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AP finds deep support for election lies among GOP candidates

FILE - State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, the Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania, gestures to the cheering crowd during his primary night election party in Chambersburg, Pa., May 17, 2022. Dozens of Republican candidates who sought Donald Trump’s endorsement have spent months parroting the former president's baseless claims of election fraud. But they've been quiet about any such concerns when declaring victory in their own primary elections this spring. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

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This year’s Republican primary elections have been notable for the number of candidates who support former President Donald Trump’s false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election. How many made the ballot for the fall — and what exactly they have said — are crucial questions in the run-up to the midterm general election. Democracy team reporter Nick Riccardi worked with AP statehouse reporters across the U.S. to analyze an important subset of the GOP candidates: the candidates for statewide offices that play a role in overseeing, certifying or defending elections.

The team analyzed the public statements of 86 candidates in 37 states who were running for governor, secretary of state or attorney general, finding that nearly one in three GOP candidates for those offices — many of then in pivotal swing states — have echoed Trump’s lies about widespread fraud costing him reelection.

A separate question AP sent to each of the candidates revealed that only 40% would acknowledge that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president, raising doubts about whether candidates will accept election results they don’t like if they win their races. The data gathered for each of the candidates was formatted into a series of interactives created by graphic artist Francois Duckett that were embedded in the story.

The piece made headlines and found an audience even while much of the media was focused on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

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