MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Former White House adviser Steve Bannon said Thursday he "strongly" believes Republican President Donald Trump won New Hampshire and that voter irregularities were behind his loss in the state in the 2016 presidential election.
"I believe strongly — and I'm prepared to put money where my mouth is — that we won the state of New Hampshire," Bannon told a cheering crowd of about 200 at a Manchester fundraiser for the conservative group 603 Alliance.
Democrat Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire and all four of the state's electoral votes.
Trump has cited New Hampshire as part of his unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. He created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May to investigate those claims.
"The people of New Hampshire deserve to understand what happened on that day," Bannon said. "I don't care if you are a Republican or a Democrat, a Clinton supporter or a Trump supporter, you can't play games with that."
Bannon says his claims are supported by state data that shows that only 15 percent of the 6,540 voters who used out-of-state driver's licenses have since acquired New Hampshire licenses. But state law allows someone to be domiciled in New Hampshire for voting purposes and be a resident of another state for driver's licensing purposes — for example, students attending college in New Hampshire.
The data also was cited in September by Republican Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the president's election integrity commission and Kansas secretary of state, as proof of fraud that likely led to Democratic U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan's victory over Republican incumbent Kelly Ayotte last November. Democrats pounced on those comments, suggesting Kobach was misleading the public by using irrelevant data to rehash false claims.
Bannon spent much of his hourlong speech recounting Trump's election success and only made passing references to the big wins by Democrats in Tuesday's elections and to the controversy swirling around Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Bannon, who in the past has backed Moore, didn't directly comment on allegations first reported by The Washington Post against the Alabama candidate of sexual misconduct with minors going back decades. The allegations have prompted Republican party leaders to demand he get out of the race if the accusations prove true.
"The Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump, is the same Bezos-Amazon-Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore," Bannon said. "Now is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party."
As Bannon arrived at the Manchester event, he was greeted by more than 100 protesters who chanted, "no hate in the granite state" and held signs with slogans including, "Bannon go home." Many questioned why Republicans were paying as much as $750 to hear Bannon's message.
"I'm here basically to send a message to Steve Bannon and all the people who attended tonight from the 603 Alliance that there isn't any room for hate in the granite state," said protester David Meuse.
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