Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe spent years accusing Republicans and the Supreme Court of stealing the 2000 election—behavior he now says makes "our democracy look bad around the globe."
During a private Monday fundraiser, McAuliffe told donors he is "so tired" of those who question President Joe Biden's electoral win, saying the claims are "hurting our country" and "hurting those young men and women in uniform." Within hours of taking over the Democratic National Committee in 2001, however, McAuliffe embraced a conspiracy theory that former president George W. Bush's 2000 election win was stolen, a claim he continued to make for at least three years.
McAuliffe went on Meet the Press to defend his claim that the Supreme Court "tampered" with the election, saying he had to start his tenure as DNC chair "with a bang." McAuliffe's stolen election claims continued through at least 2004, when he said Democrats "actually won the last presidential election."
"Don't tell me that every vote doesn't count," McAuliffe said at a grassroots training event. "We actually won the last presidential election, folks. They stole the last presidential election."
McAuliffe's denialist rhetoric stands in contrast to GOP opponent Glenn Youngkin, who in May said Biden was "legitimately elected our president." The Democrat is now accusing Youngkin of "promoting Trump's dangerous lies" by attacking the Republican's "Election Integrity Task Force," which aims to "establish a politically independent and transparent Virginia Department of Elections" and "strengthen Virginia's voter identification in all methods of voting."
The McAuliffe campaign did not return a request for comment on whether the Democrat still believes Republicans "stole" the 2000 election.
McAuliffe has also sent at least five fundraising emails written by failed Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Abrams has refused to call Republican governor Brian Kemp "legitimate" and said as recently as April 2021 that the election was "stolen from the voters of Georgia."
"Yes or no, do you still maintain the 2018 election was stolen? That's your language," Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) asked Abrams in April.
"My full language was that it was stolen from the voters of Georgia," Abrams responded. "We do not know what they would have done because not every eligible Georgian was permitted to participate fully in the election."