EVERETT — As President-elect Joe Biden forges ahead with planning his transition to power, many Republican leaders in Snohomish County continue to insist the outcome of the contest for the White House is not decided.
“We are going to stand by the president. We will wait until all the legal ballots are counted,” said Debra Blodgett, chairwoman of the Snohomish County Republican Party. “We believe there are definitely some shenanigans going on. We just want to see the outcome that is the truth.”
President Donald Trump won’t concede, though national news organizations declared Biden the winner Saturday after the former vice president was projected to be the winner of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. As of Wednesday, Biden had received 77 million votes nationwide to Trump’s 72 million.
Trump has filed legal challenges of election results in several states. The lawsuits, most of which have been unsuccessful so far, allege voter fraud or irregularities in some states’ conduct of elections.
Local GOP leaders say it is premature to expect 72 million people to fall in line with so many ballots left to tally across the country and a hand recount looming in Georgia. The outcome will be known, they said, when each state certifies its election results and the Electoral College acts Dec. 14.
“At this point the media has called the election. We don’t believe anything the press says any more,” said Doug Roulstone, vice chairman of the county Republican Party who helped steer the Trump campaign in Snohomish County. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
State Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, said he has “very little faith we’ll get a correct vote count and outcome. All the errors I’m seeing favor Democratic candidates. All the errors are occurring in Democratic cities. It looks like the Democrats are cheating.
“I want to see every legal vote counted. I will accept either (candidate) if it is a fair election,” Sutherland continued. “I am not at all convinced this is a fair election. I am not sure we can find out the true outcome.”
This is a message actively pushed by leaders of Snohomish County’s Grand Old Party in the hours and days since the Nov. 3 election.
They organized a “Stop the Steal” protest at the Capitol in Olympia on Sunday, which drew a couple hundred people. Speakers addressed the legal fights and reports of electoral mischief. Some also derided the political agendas they anticipate will be pursued by Democratic majorities in Olympia and by a Democratic president.
There is a “fear of where we might possibly go with this Democratic socialist party,” Blodgett said.
Meanwhile, on social media, Facebook affixed cautionary labels on a pair of post-election posts by the organization. Each involved a shared video that dealt with discussions of potential electoral wrongdoing. Facebook asserted that one lacked context and the other had “partly false information.”
“That’s just Facebook censoring Republicans,” Blodgett said.
Ballot counting is not the only thing on Republican minds. It’s also important, they say, to get some resolution of lawsuits and clarity of investigations.
Biden “may well win in the end,” said state Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley. “The process has not played out.”
Wagoner didn’t assert that the election was stolen, but, he said, “whether real or perceived, there’s mistrust in the voting system for the state and the nation” that makes it difficult for Republicans to accept the outcome.
”I want every legitimate vote counted and will accept the results when they are,” he said. “I would be thrilled if it would be Donald Trump.”
Republican Snohomish County Councilman Sam Low of Lake Stevens, a member of the county party’s executive board, said he’ll recognize the presidential winner — when that person is chosen by the Electoral College next month.
“I think they both declared victory,” he said, referring to declarations by Trump on Election Night and Biden on Nov. 7. “When each state has certified their election and we have all of the votes assembled, I won’t have a problem with the final result.”
For state Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan, the election is decided, and Biden won.
She knows that puts her at odds with her legislative colleagues and many fellow Republicans.
“I just think it is time to move on,” she said. “We have lots of issues to work on in the next four years. Right now we need to stake out our positions and make sure our voice is loud.”