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Ted Cruz is encouraging Trump’s election lawsuits despite being on the receiving end of his fraud claims in 2016

Senator Ted Cruz.
Senator Ted Cruz.Graeme Jennings/Associated Press

President Trump continues to refuse to concede the election to Joe Biden, and most top Republicans are backing him up on it, including one who was the target of Trump’s voter fraud claims in the past.

Among those loudly defending the president’s right to question the election results is GOP Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

“I believe President Trump still has a path to victory,” Cruz said on Fox News Sunday.

Though far from the only prominent Republican official to support Trump’s series of legal challenges and baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, Cruz’s defense of Trump is particularly noteworthy because four years ago, the Texas Republican was on the receiving end of Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of electoral misconduct.

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“Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!” Trump, then just a presidential hopeful running against Cruz and several other candidates for the GOP nomination, fumed following the 2016 Iowa caucuses, in which Cruz came out on top. Trump finished in second place.

“Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified,” Trump said in another tweet.

“The State of Iowa should disqualify Ted Cruz from the most recent election on the basis that he cheated- a total fraud!” he continued.

Cruz wasn’t defending Trump back then. He responded via Twitter, mocking his opponent as having “another #Trumpertantrum.” Trump lost Iowa because voters “actually looked at his record,” Cruz said.

Now these once-bitter foes are on the same side. Cruz is among the many Republicans saying that lawsuits being filed by the Trump campaign challenging Biden’s win in several states are entirely justified.

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“Those lawsuits have to be resolved,” Cruz told Fox News personality Sean Hannity on Monday night. “And there are serious allegations of violations of law. The right standard is that every single legal vote that was cast should be counted but any votes that were illegally cast shouldn’t be counted.”

“We have a legal process ... that can hear legal claims, and right now it is incumbent on the Trump campaign’s lawyers to go in and prove their case in court, to lay out evidence, to lay out evidence of illegally cast votes, to lay out evidence of what was done right, what was done wrong,” Cruz continued. “And when the process is over, we’re going to know the result. But we need to let the process play out and much of the main stream media doesn’t want to let us do that.”

Cruz’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Despite the claims of Trump and his allies, no evidence has surfaced of voter irregularities or widespread fraud in the election. In fact, election officials from both parties have publicly offered assurances that voting went smoothly.

Unlike the 2000 election, when a few hundred votes in Florida separated Bush and Gore, Trump is casting a wide net of legal challenges in states where Biden is thousands of votes ahead of him. Legal and political experts told the Globe on Tuesday that Trump’s legal strategy was “unrealistic,” and unlikely to succeed.

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Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.



Victoria McGrane can be reached at victoria.mcgrane@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @vgmac.