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The most dangerous Republican candidates for 2022: It was not easy to choose ’em

The Trump era saw a far-right takeover of the Republican Party. But the Big Lie and the fallout from the Capitol riot last January threaten to move the party even further into the extremist fringe after the 2022 midterms. Republicans have long inched toward extremist positions on issues like immigration, women’s rights and gun rights but Donald…

The Trump era saw a far right takeover of Republican Party. But the Big Lie and the fallout from the Capitol riot last January threaten to move the party even further into the extremist fringe after the 2022 midterms.

Republicans tend to be extremists on issues such as immigration, women’s right, gun rights, but Donald Trump’s election helped mainstream racists, xenophobics, and white nationalist forces. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arguably one of the most effective conservative political figures in recent history, has increasingly been cast as a RINO (“Republican in Name Only”) while the once-fringe House Freedom Caucus has grown massively to become a leading force in Washington. Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R.Tenn., and former Senator Bob Corker, R.Tenn., fled the scene, while conspiracy theorists such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R.Colo.) became the face of the new MAGA branch of the GOP.

Despite the fact that the majority of Republican House caucus voted for Trump’s Big Lie, and attempted to block President Biden’s victory certificate, Trump and his allies launched a revenge tour with the explicit goal of purging legislators deemed insufficiently loyal. While his supporters in the state legislatures across the country seek to make it easier to win the next election . The next wave of Republican freshmen could pose a serious threat to democracy.

Kari Lake — Arizona governor

After failing to convince the outgoing Arizona Governor. Doug Ducey to help him overturn his election loss, Trump is backing a largely unknown conspiracy theorist, who vowed she would not have certified Biden’s win, to replace Ducey. Lake, a longtime Arizona news anchor with no political experience, has even demanded that election officials “decertify” the election results, which is not legally possible. Lake, who is also backed by election conspiracists Mike Lindell and Michael Flynn and Capitol riot-linked Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has called for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (who is also a gubernatorial candidate this year), to be imprisoned for unspecified election crimes. Trump also praised Lake’s opposition to COVID restrictions and “cancel culture” as well as “woke” school curriculums. These are all issues that will dominate the next round of Republican primaries. Trump’s endorsement catapulted Lake atop the race, where she leads former Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., by more than a two-to-one margin.

Eric Greitens — Missouri governor

Greitens, once a rising star and considered a potential presidential contender, resigned as Missouri governor in 2018 after a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair accused him of sexual assault and revenge porn. A St. Louis grand jury indicted him that year on felony invasion of privacy charges, and although prosecutors dropped the charges, a special committee in the Republican-led state legislature released a report in April 2018 deeming the woman’s allegations “credible. “ The legislature moved to start impeachment proceedings against Greitens in May 2018, leading him to resign in exchange for prosecutors dropping an unrelated felony charge for using a veterans’ charity email list for his campaign.

RELATED: Trump’s MAGA movement suffered in 2021 — but has big comeback plans for 2022

There was a time when such scandals would end a political career but Greitens has rebranded himself as an election conspiracist in the wake of Trump’s loss, calling for “audits” of the election results nationwide and “decertification” of the 2020 results, and is back for a Senate bid. Republicans worried that Greitens could cost them the race have pleaded for Trump not to endorse Greitens, but Trump World appears to be rallying behind the disgraced former governor with endorsements from Donald Trump Jr., his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Greitens is just one of numerous Republican candidates accused of violence against women, a list that also includes Trump-backed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker and Trump-endorsed Ohio House candidate Max Miller, who was accused of assault by Trump’s former press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Joe Kent — Washington, 3rd congressional district

Kent will run to unseat Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), who voted to impeach Trump following the Capitol riot. He is also the most prominent candidate backed the “Insurrection Caucus,” which includes Trump allies such as Greene, Boebert and Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina and Rep. Matt Gaetz in Florida. The Washington Post reported last week that the group has little appetite for direct battle with Democrats and instead aims to push House Republicans even further right.

Kent told the Post he wants to force the party to vote on articles of impeachment against Biden and a full congressional investigation into the 2020 election, which he has claimed (without evidence, of course) was stolen. He told the Post that a lot of it would be shameful for Republicans. He said, “It’s either put up or shut down.”

Trump critics are especially alarmed at the rise of an extremist pro-Trump wing.

“We are looking at a Mad Max hellscape.” Former Republican strategist Rick Wilson told the Post. Wilson co-founded anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “It will be all about the show of 2024 to bring Donald Trump back into power. They will impeach Biden, Harris, and they will kill everyone. “

Mark Finchem — Arizona secretary of state

While most eyes will be on prominent gubernatorial and congressional races, the 2022 slate of secretary of state races may be the most consequential. The election secretaries, who oversee elections and verify the results of all contests, have certified the results in every state Trump attempted to contest. The next time could be different.

Finchem, a state lawmaker who attended the “Stop the Steal” rally ahead of the Capitol riot and spoke at a similar protest the previous day, has earned Trump’s endorsement — and has also espoused QAnon-linked conspiracy theories and been linked to extremist groups.

A Finchem win could prove consequential in a state that was decided in 2020 by fewer than 12,000 votes. But Trump is also backing Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., another election conspiracist, against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who pushed back on Trump’s attempts to overturn his loss. The ex-president has also thrown his support behind Kristina Karamo, an election conspiracist who hopes to challenge Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat.

Democrats are increasingly concerned that prominent election conspirators might soon be in charge overseeing the votes. “That is ‘code red’ for democracy,” Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, chairwoman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told Reuters.

David Perdue — Georgia governor

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic there was no governor more closely aligned with Trump than the Georgia Governor. Brian Kemp. However, Kemp’s refusal of to support Trump’s bid to block Biden’s win cost him his BFF status and placed him squarely in the former President’s crosshairs. Trump has made it a point to back primary challenges to his perceived enemies, throwing his support behind former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. — who lost to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January 2021 runoff — even as the state’s Republican lawmakers pleaded for him to stay out after many blamed him for costing the party both of its Georgia U.S. Senate seats.

Perdue was already out of the Senate last Jan. 6, but now says he would have voted to block Biden’s win. After landing Trump’s endorsement earlier this month, Perdue filed a dubious lawsuit calling for an investigation of absentee ballots in his Senate race over vote-rigging allegations against Democratic election officials, some 11 months after his defeat. He also said earlier this month that he would not have certified Biden’s victory if he had been governor.

Ron Watkins — Arizona, 1st congressional district

Watkins has long been a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist and many believe he outed himself as the mythical “Q” in a recent HBO documentary. He was the former administrator of 8kun’s far-right imageboard. For years, he promoted nonsensical conspiracy theories claiming that a group of liberal Satan-worshipping paedophiles is running a global child-sex-trafficking ring as well as plotting against Trump. After returning from the Philippines, he submitted paperwork to run for Congress in Arizona. He is currently sitting in the seat of Rep. Tom O’Halleran.


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But Watkins is just one of at least 49 federal candidates who have publicly expressed some support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to the watchdog group Media Matters.

Adam Laxalt — Nevada, U.S. Senate

While many Republicans cheered Trump’s bogus voter fraud lawsuits from the sidelines, Laxalt, Nevada’s former attorney general, filed multiple lawsuits contesting Biden’s victory in the state. Though all of the challenges were rejected by the court, Laxalt has continued to stoke voter fraud conspiracies, leading the Las Vegas Sun editorial board to label him the “Nevada version of Rudy Giuliani. “ Laxalt, who is now running for the Senate seat held by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, vowed to file lawsuits to “tighten up the election” more than 14 months before a single vote is cast. Democrats in the state claim that Laxalt is using Trump’s “Big Lie Playbook” to his campaign. He wants to limit Nevadans’ voting rights and possibly overturn the election if he loses. “

Mellissa Carone — Michigan state House

Readers may remember Carone from her bizarre testimony to Michigan lawmakers alongside Giuliani last December or the subsequent mockery she received on “Saturday Night Live. “ Carone, a former IT contractor for Dominion Voting Systems who has continued to espouse debunked claims of election rigging, is now running for the Michigan state House as a Republican and pushing white nationalist talking points about liberals seeking to “eliminate white people in America” with so-called critical race theory and transgender rights.

Carone is one of hundreds of pro-Trump diehards running in state legislature races in 2022, a trend that could have severe implications. Republican-led state legislatures this year pushed hundreds of voting restrictions, measures undercutting COVID regulations, legislation barring the teaching of certain history in school, a

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