Most Candidates Who Think 2020 Was Rigged Are Probably Going To Win In November
In May, Anna Paulina Luna donned a red-carpet-worthy ball gown to a screening of “2000 Mules,” a debunked documentary that falsely claims to show evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. In June, she made her stance on the 2020 election clear in an interview with MSNBC: “I believe that President Trump won that election, and I do believe that voter fraud occurred.” And in November, she will very likely be elected to Congress.
Luna is the Republican candidate for Florida’s 13th District, on the Gulf Coast around St. Petersburg. During redistricting last year, Republicans redrew this previously competitive district to be much redder, and as a result, Luna has a 97-in-100 shot at beating her Democrat opponent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Deluxe forecast, as of Monday at 12 p.m. Eastern. (All numbers in this story are as of that same time and date.)
Luna is one of well over a hundred of candidates running this fall who have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election1 and have a strong chance of winning their race. Of the 185 Republican candidates running for House, Senate and governor’s seats who have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election, 124 — or 67 percent — are in races our forecast currently pins at “Solid R,” meaning they have a 95-in-100 or better chance of winning. Overall, a bigger share of election deniers are running in Solid R races than Republican candidates in general: Of the 496 Republican candidates running for House, Senate and governor, 225 — or 45 percent — are in Solid R races.2
Election-denying candidates running to become House representatives are faring better than those running to be governor or Senator. There are 170 election deniers running for House seats, and 70 percent (119) are running in Solid R races. Among the seven running for governor, only two — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and Idaho Gov. Brad Little — are running in Solid R races. And of the eight election deniers running for Senate, just three — Katie Britt in Alabama, Eric Schmitt in Missouri and Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma’s special election — have better than 95-in-100 odds.
A sizable portion of election-denying candidates are also running in races where they’re very unlikely to win. Thirty-six election-denying candidates, or 19 percent, are running in races that our forecast currently identifies as Solid D, giving them a 5-in-100 or worse shot at winning. This includes candidates such as Jeff Zink, the GOP candidate for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District. Zink has not only claimed the 2020 election was stolen; he also participated in the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol, though he says he never entered the building. FiveThirtyEight’s Deluxe forecast gives Zink a less than 1-in-100 chance of winning.
However, very few election deniers are running in toss-up races. Toss-up races are rarer in general — particularly as partisan redistricting creates fewer competitive districts — but there are disproportionately fewer election deniers facing these kinds of odds than Republican candidates overall. Just four election-denying candidates (2 percent of all deniers) are running in races that are currently deemed toss-ups by our Deluxe forecast: Kari Lake, who’s running for governor in Arizona; Monica De La Cruz and Mike Garcia, who are running for House seats in Texas and California, respectively; and Senate candidate Adam Laxalt in Nevada. Comparatively, there are 17 Republicans running in toss-up races overall, or 3 percent of candidates. This might be due to Republican voters in competitive districts rejecting more extreme candidates in the primary in favor of a stronger general-election candidate, while voters in solid Democratic or Republican areas could afford to select more extreme candidates since it would have less impact in the general election.
Meanwhile, Republican candidates who have accepted the legitimacy of the 2020 election are less likely than election deniers to be in Solid R races. Of the 67 Republican candidates who accept the 2020 election, 30 — or 45 percent — are running in races where they have 95-in-100 or better odds. This includes candidates such as North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven, who is running for reelection and is one of the Republicans who voted to certify the 2020 election results.
There’s still two weeks left before the election, and the forecast is updating constantly, so none of these results is set in stone. However, this snapshot shows that claiming the 2020 election was stolen doesn’t seem to preclude GOP candidates from winning elections this fall.