The spectacle caused by Trump’s revival of unfounded voter fraud claims offers an early preview of the type of headaches facing Republicans who want to put him center stage in their quest to win back their congressional majorities, particularly the House GOP. Yet some members worry that Trump’s election grievances could create an impossible-to-avoid litmus test in 2022.
GOP candidates are bound to field questions about whether they agree Trump was cheated in the election — an uncomfortable position for some lawmakers who don’t want to cross an ex-president who still maintains an iron grip on the party. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) insisted last month that “no one is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” but the more he aligns with the legitimacy-doubting Trump, the more likely those words are to come back to bite him.
”If Trump focused on Pelosi and Biden's policy failures, he would help us. If it's about election fraud and sour grapes from 2020, it will hurt us,” said one GOP lawmaker who represents a purple district. “We may be able to still win the majority, but I think it makes the hill harder to climb.”