But that did not stop Webber, a 33-year-old movie producer, from questioning the results in California’s 37th District in the House.
“I’m going to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office in Norwalk today to audit the vote counting procedures,” he wrote Monday. “I will NOT concede. Every LEGAL vote needs to be counted!”
It has become a familiar cry among losing GOP candidates in recent days, including from inside the White House. As President Trump makes unfounded allegations of voting fraud and demands a recount in the presidential election, his rhetoric and unwillingness to concede seem to be trickling down the ballot.
Despite having lost to their Democratic opponents by decisive margins last week, Webber and a few other Republican congressional candidates — all fervent Trump supporters — have followed his lead, refusing to concede and making their own baseless claims about the election.
While several top Republicans have backed Trump’s efforts to contest his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, these candidates appear to be applying the president’s approach to their own Senate and House races.
In Maryland, House candidate Kimberly Klacik (R) declared Sunday her campaign would “investigate” the results of her race against Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.), in which the incumbent trounced her by more than 40 points.
It was unclear how she would probe the results, and neither Klacik nor her campaign manager immediately responded to a request for comment from The Washington Post.
Mfume had already defeated Klacik in an April special election following the death of Elijah E. Cummings, who previously held the Baltimore-area seat. But after Trump shared one of her provocative campaign ads on Twitter, the Republican’s fame and funds both surged earlier this year, The Post’s Meagan Flynn reported, earning her a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August.
Still, she appeared to fare only slightly better in a rematch against Mfume last week. With an estimated 81 percent of votes counted, Klacik had claimed just over one-quarter, and according to the Baltimore Sun, was trailing him in returns for both mail-in and in-person voting on Election Day.
During the weekend, however, she made false claims about those results — with no evidence to back them up.
“I beat my opponent on day of & in-person early voting, along with absentee. However, 97k mail in ballots were found in his favor?” she wrote Sunday, retweeting a post from Trump making baseless claims of a “stolen election.”
Like Klacik, Republican Senate candidate John James, a 39-year-old businessman, has refused to concede in his Michigan race against Sen. Gary Peters (D).
The heated contest was too close to call on Election Day. But by the evening of Nov. 4, Peters was winning by a sufficiently wide margin that the Associated Press called the race shortly after 9 p.m. As of early Tuesday, Peters maintained a lead of about 1.5 percent, or about 87,000 votes.
James said he would accept the final results “and the will of the people” once all ballots have been counted. But he also had “deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat,” his campaign said in a statement Thursday that offered no evidence of such allegations.
The candidate’s lawyer sent a letter to election officials in Detroit alleging problems with the vote count, WKAR reported, and state and national Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, amplified similar claims.
Last week, she alleged Republican poll watchers at the city’s vote-counting site were being forced to stand so far back they could not monitor the ballot-tallying activities. (GOP lawsuits making similar claims in Michigan have been dismissed so far, though a third allegation with six signed affidavits was filed Monday.)
As the nonprofit news outlet Michigan Advance noted, James’s advisers, including Republican operative Stu Sandler, have also spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud at the Detroit facility.
“The idea that ballots miraculously showed up at … 3:30am is voodoo,” Sandler wrote in a since-deleted tweet that had been flagged by Twitter, according to the Advance. “The tricks and shenanigans have to stop.”
While other James supporters have pointed out Peters took about three weeks to concede in his 2002 race for Michigan attorney general, that race was decided by about 5,200 votes, a much thinner margin.
Next to the well-funded Klacik and the nationally backed James, Webber’s refusal to accept defeat may be the most unlikely of all.
Originally from Jamaica, the film producer and frequent Trump rally attendee was running his first race for U.S. political office — though, as the Los Angeles Daily News reported, he had scant fundraising or campaign efforts.
One campaign video repeated several familiar GOP talking points: that his home state of California had been ruined by “vindictive Democrat politicians” and their “failed leftist policies,” and that his city of Los Angeles was an “American nightmare” rife with violence and homelessness.
Days after both he and Trump lost their elections, their Twitter feeds remained largely indistinguishable.
“We will take back this country from the frauds, the cheats and the liars!” Webber wrote Monday. “They will NOT get away with this!”