Brian Howey: Diego Morales, Destiny Wells and Judge Luttig
Brian Howey | Howey Politics Indiana
Jun 24, 2022
Two days before the Indiana Republican Convention gathered, we heard conservative retired federal Judge J. Michael Luttig tell the U.S. House Jan. 6 Select Committee what would have happened if Vice President Mike Pence had done President Trump’s bidding in overturning the 2020 election. It would have been a “revolution within a constitutional crisis.”
Three days after Hoosier Republicans convened, we heard Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers recall the pressure from Rudy Giuliani to throw out the people’s will and, instead, opt for illegal “contingent electors” to reinstall Trump despite losing the popular vote to Joe Biden by 7 million, as well as the Electoral College 306-232. Bowers said Giuliani told him, “We’ve got lots of theories; we just don’t have the evidence.”
And Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger described the soundbite of the century from Trump (“I just want to find 11,780 votes” and “give me a break”) and Trump’s twisted description of non-existent fraud and 5,000 dead people voting. The actual number was four, Raffensperger said. “That’s one, two, three, four people — not 4,000. But just a total of four, not 10,000, not 5,000.”
Last Saturday, Hoosier Republicans voted on a second ballot to nominate Diego Morales over incumbent Secretary Holli Sullivan. There had been an Associated Press report in which he had referred to the 2020 presidential election as a “scam.” The Morales campaign texted this, “I proudly voted for Trump twice, but Joe Biden was elected president in 2020 and legitimately occupies that office today. There were a number of irregularities in that election. Those kinds of actions are unacceptable."
But in a March 8 article appearing on the website “Hoosier State Today,” Morales describes “deep skepticism regarding the accuracy of the 2020 presidential election. Let me make my own position on 2020 crystal clear: The 2020 election was flawed and the outcome is questionable.”
Morales continues: “America First patriots remain committed, because it is the wound that will not heal until it is honestly addressed. Electing the right secretaries of state in every state of our union now represents a more important task than ever, as the stewards of our elections.”
Morales' Democratic opponent, Destiny Wells, said on Tuesday, “He’s saying he was misquoted in calling it a scam. I have the article printed where it was written by him. Diego wrote it. How is it that Diego misquoted himself?”
Wells added, “He is a part of the America First coalition of secretaries of state who have other agendas. That means he’s part of that pack, that he’s beholden to the notion that the election was stolen. I know he’s walking that back right now.”
Asked what his victory over Sullivan meant, Morales answered, “I will say one word: Praise the Lord.” Morales, who accused Gov. Eric Holcomb of “abusing his power” during the COVID-19 pandemic, added, “The vision today is to keep that American dream alive. We must secure our elections ... so we can increase voter confidence.”
Morales vowed to purge voter rolls, limit absentee ballots and allow voting only on Election Day. “No one in Indiana cemeteries will be allowed to vote,” Morales told GOP delegates. The problem with that is there is no evidence of dead Hoosiers voting.
"On Sunday, I was getting calls from Republicans," Wells said on Tuesday. "I mean, I’m from Martinsville. I am the black sheep of the family. I do not like it when people vilify Republicans. That’s my family, that’s my hometown, that’s my best friend, who is treasurer on my campaign and is a Republican. I told her, ‘If you don’t have a party, come and hang out with us for the year’ and she obliged. I know I’m going to have Republicans voting for me.”
While Indiana isn't a swing state and will almost certainly vote for a Republican presidential nominee in 2024, the notion of installing an election denier as the state's top elections official is a dicey proposition.
Now, if you’re a Hoosier Republican, this is probably the biggest takeaway from Tuesday’s Jan. 6 hearing: Raffensperger was asked why Donald Trump lost Georgia.
“I’ve been traveling through the state of Georgia for a year now, and simply put, in a nutshell, what happened in fall of 2020 is that 28,000 Georgians skipped the presidential race, and yet they voted down-ballot in other races,” Raffensperger said. “And the Republican congressman ended up getting 33,000 more votes than President Trump, and that’s why President Trump came up short.”
Judge Luttig parted with this chilling warning: “Donald Trump and his allies and supporters are a clear and present danger to American democracy. They would attempt to overturn that 2024 election in the same way that they attempted to overturn the 2020 election, but succeed in 2024 where they failed in 2020. I don’t speak those words lightly. I would have never spoken those words ever in my life, except that that’s what the former president and his allies are telling us.”
This is not a conspiracy cloaked in secret meetings in shadowy Washington alcoves. It was brazenly performed in plain sight, and it continues to this very day ... even here in Indiana.
Brian A. Howey is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find him on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.