During a Fox News interview on Wednesday, National Republican Congressional Committee chair Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) suggested that some sort of voter fraud played a role in Democrat Conor Lamb’s likely victory over Republican Rick Saccone in a special election in a red district of southwestern Pennsylvania — one that President Trump won by nearly 20 points in 2016 .
“So you do not plan to concede and you want to challenge this legally?” host Dana Perino asked Stivers.
“There are some questions and our attorneys are looking into that,” Stivers replied, without specifying what those “questions” are. “But there are some questions and our attorneys are looking into that, and we’ve heard from a lot of voters in southwest Pennsylvania and we’re gonna take those issues pretty seriously. We want to make sure that this is done right and that every vote that should be counted is counted.”
Suffice it to say there is no evidence that Lamb’s likely victory had anything to do with voter fraud, which is often invoked by prominent Republicans — including President Trump — as a baseless excuse when elections don’t go the way they hoped.
Stivers’ approach mirrors that of Roy Moore, the Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama who was defeated by Democrat Doug Jones in December. Even though Moore lost his election by a wider margin that Saccone, he refused to concede, and launched an “Election Integrity Program” to investigate “potential voter fraud and various other irregularities.”
During a subsequent part of the interview, Stivens dismissed the significance of Saccone’s surprisingly poor performance using the same bogus spin as the RNC — that Lamb’s victory in a deep-red district isn’t as grim as it may seem for Republicans because Lamb is “pro-life” and basically ran as a Republican.
“He campaigned as pro-life, pro-gun, and he attacked Nancy Pelosi, so the Democrat actually campaigned like a Republican, and that helped him win this race,” Stivens said. “I don’t believe that’s something that they can replicate in other races.”
In fact, Lamb has publicly said he supports the right of women to make reproductive choices for themselves — a fact that wasn’t lost on the RNC as recently as last month, when it issued a press release noting Lamb’s opposition to a 20-week abortion ban and calling him “drastically out of touch with values of southwest Pennsylvania.”
Lamb has declared victory over Saccone and holds a narrow lead that experts believe will likely hold up as the last ballots are counted.