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GOP rep heckled at fundraiser after saying Trump lost election

·Senior Writer
·3 min read
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A confrontation Wednesday night between Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and an Illinois Senate candidate highlighted the divide in the Republican Party over former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged.

Crenshaw was appearing at a fundraiser for the Illinois Republican Party in Rosemont when Bobby Piton, who is running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in the state, pushed him on the conspiracy theory that Trump actually won the 2020 presidential election. When Crenshaw said, “Don’t kid yourself into believing [fraud] is why we lost, it’s not,” Piton interrupted him, saying, “You’re wrong.”

“I have plenty of proof,” Piton said, referring to a much-maligned and partisan vote count in Arizona’s Maricopa County. “It’s going to turn out and it’s going to flip. You watch.”

Dan Crenshaw, center
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, center, encounters a heckler (not pictured) during a GOP fundraiser in Rosemont, Ill. (Screengrab via Bobby Piton for Senate/YouTube)

“I’m not going to argue with this. This is something you got to accept. Is there a lot of voter fraud? Yeah, there probably is,” Crenshaw said. “But enough that Trump won? No, absolutely not. Five different states. Hundreds of thousands of votes. You’re kidding yourself.”

Piton later uploaded the video to his YouTube page.

Polls indicate that most Republicans believe Trump’s claims about the 2020 election, despite an absence of evidence. A Yahoo News/YouGov survey released earlier this month found that 66 percent of Republicans continue to insist that “the election was rigged and stolen from Trump,” while just 18 percent believe “Joe Biden won fair and square.”

The Maricopa County vote count cited by Piton has dragged on for months and resulted in infighting among Arizona Republicans. The unofficial “audit” cannot overturn the results of the election and has been referred to as an “adventure in never-never land” by Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

“If you haven’t figured out that the election in Maricopa County was free, fair and accurate yet, I’m not sure you ever will. ... There was no fraud, there wasn’t an injection of ballots from Asia nor was there a satellite that beamed votes in our election equipment,” Sellers wrote in an Aug. 2 letter.

Dan Crenshaw
Rep. Dan Crenshaw. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP)

Crenshaw, who has been critical of GOP lawmakers who say the 2020 election was illegitimate, did not vote to overturn the election in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. However, the congressman did back a Texas lawsuit that asked the Supreme Court to nullify the election results. And he was not one of the 10 GOP representatives who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the events of Jan. 6.

Conspiracy theories regarding the election continue to have real-world consequences. For example, Republican lawmakers in at least 18 states have passed restrictions since last November that make it more difficult to vote, arguing that they are necessary to restore faith in elections. A number of Republicans who have stated they believe the election was stolen are now running for the top election offices in their states.

The battle over whether Trump legitimately lost the election resulted in Republican House members ousting Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from the GOP leadership after she voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment and continually pushed back on the former president’s claims of fraud.

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