In light of the Trump administration’s many failures and scandals, it might be tempting to think veterans of the Republican team would avoid the political spotlight, at least for a while. But as it turns out, that’s not the case: A surprising number of Trump administration officials are hoping to parlay their service into careers in elected office.
Take Matt Mowers, for example, who worked in Trump’s State Department and is now running for Congress in New Hampshire. But like his former boss, Mowers appears to have a controversy that might be tough to explain away.
The Associated Press reported overnight that the Republican candidate appears to have voted twice in 2016, “potentially violating federal voting law” in the process.
Matt Mowers, a leading Republican primary candidate looking to unseat Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas, cast an absentee ballot in New Hampshire’s 2016 presidential primary, voting records show. At the time, Mowers served as the director of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign in the pivotal early voting state. Four months later, after Christie’s bid fizzled, Mowers cast another ballot in New Jersey’s Republican presidential primary, using his parents’ address to re-register in his home state, documents The Associated Press obtained through a public records request show.
In other words, Mowers effectively took two bites at the apple: He voted in one 2016 primary, moved, re-registered, and then voted again in another primary in the same election.
That’s not allowed. The AP report added that federal law that prohibits “voting more than once” in “any general, special, or primary election.” That includes casting a ballot in separate jurisdictions “for an election to the same candidacy or office.”
The same article quoted David Schultz, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who specializes in election law, saying, “What he has done is cast a vote in two different states for the election of a president, which on the face of it looks like he’s violated federal law.”
In fairness, some caveats are in order. Some of the quoted experts argued this might fall into a legal gray area, and there’s no way Mowers will face any legal consequences for this. Indeed, the statute of limitations has run out.
But part of what makes this notable is the larger context. It was, after all, just last month when former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows faced difficult questions about his own alleged voting irregularities: The North Carolinian registered and voted in 2020 from an address where he did not live, despite signing documents claiming otherwise.
It also doesn’t help that Trump had a habit of encouraging people to vote twice.
Making matters just a bit worse, Mowers has embraced his party’s messaging as part of his campaign: The AP report added, “His own campaign website has leaned in on the issue, featuring a section dedicated to ‘election integrity.’”
It’s a safe bet that Democrats will put stories like these to good use. Hillary Clinton, for example, tweeted this morning, “Republican officials are so determined to transform voter fraud from a flimsy pretense for suppressing votes to an actual phenomenon, they keep committing it themselves.”