FACT SHEET: Election Conspiracy Theorists and Trump Backed MAGA Republicans Are On The Ballot In Hawaii Tomorrow
News Release from Project Defend Democracy, August 11, 2022
(UPDATE: Primary Winners Highlighted.)
Just like Republican parties in other states, the Republican Party of Hawaii has been consumed by election conspiracy theories for the last 18 months and now election deniers are seeking office at every level. Audit the Vote Hawaii, a far right group promoting debunked conspiracy theories about fraud in the 2020 election, has sponsored numerous candidate events well attended by the numerous Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, and in the federal races candidates include an organizer of a January 6 “Stop The Steal” rally in Honolulu running for Congress and a candidate who refers to November 3, 2020 as the “real insurrection” seeking the nomination to face Senator Brian Schatz.
Hawaii State Offices
Governor: Multiple Republican Conspiracy Theorists And Election “Audit” Supporters Are Competing For The Republican Nomination For Governor.
Ten Republicans are competing for the nomination for Hawaii’s open governor’s seat, and most of them have repeated conspiracy theories about the 2020 election or expressed support for an ongoing campaign to “audit” the election in Hawaii. Five candidates, Keline Kahau, Paul Morgan, Lynn Mariano, Gary Cordery, and Heidi Tsuneyoshi, attended a June candidate forum hosted by Audit the Vote Hawaii and moderated by traveling election fraud conspiracy theorist Seth Keshel.
Kehshel purports that voter fraud is “rampant” in Hawaii and Joe Biden received over 50,000 fraudulent votes in the state in 2020. Cordery, Mariano, Morgan, and Kahau also attended a separate election integrity town hall event in April where Kahau expressed her belief that her own election loss in 2020 was stolen and “needed to be audited.”
One of the most well known candidates in the race, former MMA fighter BJ Penn, has also partnered with Audit the Vote Hawaii, which he says is “discovering and exposing the truth of the 2020 Election.” Another prominent candidate, Honolulu City Council Member Heidi Tsuneyoshi has also expressed skepticism about the 2020 election results, stopping short of calling the election “stolen,” but insisting that there were “issues” and “missing ballots” that needed to be accounted for.
Lieutenant Governor: Two Republican Election Deniers Are Competing For The Republican Nomination For Lieutenant Governor.
Realtor Robert Burns and pastor Jr. Tupai are the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor of Hawaii. Both attended the Audit the Vote candidate forum moderated by traveling election fraud conspiracy theorist Seth Keshel, and Tupai attended an additional event with Keshel on seeking to look “behind the election corruption curtain” in Hawaii. Burns has also partnered with Audit the Vote and is committed to “cleaning up” the state’s voter rolls using the LG’s functional role as secretary of state in Hawaii.
Senate: Multiple “Election Integrity” Advocates Are Running To Face Sen. Brian Schatz.
Five Republicans are competing for the nomination to face Sen. Brian Schatz. Pastor Asia LaVonne claims that, “When the events of Jan. 6 are fairly investigated and the incontrovertible evidence that directly and undeniably contradicts the narrative being pushed today is finally revealed, the real ‘Insurrection’ will be shown to have happened on Nov. 3, 2020, when the election was stolen from the American people.” LaVonne calls for the perpetrators of the theft of the election to be “arrested and tried.” Realtor Steve Bond lists “election integrity” as one of his top campaign issues, and Marine Corps veteran Tim Dalhouse expresses concern about “questionable elections” on his campaign website.
House HI-01: MAGA Republican Patrick Largey Is One Of The Candidates Seeking To Face Rep. Ed Case In The 1st District.
Three Republicans are running for the nomination to face Rep. Ed Case in the 1st District. Patrick Largey self-identifies as a “MAGA conservative” and claims that, “There’s too much there that says that the election wasn’t fair.” Largey has pledged that, if elected, he will “sign off on impeachment, to start the damage reversal of the Biden-Harris administration” and has posted memes suggesting a willingness to engage in political violence. Another candidate in the race, retired Navy commander Ed Kress supported Trump in 2020 and has expressed skepticism about the security of Hawaii’s mail in voting system.
House HI-02: A “Stop The Steal” Organizer Is Running For The Open 2nd District.
Two Republicans are competing for the nomination in the open 2nd District after Rep. Kai Kahele retired from Congress to run for governor. The Republican nominee for the seat in 2020, Joe Akana, is running for the seat again. Akana attended a “Stop the Steal” rally in Honolulu on January 6, 2021, where he told a TV reporter that he believed Trump was the winner of the election and questioned the results of his own race, which he lost by 30 points. Akana has also spread conspiracy theories about Covid-19 being a “plandemic.”
The other candidate in the primary, Joe Webster, claims to be a “Republican like you’ve never met before” and opposes election denialism.
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