The Elder campaign promoted fraud claims over the weekend, pointing to a website that urges people to sign a petition saying he’s lost an election that isn’t over yet. The language in the initial paragraph and final sentence of the petition is identical to that on petitions circulated online by attorney Lin Wood backing his lawsuit to overturn Biden’s win in Georgia last year.
Wood, who was recently sanctioned by a federal judge for his role in a separate lawsuit challenging Biden’s win in Michigan last year, said those petitions were drafted by staff at his organization and that he had no role in the petition that Elder circulated. “I had no knowing involvement in the California petition,” Wood said.
Wood’s Georgia lawsuit was dismissed, but the conspiracy theories in that complaint and dozens of other unsuccessful pro-Trump litigation helped fuel the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Critics argue Elder is continuing to fan distrust of the foundations of democracy.
“They are trying to throw battery acid on our Constitution, on our electoral norms,” Newsom strategist Sean Clegg said.
Not all Republicans are embracing the claims. John Cox, a businessman running to replace Newsom, said voter fraud concerns are “another distraction.”
“Frankly, all this talk about the election not being valid is a cul de sac because it’s going to result in some people deciding not to vote,” Cox said as he campaigned Monday outside the Capitol.