Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) announced she would challenge U.S. Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving). Her campaign launch video centers around her participation in the current House Democrats’ quorum break.

Beckley is serving her second term in the House. She is the second major Democrat to enter the race, joining Carrollton tax attorney Derrik Gay. Carrollton resident David Walsh has also established a campaign committee to seek the Democratic nomination.

CD6 special: Early voting continues through Friday for the July 27 special runoff election. In-person early voting ticked upward in Tarrant Co., bringing the two-day total of in-person and absentee voters to nearly 5,500 (1.6% of registered voters). In-person voting also increased in Ellis Co., putting two-day total of in-person and absentee voters to just over 2,400 (2% of registered voters). Totals for Navarro Co. were not available.

Arlington Mayor Jim Ross endosed Susan Wright (R). The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reiterated its endorsement of Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie).

‘Forensic Audit’ Bill: Despite no credible evidence of large-scale fraud in the state’s elections, several House members at least one gubernatorial candidate are seeking a “forensic audit” of the state’s election results. House Bill 241 by Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) would require the appointment of “an independent third party to conduct a forensic audit” of the 2020 general election results in the 13 counties with a population of 415K or more. President Joe Biden won 10 of those 13 counties. This entity would submit a report by March 1 – just days before the primary election – “detailing any anomalies or discrepancies in voter data, ballot data or tabulation.” This entity would be appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) and Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont).

The two-page bill does not define the qualifications of the third party, establish procedures for its review process, describes the “forensic” aspects of the audit, provide for access to its work, determine its cost or otherwise describe how it details any “anomalies” it may find. Among its 15 joint and co-authors is Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park), who chairs the Elections Committee. Former Sen. Don Huffines (R-Dallas), who is challenging Abbott, said in a statement that “Texans deserve to have confidence in their elections.” Huffines said without citing evidence that “voters’ confidence in elections is at an all-time low.”

If voters’ confidence is indeed low, it is likely because the false narrative of a “rigged and stolen” election continues to spread among those whose preferred presidential candidate lost the election. To this date, former President Trump has refused to concede his election loss, and he repeated baseless claims of fraud as recently as last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. Cain, in a since deleted tweet with the hashtag #lawyersfortrump, said he was flying to Philadelphia to “fight for a fair and honest election in Pennsylvania.”

Toth’s bill resembles a similar effort in Arizona, where Republican Senate leaders selected the small cybersecurity firm Cyber Ninjas to conduct a still incomplete and highly criticized “forensic audit” of Maricopa Co. (Phoenix) ballots. The Republican chair of the county’s Board of Supervisors said Cyber Ninjas were “portraying as suspicious what is actually normal and well known to people who work in elections.” In fact, the county is having to replace all of its voting equipment because of the potential that the third-party “auditors” tampered with them.

“Calling what has happened under the Senate contractor in the Coliseum an ‘audit’ insults the voters’ intelligence and fuels the imaginations of those who wish to tear our democracy apart,” Sellers said in a statement. Arizona Senate leaders “decided to hire uncertified novices to inspect expensive voting equipment … The contractor for the Senate ‘audit’ is also a known election conspiracy theorist.”

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