Republican Salt Lake County clerk candidate walks back social media posts claiming the 2020 election was ‘stolen’

Goud Maragani, the GOP nominee for Salt Lake County clerk, says he no longer believes the 2020 election was fraudulent.

(Bryan Schott | The Salt Lake Tribune) Protesters at Highland High School Monday night hold signs highlighting social media posts from Republican county clerk candidate Goud Maragani, who has claimed the 2020 election was stolen. Maragani walked back those comments during a candidate forum on Monday.

The Republican nominee for Salt Lake County clerk says he used to believe the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump, but, with the county clerk race now five weeks away, Goud Maragani says he has changed his views.

In social media posts unearthed by The Salt Lake Tribune, Maragani claimed, “Democrats cheated and stole the election.” He also claimed “Democrats are good at cheating” and will “do anything to win.”

But, Maragani now says his views on a stolen election had flipped entirely.

“At one time, I did think the 2020 election was stolen,” Maragani said during a candidate forum Monday night at Highland High School.

He’s also posted on social media that “most of the cheating issues” in elections come from mail-in ballots, a method of voting that Maragani claims are the “least safe” in a post on his website.

“I think there are concerns about how it was run, but at the end of the day, Biden won, and Trump lost,” he added.

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Goud Maragani, running for Salt Lake County clerk, gets three minutes to address the delegates before they cast their vote at the Salt Lake County Republican convention at Kearns High School on Saturday, April 9, 2022.

He explained his worries about a stolen election drove him to get more involved with politics, which led him to head up the Salt Lake County Republican Party’s Election Integrity Committee, which examined the county’s election processes.

Maragani’s appearance at Monday’s forum was met by about a dozen protesters who carried signs of his social media posts, including his comments that Democrats are “commies” and “Marxists.” The demonstrators were blocked from bringing those signs inside the auditorium where the candidates were speaking.

Maragani said he knew there were past social media posts he made that voters may find questionable.

“I debated deleting them, but I thought it just didn’t feel honest. I thought voters had the right to know the things I thought at different snapshots of time in the past and come with me on a journey to understand how my thinking evolved over time,” Maragani said.

It’s unclear when Maragani’s position on election fraud shifted. The last post from Maragani about election fraud discovered by The Tribune was from January 2022, where he encouraged people to sign up as poll watchers because “it makes it much harder to cheat.”

His Telegram posts end on April 1, 2022, shortly before he won the Salt Lake County GOP’s nomination.

Maragani is not the first Republican candidate in 2022 to flip-flop on claims of a stolen election. New Hampshire U.S. Senate nominee Don Bolduc was adamant that Donald Trump was cheated during the 2020 election. Bolduc completely reversed himself within days of winning the GOP nomination last month, CNN reported.

Maragani did not respond to requests for comment.

At the same forum, Lannie Chapman, the Democratic nominee for the Salt Lake County clerk race, did not mention his past embrace of unproven election fraud claims.

“Public offices belong in the hands of public servants,” Chapman, who currently serves as the chief deputy clerk, said. “That means people who want to serve the public, not just some of them, but all of them.”