Updated: Oct 20
Republican candidate for South Dakota Secretary of State repeatedly refuses to acknowledge legitimacy of 2020 presidential election in televised news interview
KELOLAND News reporters Dan Santella and Eric Mayer sat down this week with both candidates for South Dakota Secretary of State for on-camera interviews. At the top of his list of questions: Do you acknowledge that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election?
Democrat Tom Cool, a retired nonprofit executive director with a long history of political involvement in the state, answered without hesitation: "Absolutely," Cool said. "Sixty-plus court cases have indicated that."
“And our own congressional delegation has acknowledged that Joe Biden won the last election … There are no cases of mass voter fraud anywhere that have been proven anywhere.”
GOP candidate tries to dodge the question
Johnson is a far-right extremist who unseated current moderate GOP Secretary of State Steve Barnett at the party's state convention with "election integrity" Big Lie dogwhistle appeals to delegates. When Santella put the question of the legitimacy of the 2020 election to Johnson, she tried to pivot to other issues. Santella didn't let her squirm out of answering:
Dan Santella: So there’s no ambiguity: you acknowledge that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election? Monae Johnson: I’m not an election denier, I just, I want to move on. There’s other groups that are looking into that, and, but see the Secretary of State’s office does elections, but they also do business filings, so there’s so many more things that we need to look at. Dan Santella: Right, right. So, Biden won the 2020 presidential election, legitimately? Monae Johnson: I know you want me to answer that, but he’s our president right now. Dan Santella: Okay. Do you acknowledge that he legitimately won in 2020? Monae Johnson: I don’t want to be an election denier, but I wasn’t behind the scenes, I wasn’t in the office at the time, so. Dan Santella: Okay. I wanted to give you an opportunity to acknowledge that, if you’d like, that he did win. Do you acknowledge that? Monae Johnson: I’m not going to acknowledge that, so, thank you.
Read the full story and watch the interview segment as broadcast by KELOLAND News on October 18, 2022.