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“Big Lie” election conspiracy hits another obstacle in Oregon
Relentless loser & GOP castaway Marc Thielman fails again
Mark Thielman seems to have a thing for losing.
His career in public schools. Elections. Court cases.
Thielman’s latest loss came in the form of a 9-page opinion from U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman - in response to a motion to dismiss the 44 pages of nonsense complaint submitted by Happy Valley attorney Stephen J. Joncus on behalf of Thielman and a group of Oregon plaintiffs.
According to reporting in the Oregon Capital Chronicle, Thielman’s complaint failed to meet even the lowest bar for bringing a lawsuit like this - standing.
In other words, Thielman and crew failed to actually make an argument that they (the plaintiffs) actually suffered any injury in any way from any actual party. Instead, they argued, “the people of Oregon'' (gesturing broadly, I’m sure) were injured. Which, of course, isn’t how any of this works.
This is, like, 1st year of law school stuff.
Thielman’s conspiracy-fueled lawsuit, similar in tenor to other suits filed in other states by other nuts, was aimed at stopping Oregon’s practice of mail-in voting and to prevent Oregon from using machines to count ballots. These two practices, the lawsuit argued, put the integrity of Oregon’s elections in jeopardy.
Except they didn’t have any proof. Actually, it’s worse than that. They didn’t have any actual proof NOR a reason to bring the case in the first place.
According to Judge Beckerman’s ruling, the injury described by the plaintiffs - “their lack of confidence in Oregon’s election system” - is not particularized. In other words, the plaintiffs came to court with an alleged “generalized grievance,” which is not enough to establish subject matter jurisdiction in federal court. If you read Beckerman’s ruling, you’ll see the reams of clear legal precedent used to support this decision.
But that’s not the only reason this lawsuit is, in non-legal terms, an embarrassing joke.
Beckerman also exposed Theilman’s lazy legal gambit for what it was - speculative fiction.
Citing cases arising from the craziness in Arizona’s last gubernatorial race, along with failed real estate hack Donald Trump’s 2020 baseless challenges of the 2020 presidential race outcome (where he lost, bigly), Beckerman’s ruling boiled down Thielman’s effort for what it was:
(citing Lake v. Hobbs, 623 F. Supp. 3d 1015, 1028-29 (D. Ariz. 2022)…”their alleged injury of potential voter fraud was too speculative because ‘a long chain of hypothetical contingencies must take place for any harm to occur’ and concluding ‘that speculative allegations that voting machines may be hackable are insufficient to establish an injury in fact under Article III.’”
Julia Shumway in her Oregon Capital Chronicle article revealed that the bulk of the argument made by Thielman and crew in their complaint was based on a thoroughly debunked disinformation documentary called “2,000 Mules.”
Not only did the “Big Lie” propaganda piece not include anything about Oregon, Shumway reported, but Thielman claimed election fraud in several Oregon counties, including Marion, by relying on “unexplained analyses from two prominent election deniers.”
In legal circles, they have a word for this type of thing…“bullshit.”
But Thielman wasn’t alone in his latest failed effort to remain relevant to a shrinking Republican base in Oregon. Most of the plaintiffs that joined Thielman on his sore-sport loser tour were also sore-sport losers in recent elections. And, like Thielman, all got absolutely shellacked in their respective races. Not even close.
Ben Edtl (annihilated in state senate race)
Sandra Nelson (annihilated even worst in state house race)
Diane Rich (annihilated in Coos County clerk election)
Pam Lewis (annihilated in Coos County commissioner election)
And just to balance out the heavy loser vibe, Thielman was also joined by a former meteorologist & climate change denier (Chuck Wiese) and current state Senator Dennis Linthicum (R-Klamath Falls), who failed to show up for work in the 2023 legislative session and is no longer eligible to run for his seat.
Thielman, of course, first made his name self-destructing his career in public education in favor of culture war hero status by taking a stand against the demonic danger of (checks notes)....wearing masks in public settings during a pandemic.
Weirdly enough, his attempt to parlay that career-ending stunt into political might did not materialize. He ran in the 2022 Republican primary for Oregon Governor and earned a distant (and that’s being kind) 6th place with just shy of 8% support from the Oregon GOP.
It now appears that Thielman might try to worm his way back into public education, though. His name popped recently in a very sparse news article about North Bend School District considering a short list of candidates for Interim Superintendent.
Either way, his other pet project is focused on reconfiguring the Oregon Constitution to allow public funding to be used to support religious schooling through a pair of IPs (Initiative Petitions). SKP covered both petitions and who is funding this effort in this article.
And guiding this embarrassing legal outcome to it’s rightful destination was attorney Stephen J. Joncus - no stranger to right-wing extremists advancing poorly constructed legal arguments.
Joncus reportedly also represents the Oregon Firearms Federation (having a totally normal time, lately).
So…why does any of this matter?
You can bet this network of clownery is down, but not out. There seems to be enough of an audience for these shenanigans in Oregon for them to continue their grift.
In his campaign to change the Oregon Constitution, Thielman has raised huge amounts of money - mostly from one dude, but it’s still impressive. It shows that even the dumbest, most extreme ideas - regardless of fact patterns or reality - can animate enough people into organizing around these legal, legislative and political campaigns.
And while their ideas might be swiss cheese when it comes to making sense, they’ll keep getting better at refining their message and improving their networks.
It’s probably good to keep tabs on ‘em, no? After all, there’s an established pipeline of crazy right-wing ideas that go mainstream. Who knows? Today’s election hoax bullshit could be the next culture war issue that Oregon GOP uses to shut down the legislature.
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