As Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder and Gov. Gavin Newsom face off Tuesday in the final day of California’s recall election, Elder and right-wing political operatives are already rebooting former President Donald Trump’s 2020 “stolen” election narrative. Should the right-wing talk show host lose to Newsom, Elder is ready to cry foul.
Last month, Elder told right-wing political operative Ed Martin that he believed he would win “whether or not there might be voter fraud.” But on Monday, two days before the close of the election, the Huffington Post reported his campaign shared a link to a website that declared the election over and urged supporters to sign a petition to investigate “twisted results.”
Elder, who has rubbed elbows with extremists, appeared on an Aug. 3 episode of the “Pro America Report” with Martin, a leader in the so-called Stop the Steal movement who mentored far-right operative Ali Alexander. Having peddled countless “stolen” election conspiracy theories after President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, Martin suggested voter fraud was already at play in the California recall election.
“How do you envision protecting from voter fraud?” Martin asked Elder. “At this point, Democrats are scared at how badly Biden is doing in the White House, how bad Gavin Newson is doing. What’re you going to do to stop the voter fraud?”
“Good lawyers. Good lawyers, Ed. I don’t know if you remember, but they tried to keep me off the ballot,” Elder said, recounting the paperwork mistake his campaign made that nearly kept him from the ballot. “They could have easily corrected it. The secretary of state decided not to, so my name was off the ballot. So we had to sue them. It went all the way up to the judge. … And as a result I was put on the ballot.”
“I hate to say it, but you probably have to win it by more than they can steal,” Ed Martin said. “Everybody I talk to is worried about that—that the California election, because it’s mail in, a lot of it, they’re just going to run the numbers the way they want.”
“So I think common sense will prevail,” Elder said. “I think there’s going to be a whole bunch of men and women, many of whom are Democrats and independents, they’re going to vote to throw this guy out, whether or not there might be voter fraud or not. I think there’s going to be so many people that any kind of shenanigans will be overcome.”
But by Monday, Elder had begun promoting a website on his campaign page that declared the election over already, seemingly conceding defeat to Newsom. The website provided a portal to report instances of alleged voter fraud as well as a petition to investigate the results of the election, declaring that California’s elected officials “allow thieves to steal amidst the dead of night and cheat our ballot box.”
“As is the case, we implore you…our fellow citizens…to join us in this fight as you are able, primarily by signing our petition demanding a special session of the California legislature to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results of this 2021 Recall Election of Governor Gavin Newsom,” the petition read.
The petition continued: “Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in 3rd-world nations (such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran) have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor.”
Polls close in California at 9 p.m. and the results of the election will not be determined for weeks, but win or lose, the Republican candidate for governor is already following in the footsteps of Trump, ensuring that the GOP “stolen” election narrative lives on.