McAuliffe campaign hires super Democrat elections lawyer Marc Elias, then tries to 'kill' story

Legal scholars are speculating that the McAuliffe's cynical hire may indicate that the Democrat will not concede the election to Glenn Youngkin, should he lose

Updated: October 29, 2021 - 4:04pm

Days before the Virginia gubernatorial election, questions are arising about Democrat nominee Terry McAuliffe's campaign hiring high-profile attorney Marc Elias, known for masterminding and supporting election-related legal challenges that support the Democratic Party.

Elias, formerly a partner at Perkins Coie, departed the powerful D.C. law firm earlier this year to start the Elias Law Group.

Now, in the closing days of McAuliffe's neck-and-neck race with GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin, the McAuliffe campaign has spent a reported $53,680 on services provided by the Elias' new firm.

The campaign has seemingly attempted not to disclose the expenditure, having sent an email to Fox News reporters asking to "kill" the story.

Perkins Coie was the firm hired by Democrat Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign to conduct opposition research on then-Republican presidential opponent Donald Trump, which resulted in the infamous and now-entirely debunked Christopher Steele Dossier.

Members of the Republican Party have accused Elias of covering up the Clinton campaign's role in funding the dossier.

Legal scholar and professor at the George Washington University Jonathan Turley wrote that the McAuliffe campaign hiring Elias is an "astonishing move." Elias has previously represented a number of Democrats fighting against Republicans in contested elections – including the Biden campaign’s legal battles with supporters of former President Trump over the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to Bloomberg News.

Turley suggested that McAuliffe's hiring of Elias indicated that he "may be preparing to challenge any win by Republican Glenn Youngkin." 

When Fox News reached out to the McAuliffe campaign inquiring about the nature of the campaign's hiring of Elias, the McAuliffe campaign spokesperson, Christina Freundlich, appeared to accidentally responded to the reporter instead of her colleagues, writing "Can we try to kill this." 

Though Youngkin and McAulife have promised to accept the results of the Nov. 2 election once they are certified, Turley raised the concern that McAuliffe seems to embraced the narrative that Stacey Abrams – the one-time failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate – actually won her election against now-GOP Gov. Brian Kemp. 

"She would be the governor of Georgia today had the governor of Georgia not disenfranchised 1.4 million Georgia voters before the election," said McAuliffe as he introduced Abrams at a campaign event earlier this month.

"McAuliffe's continued claims that multiple elections were stolen raise serious doubts about whether he will accept his own impending defeat and concede when he loses to Glenn Youngkin," said a Youngkin campaign spokesperson.