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Top Missouri Republicans to skip election fraud rally in Capitol
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Top Missouri Republicans to skip election fraud rally in Capitol

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JEFFERSON CITY — Top Missouri Republicans will be no-shows at a Thursday rally in the state Capitol featuring one of the purveyors of the “big lie.”

Aides to Gov. Mike Parson, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe and Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick all said they would not be at the event featuring Douglas Frank, a high school math teacher who has become a prominent figure among supporters of former President Donald Trump in repeating baseless claims of election fraud.

Frank was invited to the capital city for a Wednesday dinner and the Thursday rally by Rep. Ann Kelley, R-Lamar.

Kelley has been active among those who continue to believe Trump won. In August, she attended a conference in South Dakota hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump supporter who also has repeated false claims that voting machines were hacked to flip votes for Trump to President Joe Biden in 2020.

Kelley earlier said she had 175 RSVPs for the dinner, but was not sure how many people would attend Thursday’s rally in the Capitol rotunda.

The statewide elected officials say they won’t be among those in attendance.

“At this time, Governor Parson has other commitments scheduled,” said spokeswoman Kelli Jones.

Among those commitments is a prayer breakfast that morning.

Ashcroft spokesman JoDonn Chaney said the secretary “has nothing scheduled and does not plan to attend any events in the rotunda … concerning election integrity.”

Schmitt has a court case before the U.S. Supreme Court this week centering on fighting a federal order that health care workers receive vaccines.

“(W)e’re focused on preparing for that case to deliver an important win on behalf of Missourians and Americans,” said attorney general spokesman Chris Nuelle.

Similarly, Fitzpatrick spokeswoman Mary Compton said the event is not on the treasurer’s schedule.

And, Kehoe spokeswoman Halie Dampf said the lieutenant governor is not attending.

Frank, who is from Ohio, claims to have discovered secret algorithms that were used to rig the 2020 election in favor of Biden.

Kelley said she hopes the rally will raise awareness about election fraud. She also wants rally attendees to convince Schmitt to press harder to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to decertify an election that was settled more than a year ago.

Lindell is pressing for GOP attorneys general to join a lawsuit asking the high court to nullify the 2020 results in key states, but none have publicly signed on.

Frank’s presence in Missouri comes after Ashcroft has repeatedly said the 2020 election in the state was unmarked by fraud.

Ashcroft has spoken with Frank in recent months, but Chaney said he was not aware of the details of the conversation.

The visit comes as Missouri lawmakers are expected to again take up election legislation that mirrors some of the talking points made by Trump supporters in the wake of his loss.

Kelley is among a handful of lawmakers who have introduced legislation creating an “election integrity committee” to conduct post-election audits.

Similar audits conducted after the 2020 election have found no evidence of fraud that could have altered the outcome of the vote.

Originally posted at 11:50 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Post-Dispatch columnists Aisha Sultan and Tony Messenger discuss the year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol.

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