How election deniers fared in their midterm races

Nearly a week after Election Day, we're getting a clearer picture of the winners and losers. We're also seeing how the candidates who spread baseless lies about the last presidential election are faring. Tammy Patrick of the non-partisan Democracy Fund joined Amna Nawaz to discuss the results.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, as we have just been hearing, nearly a week after Election Day, we are finally getting a clearer picture of the winners and the losers and, more important, how the candidates who falsely insisted that the last presidential election was stolen, how they're faring in this one.

    Amna Nawaz has more.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That's right, Judy.

    In the battleground states where Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results, each of his favorite candidates for key statewide contests lost their races, while, in some states, votes are still being counted.

    For some takeaways now, we turn to Tammy Patrick of the nonpartisan Democracy Fund. She previously served as an election official in Maricopa County, Arizona, for more than a decade.

    Tammy Patrick, welcome back to the "NewsHour." And thank you for being with us.

    As you well know, these midterms were sort of the first big test for election denialism, right? And a number of those candidates, those Republican candidates like Mark Finchem in Arizona, Adam Laxalt and Jim Marchant in Nevada, many of those election deniers lost in their races, although many in the House ended up winning.

    When you take a step back, what does all of this say to you about the power of that election denial message?

  • Tammy Patrick, Democracy Fund:

    It truly has been an important turning point, I think, in our nation's history, because we know that, for many of Americans who turned out to vote last week, they did not buy this message that the 2020 election was stolen, that they should lack confidence in our democracy and in our electoral process.

    So, we know that on many instances, the ones that you mentioned, that resonated with them, and they have instead chosen the path of pro-democracy, pro-democratic, pro-free and fair elections, in the way that they have cast their ballot.

    This whole time, I have been saying that we needed to remember and remind voters that they are still in the driver's seat in the United States of America. So there are examples across the country where we will still have work to do to make sure that people's beliefs and rights are upheld and that we have some continuity across the country, so that we don't have a patchwork of different interpretations of what our federal laws mean.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Even in that patchwork as it exists now, though, Tammy, there were a lot of concerns going into this election cycle that, should a lot of those candidates win, it would pose a major threat to our democracy. A few of those candidates did win.

    Does that mean the threat is gone or it's still there?

  • Tammy Patrick:

    I think we need to remain vigilant, but I think we can at least take one brief sigh of relief.

    Another big signal that I'm seeing in the last week or so — and this started right even on election night — was that return to the democratic norm of conceding an election. So we know that the candidates on both sides of the aisles, some incumbents, some new to the political sphere, took it upon themselves to do what was right, what is civil, and concede a race where they fell short.

    And that might seem like a small thing, but we know, after the 2020 election, how important it is for voters and for the public to hear that message, so that we can start to heal and move forward together.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    I want to ask you about Arizona, where there's still a major race for governor there that has not yet been called. It is too close to call.

    The counting does continue in that race there between the Democrat Katie Hobbs, secretary of state, and the Republican Kari Lake, as you can see, in the numbers, tied at 50/50. And I said the counting continues, about 93 percent of the expected vote in so far.

    We know Kari Lake has fueled doubts and denied the results of the 2020 election. And now we have seen former President Trump coming out and starting to ignite more concerns about those election results, saying that Kari Lake is being slowly and systematically having the election taken from her. He says it's an American disaster.

    Are you worried that Kari Lake may not concede if she does end up losing?

  • Tammy Patrick:

    It's important for viewers to understand that the concession really has no legal meaning, but what it does is, it means a lot to the voters and it means a lot to the public to hear their candidate acknowledge that they lost fair and square.

    And it's also important to know that there are still ballots being counted in almost every state in the country. And this is not an anomaly in any way, shape or form for there to be post-election processing and counting of ballots all across the country.

    So, when the canvass of the election is complete and we have our official results, there will be instances where the candidates will not concede. If Ms. Lake does not concede in this race, I think that there will be some who will see that as a call to action. I think there will be some who, even if she would concede, would not believe her or would think that the election was in some way, shape or form illegitimate.

    But it's so important for everyone to understand that, in Arizona, you can watch the tabulation process online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from the point in time when they start counting ballots until the very last ballot is counted. It's been that way for decades.

    They have a hand-count audit to make sure that the machines are, in fact, counting accurately. It's been that way for decades. They test the equipment before the election and after the election. It's been that way for decades.

    All of the best practices around how we conduct our elections, so we can have confidence in them, so we can believe in the outcome, are the type of efforts that were happening when I started there in Maricopa County in 2003 and the things, the sorts of things that they continue to do today.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    I'm so glad you mentioned that. We should take a moment to shout out all of those election workers who continue to count those ballots carefully and have been for the last week.

    Tammy Patrick of the nonpartisan Democracy Fund joining us tonight, thank you so much for your time.

  • Tammy Patrick:

    Thank you.

    And thank you for thanking those election officials, because it literally takes tens of thousands of our fellow citizens to conduct an election, and many of them are still hard at work.

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