Mark Finchem, an Arizona state representative who has said he would not have certified the 2020 election, won the Republican primary for secretary of state on Tuesday, making him the latest election denier to move closer to controlling his state’s election system.
Across the country, Republicans who say the 2020 election was rigged are vying to be elected secretary of state, a position that would grant them immense control over their states’ election systems.
As of July 28, at least 20 election deniers are running for secretary of state in 16 states, according to States United Action, an organization that tracks these races.
Races for secretary of state since 2020 have gone from low-profile contests to ones in which massive amounts of money have been spent on candidates who have a higher profile than ever before.
As November approaches, candidates in Arizona and three other critical states — Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada — continue to claim that Donald Trump won the 2020 election and have vowed to erect barriers to voting. All the candidates have raised enough money to be competitive.
They’ve all won the Republican nomination and will appear on the ballot in November. They all have close ties to Trump allies and many of them have been endorsed by Trump.
Here’s how four candidates are campaigning and what they say about the future of elections in their states:
He’s also a staunch believer in the Big Lie and was at the U.S. Capitol for the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. He’s one of Arizona’s most vocal Republicans claiming the 2020 election was stolen and that the results should have been decertified in Arizona.
Since announcing his candidacy to run Arizona’s elections, he’s repeated those claims on the campaign trail. He’s told voters not to put mail ballots in “Zuckerboxes,” (a reference to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s grants to local and state election departments) claiming they are part of the “Democrat fraud machine.”
He’s also called for the arrest of Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, and former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who is running for secretary of state as a Democrat.
In an interview with right-wing media outlet Real America’s Voice, Finchem reiterated his claims about voter fraud.
“For those media outlets that claim there’s no fraud, you’re willfully ignoring the evidence,” Finchem said, looking directly into the camera. He called Nov. 3, 2020, a “gaping wound in the American psyche.”
In Michigan, Kristina Karamo, a community college professor who worked the polls in 2020 and claimed the election was fraudulent, is challenging Democrat Jocelyn Benson, the current office holder, for secretary of state. Karamo won the Michigan Republican Party’s nomination in April. Read more