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New NC GOP chair flirts with bogus stolen election conspiracies

Simmons predecessor was a staunch 2020 election denier

By Jesse Valentine - April 19, 2024
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Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., speaks at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention on June 10, 2023, in Greensboro, N.C. California is again emerging as a critical battleground in the fight to control the U.S. House. Leaders in both parties are predicting they can flip seats in the liberal state in next year's election. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

The North Carolina Republican Party selected Jason Simmons to be its new chair on March 26. Simmons has played footsie with election fraud conspiracies.

Simmons replaced former chair Michael Whatley, who, last month, was elected to lead the Republican National Committee. Whatley’s RNC co-chair is Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump.

Whatley has been a major backer of Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen. Whatley has claimed, without proof, that he stymied Democratic efforts to rig the election in North Carolina. Trump won the state by less than 2% in 2020. It’s projected to be a major battleground in 2024.

In the runup to the 2020 election, Trump suggested, without basis, that ballot fraud was likely in North Carolina.

“Watch those ballots. I don’t like it,” Trump told supporters at a Willmington rally. “You know, you have a Democrat governor, you have all these Democrats watching that stuff. I don’t like it. Watch it, Be poll watchers when you go there. Watch all the thieving and stealing and robbing they do. Because this is important. We win North Carolina, we win.”

While campaigning for chair, Simmons made a Facebook post echoing Trump’s stolen election rhetoric. He pledged, if elected, to “Secure our elections for a free, fair, and transparent process. Easy to vote, hard to cheat!

Both Simmons and Whatley were endorsed by the former president to take on their new roles. Simmons has a long record as a Republican operative. According to his LinkedIn page, he worked on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns and served in the Trump White House in the office of Small Business Administration. He became executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party in 2021.

Simmons was also endorsed by Republican Sen. Ted Budd who praised the supposed work Whatley and Simmons did together to ensure election integrity in 2020. He did not provide examples.

“On Election Day, I had full confidence that the Election Day Operations plans put in place by Chairman Whatley and Jason Simmons would protect our ballot integrity,” Budd said.

Budd voted against certifying the 2020 election.

North Carolina election officials conduct audits after every election and make their findings publicly available online. There has been little to no voter fraud found in recent races. 

The most prominent case of voter fraud in North Carolina was committed by a Republican. In 2018, Mark Harris was blocked from going to Congress after it was discovered his campaign tampered with absentee ballots. Harris is running for Congress again in 2024. 

The American Journal News reached out to the North Carolina Republican Party requesting clarification on whether Simmons’ regards the 2020 election as fair and lawful. We did not receive a response.


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