In ramp-up to midterms, GOP candidates center pitches on Trump’s false election claims

Across the country, as campaigns gear up for a handful of key races this year and the pivotal 2022 midterms, Republican candidates for state and federal offices are increasingly focused on the last election — running on the falsehood spread by Trump and his allies that the 2020 race was stolen from him.

While most of these campaigns are in their early stages, the embrace of Trump’s claims is already widespread on the trail and in candidates’ messages to voters. The trend provides fresh evidence of Trump’s continued grip on the GOP, reflecting how a movement inspired by his claims and centered on overturning a democratic election has gained currency in the party since the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Dozens of candidates promoting the baseless notion that the election was rigged are seeking powerful statewide offices — such as governor, attorney general and secretary of state, which would give them authority over the administration of elections — in several of the decisive states where Trump and his allies sought to overturn the outcome and engineer his return to the White House.

Many are newcomers to politics. They boast campaign websites proclaiming “America First,” call themselves patriots or tout their military service.