“Election Deniers Are Pivoting to November. Will Voters Buy It?”


As post-primary pivots go, Don Bolduc’s overnight transformation from “Stop the Steal” evangelist to ratify-the-results convert could land him in a political hall of fame. It was an about-face so sudden and jarring that it undermined the tell-it-like-it-is authenticity with which he’d earned the Republican nomination for Senate from New Hampshire.

But Mr. Bolduc was hardly the only Republican candidate to edge away from his public insistence, despite a lack of evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald J. Trump, or that 2020 had undermined the integrity of American elections.

Blake Masters in Arizona, Tiffany Smiley in Washington State and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania have all made pivots — some artfully, some not — as the ardent, Trump-loyal voters who decided the Republican primaries shrink in the rearview mirror, and a more cautious, broader November electorate comes into view. These three Senate candidates haven’t quite renounced their questioning of the 2020 election — to right-wing audiences of podcasts, radio shows and Fox News, they still signal their skepticism — but they have shifted their appeals to the swing voters they need to win on Nov. 8.

The real question now is: Can they get away with it?

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