On Friday, The New York Times reported that several candidates who have pushed the conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump are now scrubbing and revising these claims, both walking them back in public and trying to delete them from their websites.
"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," reported Jonathan Weisman. "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."
Masters, for example — who famously writes all the code for his own website — deleted a line from the site that read, "If we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today." Smiley deleted a website section that said, "The 2020 elections raised serious questions about the integrity of our elections." And Oz, who once said we "cannot move on" from 2020, told reporters this month he "would not have objected to" certifying the electors if he were in the Senate.
Perhaps one of the most dramatic about-faces on the issue, said the report, has been Don Bolduc, a retired brigadier general now running for Senate in New Hampshire.
Before the primary this month, Bolduc said, "I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and, damn it, I stand by my letter." But immediately after winning the nomination, he appeared on Fox News and said, "I've done a lot of research on this and I've spent the past couple weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party, and I have come to the conclusion — and I want to be definitive on this — the election was not stolen."
This comes as some Republican Senate candidates also retreat from absolutist anti-abortion positions, amid rising public anger over the Supreme Court's decision clearing GOP legislatures to pass total bans of the procedure. Masters also deleted references to his support for "a federal personhood law" that would ban abortion nationwide, and now claims in ads that he only supports a limit on "very late term abortions," while declining to define what that means.