A U.S. Senate candidate who was one of 11 Arizona Republicans who signed a document falsely claiming he was authorized to cast the state’s electoral votes for President Donald Trump said in an interview that aired Sunday that the document was only a contingency plan.
Jim Lamon, who signed the document making the false claim on Dec. 14, 2020, said he understood he was only asserting himself as one of Arizona’s official electors in case the results were decertified.
“The Republican electors put forth a valid document that said, in the event that the election certification was overturned, there would be no excuse not to recognize those electors,” Lamon said during an interview that aired Sunday on KTVK-TV’s “Politics Unplugged” program.
The document Lamon signed contained no language that explained it was a backup plan.
Rather, the document described Lamon and the other 10 signees as the “duly elected and qualified electors” from Arizona.
They were not.
Joe Biden carried Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey certified the results in late November. Eleven Democrats met on Dec. 14, 2020, at the Phoenix Convention Center to sign the official Electoral College votes from Arizona that would be counted at a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
That same day, the 11 Republican electors, who were all listed on the 2020 ballot as those who would cast their vote for Trump should he win, met at the Arizona Republican Party headquarters.
Who was behind it?: A fake, pro-Trump slate of 2020 electors sent their votes to Congress.
That document was sent by registered mail to the U.S. Senate and the National Archives.
Lamon’s campaign did not return a request for an interview from the Republic sent Sunday night.
The document signed by the 11 Arizona Republicans was obtained by the progressive group American Oversight in March. The group also received, and posted on its website, documents from the six other states that created similar documents.
The issue received renewed interest after the website Politico reported in January that the documents were under investigation by a U.S. House Select Committee that was looking at the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion at the U.S. Capitol.
That committee on Friday sent subpoenas to the 14 people who signed the documents in seven states, listing themselves as their state’s chairperson or secretary. In Arizona, the chairperson was Nancy Cottle and the secretary was Loraine Pellegrino.
Subpoenaed by Congress: 2 Arizona Republicans who falsely claimed to be electors
The subpoena said that the scheme aimed to “delay or block” the certification of the Electoral College’s votes for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 6, 2021.
The subpoena referred to a memo written by an attorney for Trump that suggested that the existence of the competing slates could allow Vice President Mike Pence to not count any electors from those seven states. He could then, under the plan, declare Trump the winner based on the votes he counted. Or throw the issue back to the states, in the hopes governors would certify the Republican electors, the memo said.
Lamon, in the KTVK-TV interview, said that the document was “very straightforward, very simple.”
He said any suggestion that the document was fraudulent belonged not on a public affairs show, but a late-night comedy hour.
“This is a lot to do about not much,” Lamon said.
Lamon said that, under his understanding, the document would only have an effect after several events occurred, including Ducey deciding to decertify the results from Arizona. That might have occurred, he said, based on the findings of the review of ballots from Maricopa County that was ordered by the Arizona Senate.
Two of the seven documents, as obtained by American Oversight, contained language that specified they would only be valid in such an event that the official results were overturned. Arizona’s document did not contain any wiggle room. It flatly stated that the 11 represented the state’s vote in the Electoral College.
In a video posted the day after the Dec. 14, 2020, signing at the state Republican headquarters, the chairperson of the party, Kelli Ward, asserted the signees were Arizona’s “true” electors.
“We believe that we are the electors for the legally cast votes here in Arizona,” she said in the video.
Lamon, in Sunday’s KTVK-TV interview, said that the focus on the document was a gambit to avoid talking about more pressing issues, such as illegal immigration.
“This is a heck of a lot to do, from the left, about moving off of the real issues of this country,” he said. “Not some discussion about this document that was signed and would be signed again tomorrow.”
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: US Senate candidate Jim Lamon explains false Trump elector claim
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