October 5, 2022

Mark Finchem, a prominent 2020 election naysayer and Arizona state legislator, won the Republican Secretary of State primary, NBC News programs.

With 99% of the vote expected, Finchem, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, had 40% of the vote. State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, another 2020 denial, had 19 percent of the vote, while businessman Beau Lane took 25 percent.

With his victory, Finchem, who continues to falsely claim that President Joe Biden did not win the state’s 2020 election, moves one step closer to being the top election official in Arizona, a critical state where efforts of Trump are conspiring to overthrow the last presidential election continued in the years after the race.

If elected, Finchem, as the official overseeing the state office managing the 2024 presidential election, would have the power to potentially influence the outcome of the race. Experts say this scenario could contribute to an even stronger attempt to overturn the presidential election. Trump is weighing another bid in 2024.

Finchem is advancing to the general election against the winner of a still-undecided Democratic race between Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County Recorder, and state Rep. Reginald Bolding.

Finchem, a member of the Arizona Legislature, is among the state’s most outspoken lawmakers who insist Trump won the 2020 election. Trump endorsed Finchem last year, saying in a statement that “Mark was willing to say what few others have had the courage to say” about the 2020 race.

At a January rally in Florence, Arizona, Finchem, standing by the former president’s side, said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we know it and they know it — Donald Trump won.” Trump held another rally with Finchem, as well as other Arizona Republican candidates, in July, where Finchem and others repeated similar false claims.

Neither Finchem nor his campaign have responded to multiple emails and phone calls from NBC News seeking answers to questions about his 2020 election claims.

As a state legislator, Finchem has introduced several election-related bills, including one that would make all ballots public records, searchable in an online database.

Finchem also imported many resolutions seeking to ratify the results of the 2020 elections in three large Arizona counties, as well as a bill that would give the legislature the power to throw out election results. He supported a partisan review of the Maricopa County election results, even though the review upheld Biden’s victory.

Finchem appeared in QAnon radio broadcasts and attended the “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on January 6, 2021, which led to the storming of the Capitol. He also spoke at a Stop the Steal event. a day earlier, telling the crowd that Trump had won the 2020 elections. In a 2014 interview with local news outlet InMaricopa.comFinchem identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group whose founder was charged with sedition and other charges in connection with the January 6 uprising.

NBC News reported that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot subpoenaed Finchem, seeking more information about his claims that the election was “rigged” and his communications with organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6.

Finchem is a pro-Trump member America’s First Secretary of State Coalition, which includes secretary of state candidates declining elections in several other swing states, such as Jim Marchant (the Republican nominee in Nevada), Kristina Karamo (the Republican nominee in Michigan), and Jody Hice (who lost the race of May in Georgia by Brad Raffensperger). All four states are the ones where Biden had his closest wins in 2020.

Biden beat Trump in Arizona by about 10,500 votes, and none of the many lawsuits or audits of the results in the state have revealed any widespread fraud.

With his primary victory, Finchem becomes the sixth Republican secretary of state nominee to defy the results of the 2020 election to advance to the general election. according United States Action, a nonpartisan group that Pieces secretary of state, attorney general and governors.

The other five are Michigan’s Karamo (who was endorsed by the Democratic Party in April to be the party’s nominee), Nevada’s Marchant, Indiana’s Diego Morales, Alabama’s Wes Allen and New Mexico’s Audrey Trujillo. According to the group, Finchem was, as of July 28, among at least 20 caucuses running for secretary of state in 16 US states. Also among them are Mike Brown in Kansas and Tamborin Borrelli in Washington. Neither won their primary Tuesday night.

If Finchem wins in November, he will, as Arizona’s secretary of state, have the power over the next two years not only to change the way elections are conducted — in ways some experts say could help presumptive Trump — but also to tip the scale. a close race, as Trump asked Raffensperger in 2020.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Attorney Abraham Hamadeh, another Trump-endorsed recusal, was running against five other Republicans, including another recusal, in Arizona’s Republican attorney general primary. The winner will face Democrat Chris Mayes in November. Attorney General Mark Brnovich ran for Senate in a primary against Blake Masters.

Additionally, Republican Cary Lake was in a tight race in the state’s Republican primary for governor on Tuesday. Arizona is likely to have election deniers in its top three state roles — a trio of positions that oversees, administers, defends and certifies elections and election results.

Arizona Democratic incumbent Katie Hobbs will be the Democratic nominee for governor after winning her primary on Tuesday.

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