Philadelphia pols blistered former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Trump campaign Monday for suggesting that the city's dead will be casting ballots int the upcoming presidential election.
Giuliani, a prominent Donald Trump backer, trashed Philadelphia on Sunday, saying that if Trump loses the presidency it could be all be because the city’s elections aren’t “fair” toward Republicans.
"You want me to (say) that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair? I would have to be a moron to say that," Giuliani told CNN host Jake Tapper. "I'm sorry, dead people generally vote for Democrats rather than Republicans."
Philly leaders responded Monday that there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the city, and accused Trump of trying to distract attention from his own increasingly muddled campaign.
“Trump can’t accept the fact that he’s going to lose, and it’s his fault. It has to be somebody else’s,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat. “Don’t try to tear down every democratic institution in the country just because you lost an election.”
To Democratic Congressman Bob Brady, Giuliani’s comments were illogical in that the city is 99-percent Democratic.
“There’s no indication we ever stole an election,” he said. “We don’t have to, we got enough voters to win.”
And Giuliani’s claims aren’t reinforced by any research, said David Thornburgh, executive director of good government advocacy group Committee of Seventy.
“It just adds up to a big bowl of nothing,” Thornburgh said. “There is no rigorous platform of data that says, ‘Yeah, this has gone on in Philadelphia ... His claims are irresponsible, inflammatory, but sort of par for the course as we watch the Trump campaign.”
Election results in Philadelphia, an almost entirely Democratic city, were questioned in 2012 after some districts didn’t record a single vote for Republican Mitt Romney. However, local officials argued that there really are very few people who vote Republican here.
Republicans in Pennsylvania previously pushed for voter ID laws that were widely criticized as potentially excluding many African American voters. When the law went to court before being tossed out, the state acknowledged that it had no reports of actual fraud.
Trump himself trashed the entire state’s elections back in August, saying "the only way we can lose [Pennsylvania] … and I mean this 100 percent, if in certain sections of the state they cheat,” he said according to Politico.
That doesn’t mean no fraudulent votes have ever been cast in Philly, Thornburgh said.
“There are human errors,” Thornburgh said. “Error is different from a fraudulent act which implies an organized conspiracy.”
Democratic state Sen. Vincent Hughes held a news conference in City Hall Monday to counter Giuliani’s attack and assure voters that elections are expected to run smoothly and their votes will be counted.
“There isn’t going to be confusion on election day,” Hughes asserted. “The election is going to run smoothly, polling places will be open, and we’re going to be fine.”
Giuliani never said the word African-American, but he only mentioned cities with large minority populations, which was no accident, according to Hughes.
“It no doubt is an attempt to stop people from voting,” Hughes said of Giiuliani’s attacks. “The backdrop to this is centuries-old efforts to suppress the vote.”
Meanwhile, Philadelphia City Commissioner Lisa Deeley said her office’s staff is working “around the clock” to make sure fraud like what Giuliani described does not happen. They’re also handling 220,390 new voter registrations from the past six months alone.
She declined to comment to Giuliani’s “political stump speech,” but urged campaigns and candidates to not “insult” Philly voters or election workers.
To verify your voter registration status and polling place, check www.Philadelphiavotes.com or call 215-686-1500.
Additional reporting by Alexis Sachdev