The Washington Post editorial board scolded Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe for casting doubt in the 2018 election defeat of Stacey Abrams.
Abrams, who famously never conceded her Georgia gubernatorial loss against her Republican rival Brian Kemp, appeared alongside McAuliffe at a rally on Sunday hoping to energize the Democratic base ahead of next week’s election.
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McAuliffe suggested Abrams’ defeat was illegitimate while introducing the Democrat ally.
“She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election,” McAuliffe said to his supporters. “That’s what happened to Stacey Abrams. They took the votes away.”
On Monday, the Post accused the former governor of “fanning the flames” of voter suspicion.
“If there’s one thing that former president Donald Trump has taught us, it’s how toxic to the system it is to question the legitimacy of election results. Mr. Trump continues to lie about his resounding loss in 2020 and insist that other Republicans accept the lie, too,” the Post editorial board began its piece on Monday before accusing GOP Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin of “indulg[ing] Mr. Trump’s falsehoods.”
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“That made it all the more disappointing to hear Mr. Youngkin’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, fanning the flames of suspicion over the weekend among his supporters,” the board wrote before citing McAuliffe’s rhetoric about Abrams.
The Post conceded there was “some basis for Mr. McAuliffe’s statement,” acknowledging the purge of voter rolls between 2012-2018, but stressed, “many were purged from the rolls for entirely legitimate reasons (such as, they were dead).”
The board then cited “election expert” Richard L. Hasen, who told the Post’s “Fact Checker” in 2019 that there is “no evidence” to prove Abrams would have won if it weren’t for the voter purge but added the state “did not have good reasons” to remove the estimated 700,000 voters from the rolls.
“Which points to the right response, and that is the route Ms. Abrams for the most part has been following: Push for laws and practices that encourage voting, rather than suppressing it,” the Post wrote. “Mr. McAuliffe would do well to stick to that effort, avoiding unprovable allegations that will contribute to the corrosion of trust.”
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On the night of the election in 2018, Abrams conceded that “former Secretary of State Brian Kemp will be certified as the victor in the 2018 gubernatorial election.” But she claimed that Kemp had pinned “his hopes for election on suppression of the people’s democratic right to vote.” She has repeatedly accused Kemp of abusing his position as secretary of state to suppress the vote.
Some commentators have compared Abrams’ claim about voter suppression and the 2018 governor race to the Democrats’ condemnations of former President Donald Trump’s claims about fraud in the 2020 election, which Democrats refer to as “The Big Lie.”
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A Youngkin campaign spokesperson blasted McAuliffe for his remarks about Abrams.
“McAuliffe’s continued claims that multiple elections were stolen raise serious doubts about whether he will accept his own impending defeat and concede when he loses to Glenn Youngkin,” the spokesperson told Fox News on Sunday.
Fox News’ Tyler O’Neil contributed to this report.