Gabrielle Hanson, the MAGA mayoral candidate in Tennessee who was sent packing last week, has unsurprisingly pulled a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook—decrying her resounding loss as election fraud.
Hanson, whose campaign was marked by a litany of scandals including an old arrest for promoting prostitution and cozying up to white supremacists, didn’t concede defeat on Election Day, and has not yet addressed supporters on her official social channels.
But she appeared on a podcast over the weekend to peddle bizarre ‘stolen election’ theories alongside two election deniers: far-right activist Lyle Rapacki and failed Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem.
The trio brought up a number of wacko claims that just don’t add up.
Among them, Hanson insisted that the similarity in vote totals between her and a cohort of conservatives who lost their aldermen campaigns was somehow suspicious—despite the quartet all being endorsed by the right-wing Williamson Families PAC and regularly campaigning together.
The election in Franklin, a Nashville suburb, wasn’t a close one. Hanson earned a measly 20 percent of the vote, keeping longtime incumbent, Ken Moore, in office another four years.
Hanson suggested that wealthy Franklin residents were afraid of her uprooting the city’s status quo, despite providing no evidence.
“Outside of Donald Trump, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s running for office that’s been as persecuted as I was,” she said.
Finchem then suggested that officials in Franklin, a city of 85,000 that’s home to several country music stars, had somehow conspired to keep Hanson out of office before a single vote was cast. Hanson didn’t push back against his suggestion.
“What you’re describing, madam, is not an election. It’s a selection that was preset before anybody ever walked into that election booth,” he said, without elaborating on what the supposed conspiracy was and which officials were supposedly involved.
Citing a phrase coined by the ex-Trump adviser Michael Flynn, Finchem tried to claim that Hanson was the “fifth-generation warfare,” suggesting an opponent was funding a media smear campaign against her.
“What they are doing is they’re publishing bullshit, trying to make people think that it is legitimate,” he said. “And then they recycle it and they recycle it and they recycle it again.”
He appeared to be referring to local TV station News Channel 5, which broke several bombshell stories about Hanson, perhaps none more viral than a Sept. 27 article that revealed that Hanson—who, as an alderman, fought to block a Pride event in Franklin this year—had once supported her husband wearing nothing but a Speedo at a Chicago Pride event in 2008. The story was accompanied by a photo of her husband at the parade.
Hanson tried to claim that the News Channel 5 was “paid a lot of money” to publish negative stories about her. She offered no proof, nor did she dispute the accuracy of the stories which were, for the most part, backed up by photos and Hanson’s own words.
The controversies came hard and fast after the Speedo story. That same day, Hanson’s supporters were filmed barricading a door to keep a News Channel 5 crew out of a campaign forum. At another forum, reporters arrived to find the building flanked by white supremacist members of the Tennessee Active Club, a recognized hate group.
Hanson, who was reportedly escorted inside by a member of the group, never disavowed their presence. She then solidified her alliance with the Active Club last month—grinning in a photo alongside the hate group’s leader, Sean Kauffmann, who has described himself as being an “actual literal Nazi.”
Then, on Election Day, Hanson made a series of posts on Facebook alleging that voting machines were malfunctioning despite election officials saying Hanson had likely just misunderstood how the voting process works. In one rambling post, she told voters to snap a photo of their ballot—an illegal act in Tennessee.
Hanson had been posting daily in the run up to Election Day, but has been silent ever since on social media. She made clear in the weekend’s podcast, however, that she believes the election was stolen.
In a grasp for proof, she suggested that Franklin’s record voter turnout last week was somehow tied to voter fraud. Hanson did not consider the possibility that voters turned out in record numbers to reject her.
“We had three-and-a-half times the normal turnout for an election,” she said. “So to see it flip like that, after all the calls that myself and the other three aldermen running got, just seems very questionable.”
Hanson also took aim at a poll worker who she deemed to be a suspicious member of “antifa.” The man in question was Joshua Patrick, the secretary of the Williamson County Young Democrats who, according to News Channel 5, worked as a poll watcher at one precinct on Election Day.
Hanson claimed Patrick worked “for the new self-described socialist mayor in Nashville,” adding that she identified him with the help of “a group that we were working with to identify antifa members in the community.”
That group appears to be the Tennessee Active Club, as Hanson said previously that the group was an “anti-antifa” organization who came to her aid because the “dark web” had turned up evidence of “massive antifa activity” in Franklin.