|In case you missed it, after Arizona’s “audit” again confirmed Joe Biden’s victory, VA-02 Republican primary candidate Jarome Bell has made headlines for an extreme tweet calling to “audit all 50 states” and arrest, try, convict, and execute election officials based on the baseless lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Bell is facing outrage from Virginians across the political spectrum for spreading violent and false disinformation — including former Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman, who called Bell’s statement “ignorant tripe.”
But Bell’s primary opponent Jen Kiggans has been noticeably silent in light of the backlash to the extremist comments. Kiggans herself has still yet to say whether Joe Biden won the 2020 election and has “pledg[ed] to crack down on voter fraud, rebuild ‘election integrity’ and support more voting restrictions” based on baseless conspiracies of election fraud.
“Virginians from across the political spectrum have condemned Jarome Bell’s reprehensible call for violence and spread of disinformation about the election — so why won’t fellow Republican candidate Jen Kiggans call out Bell’s extremist rhetoric?” said DCCC spokesperson Elena Kuhn. “It’s clear that the Republican primary field in Virginia’s 2nd district will pander to far-right party leaders, even when it means baselessly casting doubt on the result of the election and threatening our democracy.”
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Newsweek: Pro-Trump Congressional Candidate Says ‘Audit All 50 states’ and ‘Execute All Involved’
- A pro-Trump congressional candidate in Virginia called for election audits in every state after an audit in Arizona’s Maricopa County found no substantial changes in the results of the 2020 election, upholding President Joe Biden‘s victory.
- Republican Jarome Bell, who is running in Virginia’s second congressional district, tweeted Friday, “Audit all 50 states. Arrest all involved. Try all involved. Convict all involved. Execute all involved. #MaricopaCountyFraud.”
- Bell, who served in the Navy as a chief petty officer for 27 years, is running as a conservative “America First” candidate in the suburban swing district encompassing the Virginia Beach area, according to his campaign’s website. Democrat Elaine Luria currently represented the district.
- After flipping the seat blue in 2018, Luria won against former Representative Scott Taylor by nearly six points. Biden also won the district in 2020—though Trump won it in 2016.
- Bell previously ran for the seat in 2020, but came in third place with only 22 percent of the vote.
- His remarks prompted outrage from other Twitter users, with many calling for the tweet to be removed.
- Former U.S. Congressman Denver Riggleman—who previously represented a separate congressional district in Virginia but lost renomination in 2020 due to officiating a same-sex marriage—responded, calling the tweet “ignorant tripe.”
- “A lot of self-proclaimed Christians liking this tweet,” he wrote. “I would bet someone is documenting everyone ‘liking’ this ignorant tripe. Stupid self-identifies. Sanity has to be more aggressive than crazy.”
- Some Republicans have called for election audits in several states where former President Donald Trump narrowly lost to Biden, including Arizona and Pennsylvania.
- In Arizona, Republicans pushed for an audit in Maricopa County, the state’s largest county that traditionally voted for Republicans but flipped in 2020. The audit results shared Friday found that Biden won by a slightly larger margin than the pre-audit numbers indicated.
- Still, that has not stopped some Republicans from claiming that there was widespread fraud. At a rally in Perry, Georgia, on Saturday night, Trump falsely claimed that the audit found that Biden lost Maricopa County.
- “We won at the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn’t believe,” Trump said. “They had headlines that Biden wins in Arizona, when they know it’s not true. He didn’t win in Arizona. He lost in Arizona based on the forensic audit.”
- Despite the Arizona audit reaffirming Biden’s victory, Republicans in Pennsylvania continue to call for an audit of the state’s 2020 presidential results.
- An audit of the results in Texas, a state Trump won by about six points, was announced on Thursday for Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin counties. Biden won all but Collin County.
- Newsweek reached out to Bell’s campaign and the Virginia Republican Party for further comment Sunday evening, but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.