By Lucy Perkins, Chris Potter
May 25, 2021
Republican Sean Parnell hopes to win the U.S. Senate race in 2022, but it’s not clear whether he believes Pennsylvanians should trust the outcome of the last major election. Just a few weeks after saying he didn’t want to relitigate past results, he said on a conservative podcast that he supported a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.
When Parnell announced his Senate campaign, he was asked by reporters if he believed the 2020 election was stolen, and said he didn’t “want to relitigate 2020. We did everything we could, we fought our hearts out, and at the end of the day, Joe Biden’s sitting in the White House. So right now I’m laser-focused on winning Pennsylvania in 2022.”
But less than two weeks later, Parnell was a guest on Steve Bannon’s podcast, where he spoke warmly of a controversial Republican-driven review of ballots in Arizona, and backed a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.
“Absolutely I’d support that,” he said on the May 21 episode of “Bannon’s War Room.” “I would have supported a forensic audit – in fact I would have welcomed it – after President Trump won in 2016. And I would support an audit after Joe Biden. … [T]his is about people trusting in the results of an election. And if an audit, a forensic audit after 2016 could have prevented this country from having to go through four years of a Russia hoax spent with taxpayer dollars, I would have welcomed an audit then and I welcome one now.”
There is no evidence of any widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the Arizona audit has been denounced even by some Republicans. It is also not clear how an audit of 2016 would have precluded investigations into Russian influence, which focused on attempts to shape public opinion through hacking Democratic Party computers and other efforts.