballots counted as of Monday, Klacik is more than 100,000 ballots and 43 percentage points behind Mfume.
Klacik quickly conceded the race on election night after the Associated Press called the race for Mfume.
“We gave it our best shot,” Klacik tweeted on election night, adding “congratulations” for Mfume.
But with Trump refusing to acknowledge President-elect Joe Biden’s win, Klacik has had a change of tune. Now, like Trump, she claims there’s something suspicious about mail-in ballots favoring Democrats and says her campaign has enough money to “investigate.” Klacik quote-tweeted a Trump tweet about former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) claiming that “big city machines are corrupt.”
“I beat my opponent on day of & in-person early voting, along with absentee,” Klacik tweeted on Sunday. “However, 97k mail in ballots were found in his favor? Luckily, we raised enough money to investigate.”
Klacik didn’t respond to a request for comment about what her investigation of the race would look like.
Far-right activist and recently defeated Republican House nominee Laura Loomer has also claimed that the presence of mail-in ballots in her own election loss is somehow suspicious.
Like Klacik, Loomer raised millions off her right-wing celebrity. But Loomer also never had a serious chance, running against Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) in a heavily Democratic district that includes Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Loomer lost the race to Frankel by 20 points, roughly in line with earlier failed challenges to the Democratic incumbent in the district.
Loomer, however, never conceded. Instead, she claimed that the mail-in ballots in her race were somehow suspect, without elaborating.
“She only ‘beat me’ because of mail in ballots,” Loomer, who has been banned from Twitter and Facebook, posted on social media app Telegram.
Loomer went on to claim that there’s “lots of voter fraud happening in America right now.”
“We don’t have free & fair elections in America anymore!” she wrote.
Even some Republican candidates who aren’t doubting the ultimate results of their races are starting to claim, without proof, that they were victims of voter fraud.
Republican nominee Luke Negron, who calls himself “The Young Wolf,” ran in Pennsylvania’s 18th District against Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA).
Negron lost conclusively on election night and is currently nearly 40 percentage points behind Doyle with 88 percent of ballots counted.
“Not looking like a W unfortunately!” Negron tweeted to one fan on Wednesday, acknowledging that he wouldn’t get a “win.”
As Trump continues to attack the legitimacy of Pennsylvania’s vote totals, though, Negron has started to question whether he, too, could have been the victim of election malfeasance. Negron started to post a series of vague claims from anonymous self-described voters that they were unable to vote for him.
Negron says that, even if there was voter fraud in his race, he thinks Doyle would have won. But at the same time, he keeps promoting the voter fraud allegations and suggesting that votes in the district could have been stolen.
“I have made no claim that Rep. Doyle’s lead is solely because of alleged fraud and/or error,” Negron wrote in an email to The Daily Beast. “Unfortunately, if true, this is much bigger than a single congressional race — this is about whether or not our system is broken, accurate, fair, or free.”