Dean Heller, a GOP candidate who is running in Nevada’s gubernatorial race, refused to acknowledge that President Joe Biden is, in fact, the president, a sign that the Republican Party refuses to let the “Big Lie” of election fraud go.
“I still know who the president is, but I do believe we have a problem with elections,” Heller said in an interview at the Washoe County Republican headquarters.
Heller also declined to acknowledge former President Donald Trump’s role in stirring his supporters to attack the United States Capitol on January 6, saying he doesn’t blame Trump for the event.
“I think what was wrong was obviously when they went into the Capitol building,” he said. “They made those decisions on their own. I do not blame the president. I’ve seen the videos. I’ve seen what he said during the rallies, during the protests. And I think that there’s no way in my opinion that he was responsible for the actions of these individuals of going inside that Capitol building and doing what they did.”
Heller made his remarks despite the fact that Trump was impeached for inciting an insurrection against Congress and continues to face lawsuits from individuals, including lawmakers, who were affected by the attack, which took place on the false premise that the election was stolen.
Despite the lack of evidence that the 2020 general election was fraudulent, Heller insisted that election integrity is a bipartisan concern, drawing a false equivalency Democratic protests over alleged Russian election meddling and collusion in 2016 with Republican accusations of election fraud.
“We’re talking about changing the outcome of an election. We’re talking about changing by manipulating the process,” he said. “So both sides thought that their candidate had won. That was my point, that election fraud is a bipartisan issue. Both sides are concerned about their candidates and the outcome of these elections. And that’s my point, Whether it’s Russian collusion or its ballot harvesting, it does change the results of elections if it is abused.”
Heller insisted that “the last time Nevada had a safe, secure election” was during his tenure as Secretary of State between 1995 and 2007.
Heller previously served in the United States Senate but failed to win re-election in 2018 after serving a complete six-year term.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.