Abbott gives in to Trump pressure on Texas election audit


Governor of Texas Greg AbbottGreg Abbott Where US election review efforts are taking place The memo: Trump’s embarrassment in Arizona sharpens questions for GOP Texas limits business with Ben & Jerry’s over Israel MORE embarks on an audit of the 2020 elections in the four largest counties in its state after mounting pressure from the former President TrumpDonald Trump Julian Castro overthrows Biden administration on refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment – League of Conservation Voters – Climate summit chief says US must “show progress” on environment Five takeaways from the Arizona PLUS audit results.

The move comes as Arizona releases its own highly anticipated election review, which has led to growing friction within the state’s Republican Party and ultimately found Trump lost to President BidenJoe BidenFighter escorts planes that entered restricted airspace at UN rally Julian Castro hits out at Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigates alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier in an Afghan refugee camp MORE by an even wider margin last year.

At the same time, audits are only just beginning in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, led by Republicans in the state legislature.

The Arizona GOP-led audit found that Biden won Arizona by 1,040,873 votes in Maricopa County in November, 99 more votes than the certified ballot showed in 2020. Additionally , the audit found that Trump’s vote total rose from 995,665 to 995,404.

Yet Trump continues his campaign to pressure other states to conduct audits, citing his baseless claims that the presidential election was fraudulent.

Trump sent Abbott an open letter on Thursday demanding he back the Texas House Bill 16, which was tabled by Texas State Representative Steve Toth (R), despite results showing the former president won the Lone Star State by 630,000 votes.

The legislation would allow county and state heads to send a request for review of the 2020 election results to a county clerk, who would then be tasked with establishing an advisory committee to comb through the ballots. within the county wall. A similar bill drafted by State Senator Paul Bettencourt (right) has already passed the upper house but has not made it to the State House.

The secretary of state’s office announced hours later that an election audit would be carried out in Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties. Biden transported to Dallas, Harris and Tarrant counties in November, while Trump won Collin County.

“In Governor Abbott’s eyes, it’s not about Donald Trump or anyone else,” Toth told The Hill. “It’s about Texans believing their electoral system is fair and honest.”

Harris County GOP President Cindy Siegel applauded critics of the election.

“All constituents in Harris County, regardless of their political party, should help the Secretary of State step in to conduct a full audit of the 2020 elections to protect their right to a free, fair and secure election,” he said she said in a press release. “Unfortunately, Harris County officials deceived voters about the electoral process and refused to investigate reports of potential fraud and irregularities filed by election clerks and poll observers.

But other Republicans take the move as a clear sign of the GOP’s assent to Trump.

“This is Donald Trump demonstrating his dominance over the Republican Party,” said veteran National GOP strategist Doug Heye. “I don’t think it’s really now about the logic of the states he’s won or lost, it’s about his demanding power.”

“Politicians need to be aware that he doesn’t give points, he only gives them,” he added.

Democrats hit back at Abbott and Trump, calling the audits a “sham” or “fraud.”

“These mock audits announced by Governor Abbott in Texas and the one just completed in Arizona are part of a coordinated effort to spread lies about our elections and reduce voting rights across the country,” the secretary said. of Colorado State, Jena Griswold, who is president of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State.

Republican strategists say the move shows Trump’s influence not only with state and local Republican elected officials, but GOP voters as well.

“If he says, ‘This is something I want you to do, Governor,’ Trump can make these Republican voters support that and encourage them, encourage their elected officials to do it,” said Brendan Steinhauser, strategist of the Austin-based GOP. .

The pressure from Trump, who backed Abbott for re-election, comes as the governor faces major challenges from the right in his 2022 reelection bid. Former Texas GOP President Allen West, former Senator for State Don Huffines (right) and Tory political commentator Chad Prather have all thrown primary challenges against Abbott, but most insiders agree Abbott will likely win the primary.

“The governor is clearly in a strong position right now,” said a Texas-based Republican agent. “[With] President Trump said that, I’m not sure how much pressure this is really putting on the governor, given he is so strong in the primary right now. “

Yet Abbott’s decision to accept Trump’s request shows just how ready the governor is to be in sync with the former president. Abbott is reportedly considering a run for president in case Trump fails to run and needs to appeal to the party’s staunchly pro-Trump base.

Other Republicans have expressed concerns that the push will only instill a belief that the electoral process is illegitimate and lead GOP voters to believe their vote is illegitimate and to reduce their turnout, which will cost them. party elections.

Republicans won top-to-bottom victories in Texas last year: Trump won the state, Sen. John cornynJohn CornynSenate panel pushes forward antitrust bill that targets Google and Facebook Democrats fight risky debt ceiling (R) sailed for re-election and the party maintained majorities in both state legislative chambers.

“Part of this concerns us because we don’t want Republicans to do anything other than register more Republican voters and send them to the polls to win again,” Steinhauser said.

Steinhauser pointed out how the Secretary of State’s office made the official announcement, instead of Abbott.

“He’s taking action. He’s going to support this effort in the future, but I don’t think he’ll necessarily talk about it much, ”said Steinhauser. “I think he has a lot of other things to do and say.”

Toth, on the other hand, said he “over and over again” heard voters say they feared their vote didn’t count because they had lost confidence in the electoral system. But he rejected the idea that this would lead to a drop in voter turnout.

“I think it makes people more excited to vote when they know the government cares that the people of our state believe in our process, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican,” he said.

Other Republicans say they are not concerned about the threat of declining turnout, pointing to the story of a first-term president’s party normally losing seats, as well as what they say is their advantage on issues like the economy and the border.

“I think the reality is 2022 is going to be a very strong year for Republicans,” the Texas-based GOP agent said. “I think there are issues, like the economy, which are going to be a huge factor, but also border security.”

“The reality is that what you are seeing in Texas right now on border security is unlike anything you have ever seen and the governor has done an amazing job stepping up and doing what he can to level state to have an impact on border security law. “

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