Republicans who rail against voter fraud take cash from candidate accused of voter fraud

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GOP candidates accepted campaign cash from New Hampshire Republican Matt Mowers, who is accused of voter fraud for voting twice in the 2016 GOP presidential primary.

Four top Republican recruits running for House seats in 2022 on a platform of fighting voter fraud accepted campaign cash from a GOP candidate who may have broken federal election law by voting twice in the same election.

Matt Mowers, a Republican candidate running in New Hampshire's 1st District, admitted to casting two ballots in two states during the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

At the time, Mowers was a staffer for GOP presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Mowers first voted in the New Hampshire primary. Then, after Christie's bid failed, Mowers moved back to New Jersey, where he registered to vote using his parents' address, and voted in the presidential primary there. Federal law prohibits voters from voting "more than once" for a presidential candidate in "any general, special, or primary election."

Four Republicans running in other House contests across the country have accepted campaign donations from Mowers — even as they have made combating supposed "voter fraud" and promoting "election integrity" cornerstones of their campaign. All four are listed as top candidates by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House.

Esther Joy King, a Republican running in Illinois' 17th District, accepted $2,900 from Mowers' leadership political action committee — a political fund that politicians use to boost their own influence. King, who lost a 2020 bid for Congress in the 17th District by 4 points and refused to concede for weeks citing "unexplained anomalies," has said that if elected, she will work to change election practices.

"It's heartbreaking to think that even one American thinks their vote doesn't matter because of something that happened illegally or even just mistakes made in the election process," King told a local media outlet in September when discussing her second attempt to win this seat. "We need to have voter IDs in our voting process. That's supported by an overwhelming amount of Americans."

April Becker, a Republican running for Congress in Nevada's 3rd District, also accepted $2,900 from Mowers' leadership PAC.

Becker has been vocal about her opposition to alleged voter fraud, challenging her loss for state Senate in Nevada in 2020. Becker filed a lawsuit in 2020 that sought to completely invalidate her one-point loss, citing so-called "un-trackable" ballots, and instead, hold a completely new election. A judge tossed out her challenge, ruling that Becker "put forth no evidence," only "inadmissible hearsay" that did "not come close to meeting" the "heavy burden" of proving that the election should be overturned.

In Pennsylvania's 8th District, Republican hopeful Jim Bognet accepted $5,800 from Mowers' PAC. Bognet is running on a platform of securing elections, saying in an issues tab of his campaign website that, "Election Integrity should not be a blue or red issue; every American deserves fair and honest elections."

"I will fight to require a strong voter-ID for all ballots and audit the vote. No drop boxes, no non-signature verified mail-in ballots, and no more rigged elections!" Bognet wrote.

Lastly, former New Jersey state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., who is running for Congress in New Jersey's 7th District, accepted $2,900 from Mowers' leadership PAC.

Democrats have pushed the candidates to return Mowers' campaign cash. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seeks to elect Democrats to the House, said the candidates should "denounce double voting and return the donations" they accepted from Mowers.

None of the four campaigns responded to requests from the American Independent Foundation to comment on whether they plan to return Mowers' donations.

All of the candidates who accepted donations from Mowers' leadership PAC are running in competitive districts that will be critical for House control in the 2022 midterms. Both Kean and Bognet are running in competitive races that the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet Inside Elections rate a toss-up, while King and Becker's races lean Democratic.

Republicans running against Mowers in the New Hampshire 1st District primary have criticized him for allegedly committing voter fraud.

"We cannot nominate somebody to go to Congress who breaks the law and commits voter fraud," candidate Gail Huff Brown told New Hampshire's WMUR when news of Mowers' double voting broke. "So, I do believe that Matt Mowers needs to think about his campaign, thinks about whether he drops out, thinks about whether he goes back to New Jersey."

"Voters deserve to know [the] truth, they deserve transparency and they deserve leaders who are not only going to talk the talk on election integrity, but walk the walk, too, and implement those same practices in their own lives,"  Karoline Leavitt, another Republican running in the 1st District primary, told WMUR.

Another GOP contender, Tim Baxter, told WMUR, "'Jersey Mowers' has potentially violated federal law by committing voter fraud, and I think people are done with pretenders."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.