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Republican attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh, who has made election security one of the main issues of his campaign, appears to have written in an online forum that he voted with his mother's ballot at age 17.
The posts were first reported by the Phoenix New Times.
In a series of 2008 messages on an online chat board called Ron Paul Forums, a user going by the name "Hamadeh" wrote, "based on Barack Obama's intelligence I casted my vote for him yesterday through absentee."
In a later message, he wrote, "No I cannot vote, I just submitted by mothers absentee ballot, she votes who I vote for, she voted for Ron Paul, and I'm saddened that I had to vote for Barack Obama, but it was the right thing I had to do."
The birthdate of the user, the hometown and birthplace listed on the forum all match with Hamadeh, according to the New Times. The messages and other information associated with account appear to have been removed, although the replies to the messages from other users still appear, along with the original post.
The voting actions as described could violate several statutes of Arizona law, many of which are felonies.
The media should report on what Kris Mayes said 16 days ago not supposed comments from a 16 year old.
Kris has called for DEFUNDING the police and creating a climate change czar.
The media is panicking because a first generation & veteran doesn't subscribe to their narrative.
— Abe Hamadeh for Arizona AG (@AbrahamHamadeh) August 24, 2022
Hamadeh did not deny that he wrote the comments, but did not answer a direct question about whether he did, according to the New Times. The alternative news outlet reported that he joined the online forum when he was 16, but he was 17 at the time of the 2008 election.
A spokesperson for Hamadeh's campaign told the New Times: “Abe Hamadeh is the youngest statewide candidate in the country, and one of the first to be scrutinized on his digital footprint dating back to a time when he was 16 years old, the same time he thought he would grow up to become a wrestler in the WWE."
That spokesperson, Erica Knight, also told the newspaper that, "Comments allegedly posted during his teenage years do not represent his current values and views."
Hours later, Hamadeh reacted angrily on Twitter, writing, "The media should report on what Kris Mayes said 16 days ago not supposed comments from a 16 year old. Kris has called for DEFUNDING the police and creating a climate change czar. The media is panicking because a first generation & veteran doesn't subscribe to their narrative."
Mayes has not called for defunding the police.
“It’s the height of hypocrisy for Abe Hamadeh to have spent the last year undermining trust in our election system when apparently he’s the guy who engaged in voter fraud," Mayes told HuffPost.
Republicans quiet about report
Key Arizona Republicans had no immediate reaction to Hamadeh's teenage posts, although many are listing election security among their top issues and advocating for legislation that will tighten voting laws in future elections.
That's a reason former President Donald Trump cited in endorsing Hamadeh in the first place.
The first-time political candidate was a former prosecutor and intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserve who, according to his campaign manager, made it a central strategy for the campaign to get Trump's endorsement on the board.
“Abe Hamadeh knows what happened in the 2020 Election, and will enforce voting laws so that our Elections are Free and Fair again,” Trump said in a statement upon endorsing Hamadeh in early June.
Hamadeh has alluded to so-called fraud in the 2020 election in numerous campaign ads and stops throughout Arizona.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem and several lawmakers who pushed legislation to combat voting fraud did not respond to requests for comment.
Pulliam Fellow Gregory Svirnovskiy contributed to this article.
Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kavalertara.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona AG candidate Abe Hamadeh may have committed voter fraud