Republican Clark County Commission candidate Drew Johnson on Wednesday conceded his 336-vote defeat in a race against incumbent Justin Jones.
Johnson said he was not requesting a recount and placed blame on the Republican Party for spreading election fraud misinformation. He also threatened to file a defamation lawsuit against Jones “in the days ahead.”
The Nevada Supreme Court certified the election on Tuesday, and candidates had until Wednesday to request a recount.
The conservative policy analyst noted in a news release that several partisan elections won by Democrats in Clark County came within 1,500 votes.
Johnson himself had taken about a 2,500-vote lead on election night before the tabulation of mail-in ballots flipped the race.
“These facts may lead some to wonder if voter fraud impacted my race and if the election was stolen,” he wrote, “The answer is ‘Yes, but not like some people think.’”
He said that thousands of registered Republicans, who could’ve swayed the races, did not vote because they opted out of mail-in ballots and later were deterred to vote in person on Election Days due to cold weather and long lines.
“Many of these Republicans didn’t vote because people in our party’s leadership, other GOP candidates, and respected grassroots conservative activists led them to believe the election was rigged,” he wrote.
The first-time candidate added: “So, yes, my election was stolen — the threat of fraud caused us as Republicans to rig the election against ourselves,” adding that closed races could’ve been won “if more registered Republicans simply filled in a few bubbles on a ballot and walked to their mailboxes.”
Johnson, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Research and a columnist, went on to call Jones “a corrupt liar who embarrassed himself with a deceitful campaign.”
In the run up to the District F election, Johnson filed a complaint with the secretary of state alleging that Jones’ campaign had sent out deceitful flyers with false citations that suggested Johnson said things he had not.
Jones in a statement Wednesday thanked his constituents and vowed to “help make Clark County a better place to live, work and raisee a family…” but did not address the possible defamation lawsuit.
“His claims are so profound as to be libelous, even given the high bar of libel for a public figure,” the complaint said. “In this environment of division, distrust, and mistruths, I sought to be a positive, healing force by avoiding dirty politics and negative campaigning. I will now work within the legal system to make sure no candidate, regardless of party, ever has to unfairly endure the reckless falsehoods and bogus attacks I faced over the past few months.”
Johnson on Wednesday implored Republicans to vote in future elections.
“We have hundreds of well-trained Republican poll watchers, poll workers, and election attorneys who worked tirelessly to ensure votes were counted and the election was fair,” he said. “At this point, the only way your vote won’t count is if you don’t vote.”