Prominent Republicans endorse Democrats over GOP candidates, citing 'extremism'
Former GOP officials and other prominent Republican figures in Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona are warning that their party’s candidates are a threat to democracy.
A growing number of prominent Republicans across the country are ditching their party’s nominees in the midterm elections in favor of Democratic candidates, and many others are withholding endorsements, citing the need to fight back against “dangerous extremism.” The endorsements come as the midterm election season heads into the home stretch.
More than half of voters in the United States, or 60%, will have a candidate on their ballot who either falsely denies the results of the 2020 presidential election or who won’t say President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, according to FiveThirtyEight.
“If a Republican thinks the 2020 election was stolen despite multiple investigations finding no evidence of widespread voter fraud, they might not accept the results of the 2024 election, either,” writes Nathaniel Rakich, a senior elections analyst at FiveThirtyEight. “And if they’re elected this November, they will be in a position to influence, and potentially overturn, the next presidential election.”
On Sunday, a Republican state senator in Texas endorsed Democrat Mike Collier for lieutenant governor over incumbent Republican Dan Patrick.
“Dan Patrick is an extremist,” state Sen. Kel Seliger said in an appearance on Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA’s “Inside Texas Politics.” Seliger joined Republican Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley in endorsing Collier over Patrick.
Patrick is a promoter of election conspiracy theories who has pushed former President Donald Trump’s voter fraud lies and has made offensive comments in the past.
In March 2020, as the coronavirus began to spread across the country, Patrick pushed against shutdowns for safety’s sake and said of older Americans who were considered more vulnerable to the virus: “We’ll take care of ourselves. But don’t sacrifice the country.” Patrick has also railed against academic freedom and teaching about the history of race in the United States. He’s said he wants to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, but supports an exception if the life of the pregnant person is at risk, and falsely said such situations are “rare.”
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Monday that 150 Republicans, including former lawmakers, business leaders, and staffers to previous Republican governors in Michigan, are endorsing her for reelection over her opponent, Republican Tudor Dixon.
Former Rep. Joe Schwarz, one of the Michigan Republicans who endorsed Whitmer, said in a news release that Whitmer “has proven herself as a strong leader who is fighting to make Michigan a better place for everyone – regardless of your party affiliation.”
In Pennsylvania, more than a dozen Republicans have endorsed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro over Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, citing Mastriano’s “extremism.” In July, nine Republicans backed Shapiro, calling Mastriano and his far-right views “dangerous” and “divisive,” and another seven Republicans endorsed Shapiro’s bid on Aug. 30.
“I just don’t think he [Mastriano] really respects our electoral system and he’s even suggested he might appoint some people to be Secretary of State who, in my view, might not be fair in administering elections in this state,” former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent said in July.
Like Patrick, Mastriano is an election denier and promoter of conspiracy theories. He was present at the Jan. 6 insurrection by supporters of Trump at the U.S. Capitol and even chartered buses that were used by Trump supporters to travel to the rally preceding the riot. He’s being investigated for his involvement in a plot to overturn the 2020 election results by sending a false slate of Republican electors to the Capitol. If elected, he’d have the power to appoint as secretary of state an election denier who could overturn the election results. He has also promised to illegally force every voter to reregister to vote.
“Although I am a long-standing Republican, I am deeply troubled by Doug Mastriano’s embrace of dangerous extremism,” former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said in a news release. “Josh Shapiro, on the other hand, is a staunch defender of our democratic institutions and will lead Pennsylvania with honor and integrity. I am proud to support his campaign for Governor.”
Other Republicans have refused to endorse their own party’s nominees in the November midterms, though they haven’t backed the Democratic nominee either.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan refused to back the GOP nominee for governor, Dan Cox. Hogan said Cox, who also arranged buses to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, is a “nut” and a “QAnon whack job” who is not “mentally stable.”
In Arizona, Meghan McCain, the television personality and daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, slammed GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake for being too extreme. Lake has made election denialism a cornerstone of her campaign, and has vowed to jail her Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, for her role in administering the 2020 election.
“Congratulations to my home state for [fully] making the transition to full blown MAGA/conspiracy theory/fraudster,” McCain tweeted after Lake’s primary win in August. “The voters have spoken – be careful what you wish for…”
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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