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Election-Denying Republican Candidates Underperformed in the 2022 Midterms

We combine newly collected election data with records of public denials of the results of the 2020 election to estimate the degree to which election-denying Republican candidates for senator, governor, secretary of state, and attorney general over- or under-performed other Republicans in 2022. We find that the average vote share of election-denying Republicans in statewide races was approximately 2.3 percentage points lower than their co-partisans after accounting for statelevel partisanship. Election-denying candidates received roughly 2 percentage-points more vote share than other Republican candidates in primaries, on average, although this estimate is quite uncertain. The general-election penalty is larger than the margin of victory in battleground states in recent close presidential elections, suggesting that nominating election-denying candidates in 2024 could be a damaging electoral strategy for Republicans. At the same time, it is small enough to suggest that only a relatively small group of voters changed their vote in response to having an election-denying candidate on the ballot.

Janet Malzahn
Andrew B. Hall
Publication Date
February, 2023