Right-wing commentator and California governor recall candidate Larry Elder has been trying to appeal to right-wingers by backtracking on his recent statement that President Joe Biden fairly won the election. In media commentary prior to his run, Elder repeatedly entertained the notion that Dominion Voting Systems interfered with the election and told a caller that he “wouldn’t put it past” the company to rig the California tally.
Elder is the leading recall candidate in California’s September 14 vote. He is a right-wing radio host who has a long history of making incendiary and toxic remarks. Media Matters reported last week that he endorsed pregnancy discrimination in his books.
Right-wing media and politicians have been beholden to former President Donald Trump and his false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him. That dynamic has also become an issue in Elder’s race.
Elder initially told reporters that Biden had won the election “fairly and squarely” but has since backtracked after receiving criticism from people like right-wing commentator and former Trump aide Jenna Ellis. He later tweeted: “Do I believe there were shenanigans in the 2020 presidential election? Yes. But it’s time to focus on retaking the White House in 2024.” He also said of his initial remarks: “Do I believe that Joe Biden won the 2020 election fair and square? Give me a mulligan on that one. … No, I don’t.”
The Sacramento Bee recently reported that the 2020 election conspiracy theory has spread to the recall, writing that “Sacramento County elections officials said Friday they have been swamped with calls from people concerned that two Dominion Voting Systems employees are on the county payroll, a claim the county says flat-out is a ‘lie.’”
Prior to his run, Elder entertained and helped promote conspiracy theories about Dominion Voting Systems. Right-wing figures, including MyPillow founder Mike Lindell, have falsely cast the company as one of the main culprits behind the supposed stealing of the election.
On November 30, Elder tweeted out a Washington Times article with the headline “Dominion software manipulated votes — 289K in Michigan, 96K in Georgia, lawsuits claim.” The lawsuit was filed by conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell. Dominion did not manipulate votes.
On December 2, he promoted a piece on The Jewish Voice which inaccurately claimed, “An investigation into SEC filings has revealed that the firm which owns Dominion Voting Systems received $400 million dollars from a Swiss bank with close links to the Chinese government less than a month before the election, according to Gateway Pundit and also reported by Summit News.” That claim is false.
On January 20 -- Inauguration Day -- Elder hosted Lindell and gave him a forum to push his conspiracy theories about Dominion. During the interview, Lindell told Dominion to sue him for defamation (the company did) and said that the company changed the “real vote total" showing Trump actually won. While Elder at one point played “devil’s advocate” in asking Lindell questions, he concluded the segment by telling his show’s financial supporter: “If you continue making the statement that you're making and if Dominion is serious, you're going to be facing a defamation lawsuit and all the information on both sides will have to come out because truth is a complete defense.”
During his show on July 12, a caller said that Elder has his “support 100 percent. Just make sure they don't use the Dominion machines when they tally all that stuff up.” Elder laughed and said: “I wouldn't put it past them.”
LARRY ELDER: Paul is in Riverside, California. Paul, you're on The Larry Elder Show.
PAUL: Hey, Larry. How you doing?
ELDER: I'm doing great, Paul.
PAUL: I'm so excited. I hope you run, Larry. I mean this sincerely. You'd be the best option for the state and you got my support 100 percent. Just make sure they don't use the Dominion machines when they tally all that stuff up.
ELDER: [LAUGHS] I wouldn't put them past it. I wouldn't put it past them, Paul.
PAUL: Oh man. And make -- better beef up your security too, Larry. I'm serious, dude.
That interaction about Dominion between Elder and the caller came immediately after Elder read a promo for MyPillow.