There is no shortage of Republican congressional candidates in Central Florida who still believe that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election and the real winner, President Joe Biden, did not.

At a candidate’s forum held in Orlando, all candidates who appeared in two panels, running in Florida’s 7th, 9th and 10th Congressional Districts, were asked if they think Biden really won.

Thirteen of 15 Republicans taking part said no, they do not believe Biden won.

The only two Republican candidates who said they believed Biden was the rightful winner were CD 7 candidates Ted Edwards and Rusty Roberts.

Edwards is a former Orange County Commissioner with a long record as a staunch conservative, who is nonetheless breaking with the Republican Party line on a couple of key points in his 2022 campaign. He said, “Yes,” he believes Biden won.

Roberts was right-hand-man to the last Republican to represent most of CD 7, former Rep. John Mica. Roberts, most recently an executive with Brightline, had been Mica’s chief of staff for many years, and ran many of his 12 election campaigns. He also said “Yes.”

Republican CD 7 candidates Erica Benfield, Al Santos and Scott Sturgill; Republican CD 9 candidates Jose Castillo, Scotty Moore, Adianis Morales, and Sergio Ortiz; and Republican CD 10 candidates Lateresa Jones, Tuan Le, Thuy Lowe, Peter WeedCalvin Wimbish and Thuy Lowe all said “No,” they believe that Biden did not really win.

So did independent CD 10 candidate Usha Jain.

The revelations came in a “yes” or “no” question posed during two candidate forums hosted Thursday night in Orlando by the Orlando Sentinel, Spectrum News 13, and AARP. The questions were posed by moderators Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell and News 13 anchor Ybeth Bruzual.

The forums, which gathered 14 candidates for CD 10 in one discussion, then 13 candidates combined for CD 7 and CD 9 in the other, was not fully attended. Many of the leading candidates, including CD 9 incumbent Democratic Rep. Darren Soto, CD 10 Democratic candidate Sen. Randolph Bracy, and CD 7 Republican candidates Brady Duke, Cory Mills, and state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, were conspicuous by their absences.

CD 7 covers Seminole County and southern Volusia County. CD 9 covers Osceola County and parts of southern Orange County. CD 10 covers much of northern Orange County.

The overwhelming majority of Republicans who did attend the forum said they believe Biden did not really win the 2020 presidential election.

That came even after scores of investigations and audits in key swing states, most led by state Republicans, found no evidence of significant voter fraud, and even after scores. of court challenges by Trump found the same.

The Republican candidates in Central Florida said so even after the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol held a series of nationally televised hearings this summer that included interview of top lawyers, including former Attorney General William Barr, and key staff members within the White House who all said there was no evidence to support Trump’s claim that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him.

All of the Democrats said “Yes,” they believe Biden was the real winner of the 2020 presidential election.

They included CD 7 Democrats Tatiana Fernandez, Al Krulick, Allek Pastrana; and CD 10 Democrats Jeff Boone, former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, Maxwell Alejandro Frost, Terence Gray, former U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, Natalie Jackson and Khalid Muneer.

They were joined by independent candidates Jason Holic in CD 10 and write in candidate Cardon Pompey of CD 7 who said “Yes,” Biden won.

“Oh my God, yes,” Grayson said.

“Absolutely,” said Frost.

“Absolutely yes,” said Gray.

“Absolutely no,” said Jain.

“Absolutely yes,” said Muneer.

“President Trump won,” declared Santos.

“And that’s the problem, folks,” Krulick said.

Earlier, in a question on bipartisan cooperation, Krulick ranted about what he thought that bipartisan work would be difficult in a Congress that included people who stayed with Trump’s widely disproven claim that the 2020 election was stolen.

“This republic cannot exist on a steady diet of lies, deceit and disinformation. Democracies die when the people can no longer trust that their elected leaders will tell the truth. Until we put a stake in the heart of Trumpism, and we reject the big lie, I don’t think bipartisanship is going to be possible,” Krulick said.

Other no-shows at the forum were Democratic CD 7 candidate Karen Green, Democratic CD 10 candidate Jack Achenbach and Republican CD 10 candidate Willie Montague.

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