Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe, who repeatedly claimed Republicans "stole" the White House in 2000, tapped fellow election denier Stacey Abrams to accuse his opponent of working to overthrow American democracy.
McAuliffe on Thursday used Abrams, a failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate, to accuse Glenn Youngkin of "willfully participating in the subversion of our democracy" after the Republican called for voting machine audits. Both McAuliffe and Abrams, however, pushed "stolen" election rhetoric in the absence of evidence.
As Democratic National Committee chair, McAuliffe spent years accusing both Republicans and the Supreme Court of stealing the 2000 election. During a 2004 campaign event, he said Democrats "actually won the last presidential election," as Republicans "stole" it. McAuliffe on Thursday defended his past claims, citing "legitimate complaints that went all the way up to the United States Supreme Court" in 2000.
Abrams, meanwhile, refused to concede after her 2018 loss to Georgia governor Brian Kemp (R.) and said just months ago the race "was stolen from the voters of Georgia." The Democrat's PAC, Fair Fight Action, also claimed without evidence that Georgia's voting machines "erased 100,000 votes in '18."
The conspiratorial rhetoric of McAuliffe and Abrams stands in contrast to Youngkin, who has repeatedly called President Joe Biden's election "legitimate" and said he would have voted to certify the 2020 election. Still, McAuliffe has attacked Youngkin's push to achieve "election integrity" as "disqualifying," accusing the Republican of "promoting Trump's dangerous lies."
Neither McAuliffe nor Abrams returned requests for comment.
While Democrats have looked to use Youngkin's "Election Integrity Task Force" to tie the Republican to Donald Trump, Abrams and her allies' election conspiracies closely resemble the former president's claims of voter fraud.
An Abrams-backed "government transparency" group, for example, called Georgia's Dominion Voting Systems machines "unauditable and unconstitutional" in 2019. The group, Coalition for Good Governance, has since claimed in legal filings that there were "serious problems with the Dominion voting system" in the 2020 election. Dominion has sued a number of prominent Trump supporters for making similar claims.
Despite McAuliffe's 2000 "stolen election" rhetoric, the Democrat has since said he is "so tired" of those who question Biden's win, adding that the claims "make our democracy look bad around the globe" and hurt "those young men and women in uniform."
McAuliffe's claim that Youngkin is working to "subvert democracy" stems from a video produced by American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal super PAC founded by left-wing hitman David Brock. Brock in September used his "pseudo-news outlet" to bombard voters with unsolicited mailers that employ debunked claims to attack Youngkin.
While Biden won Virginia by double digits in November, McAuliffe has struggled to pull away from Youngkin in his bid to secure a second term in the Governor's Mansion. An October Emerson poll found Youngkin trails McAuliffe by just 1 point and leads the Democrat among Hispanic voters.