Despite the overwhelming scale of former president Donald Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night, some of Trump’s most ardent supporters have already claimed that the vote was rigged because he lost one single county.
“After it was reported that President Trump won every county in Iowa tonight, Democrat shenanigans ensued and now it’s being reported that Johnson County in Iowa, which is a Biden +40 county, flipped to Nikki Haley by ONE VOTE,” Laura Loomer, a far-right activist who has been embraced by Trump, posted on X in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Other Trump supporters on far-right online platforms also claimed electoral conspiracies, even though Trump won 51 percent of the vote in Iowa, with Florida governor Ron DeSantis a distant second at 21 percent and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley in third place at 19 percent, according to results shared by the Iowa Republican Party and AP’s election tracker.
“We need a recount in Johnson County RIGHT NOW!” an X account named Red Eagle Politics wrote.
On Trump’s own platform Truth Social, Seth Keshel, a retired US army captain who has become a leading voice in the election denial movement in recent years, wrote: “Haley by one vote in Johnson County screws my prediction of 99/99 to Trump. Audit!”
Some of Keshel’s followers claimed those who voted for Haley had been “paid” to vote against Trump, but provided no evidence to back up this claim.
On pro-Trump message board The Donald, where a lot of the online organizing of the January 6 riot took place, users took issue with Haley’s Monday night claim that Iowa voters made the presidential election a “two-person race.”
“They rigged that county by a single vote just so she could say this,” one user wrote.
Others said the one vote loss was the work of the so-called deep state. “To win by ONE vote is just too conspicuous,” a user wrote. “It looks like a ‘Fuck You’ from the Deep State.” Responses in the same thread urged Trump to call for a recount in order to “trigger” his opponents.
Some Trump supporters also claimed that tens of thousands of Democrats were being paid to switch allegiances for the caucus and vote for Haley.
“The Iowa Democratic party has reportedly pushed for and paid TENS OF THOUSANDS of its registered voters to temporarily switch their party registration from Democrat to Republican so they can caucus for Nikki Haley,” Joshua Hall, who was once convicted of threatening to kill Democratic congressperson Eric Swalwell, posted on X.
While there was no evidence anyone was paid to vote, CBS reported that in at least some Johnson County precincts, election officials ran out of forms printed to allow people to switch party affiliations on the night.
As has been the case since the first false claims of a stolen election emerged in the wake of Trump’s loss in 2020, none of those claiming wrongdoing on Monday night provided any proof to back up their claims. With a long primary season now underway, those peddling lies about election integrity are just getting started.