The trio are part of a phalanx of Republican candidates nationwide who so strongly embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him that they traveled to Washington to participate in the rally that preceded the violent attack on the Capitol, temporarily disrupting congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Most of the candidates, including the Pennsylvanians, have said they did not enter the Capitol building that day. But they have made their commitment to Trump’s baseless claims key to their campaigns, and their rise shows the extent to which many in the party’s grass roots have embraced participation in Jan. 6 as a badge of honor.
Should the candidates win their elections, some would be in position to play a critical role in the administration of the presidential vote in 2024. In Pennsylvania, for instance, the governor appoints the secretary of state, who serves as the state’s chief elections officer. Leading GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, a state senator, has said he would appoint a secretary of state who would require all voters to re-register before casting their ballots, a move that could dramatically reshape the electorate — and would likely violate federal law.