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Del. John McGuire to host 2020 election conspiracy film at Goochland public school

Del. John McGuire attends the 2019 "God, Family and Guns" rally in Richmond.
Del. John McGuire (R-Goochland) attends the 2019 "God, Family and Guns" rally in Richmond. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Goochland High School will host a free screening Thursday of a film premised on debunked claims surrounding the 2020 presidential elections.

Del. John McGuire (R-Goochland) advertised the showing of “2000 Mules” in campaign emails that also emphasized his run for a state Senate seat in 2023. Those interested in attending were asked to RSVP to an email associated with McGuire and to bring a photo ID to be admitted.

In his latest email on Thursday, McGuire said he’d received “several hundred RSVPs.”

Jeremy Raley, Goochland County Public Schools superintendent, distanced his district from the event. The school district is “in no way, shape or form sponsoring this event,” Raley said. “We are not involved in any way.”

Raley said the space had been rented by the Goochland Tea Party. He said the group’s nonprofit status means it will pay the district only for the costs of custodial staff at a rate of $35 an hour and no rental fees. District policies permit members of the community to request use of school property “when such use will not impair the efficiency of the school.”

The policies give the superintendent the ability to make a final decision on whether or not to host an event.

McGuire said the event had been organized “in partnership” with the local tea party. “We’re both pushing it out,” he said in an interview with VPM News.

The Goochland Tea Party’s website includes a flyer for the event, noting that “Delegate John McGuire invites you, your family, and your friends to join him for a special showing of the movie 2000 Mules.” 

“2000 Mules” was directed by Dinesh D'Souza, a right-wing political commentator who pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud in 2014 and was pardoned by former President Donald in 2018. Fact checkers have roundly rejected the film’s claims of widespread voter fraud. Judges across the country — including some appointed by Trump — tossed out more than 60 lawsuits challenging the results of the presidential election.

Asked to respond to the film’s critics, McGuire said that “people are entitled to their opinion.” 

McGuire told The Washington Post that he attended the Jan. 6, 2021, Stop the Steal rally but said he did not join the group that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Tina Winkler, Goochland Democratic Committee chairperson, said the group urged the county electoral board last week to send a representative to attend the screening and answer questions about the electoral process.

“We obviously believe that the film is ludicrous,” Winkler wrote in an email to VPM News. “Mr. McGuire's continued embrace of the Big Lie is an embarrassment to himself and us as his constituents.”

Updated: Comments from Tina Winkler have been added.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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