Trump-backed conspiracy theorist claims Arizona election chief

In Arizona, where GOP state lawmakers have embraced Trump fictions and funded investigations into the 2020 vote count, Trump supporters are “targeting the secretary of state,” said research chief Mike Noble. and managing partner of Arizona-based polling firm OH. Predictive information. “[It] is definitely the one they really put a priority on.

Finchem faces significant opposition in the primary, including from Beau Lane, a businessman endorsed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. But if the latest poll is any guide, Republicans in Arizona are poised to elevate someone who has relentlessly sought to undermine confidence in state elections as their choice to run future elections.

Finchem has been a leading proponent of election conspiracy theories since the 2020 election. He was a meaningful reminder of the GOP-led review of all ballots cast in 2020 in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county, which was strongly opposed by the Republican-dominated county government and a bipartisan cast of election officials. Finchem also advocates the fanciful plan to “decertify” Arizona’s 2020 election results, which has no basis in law, and he counts others who worked to undermine the US election among his prominent supporters, including Michael Flynn, Jenna Ellis and Mike Lindell.

Finchem took the lead in OH Predictive Insights’ only round of public polls. The group’s investigations over the past year have had Finchem top of mind but never made it past the mid-teens.

But in their final ballot on the eve of the primary, Finchem took the lead, leading the field with 32%, compared to 11% for his nearest rival in Lane. Trump-backed candidates in the Republican primaries for governor and Senate, Kari Lake and Blake Masters, respectively, also had double-digit leads in the survey.

“Trump’s recent visit to Arizona has really helped raise awareness” of his endorsed candidates, Noble said, but particularly of the secretary of state race.

Finchem’s biggest challenger for the nomination is believed to be Lane, an advertising executive. Two state lawmakers — Michelle Ugenti-Rita and Shawnna Bolick — were in the high numbers in the OHPI poll, with a plurality of 41% still undecided.

Lane hails from the business wing of the state party. He launched his campaign boasting the endorsement of dozens of business leaders in the state. And in July, he won the endorsement of outgoing Ducey, the limited-term governor, who praised him for his integrity and “competence in [his] ability to do the job they are looking for.

“I think the governor recognizes the importance of having someone who could actually be governor in addition to being secretary of state,” said Daniel Scarpinato, a veteran consultant and former top adviser to Ducey who is part of Lane’s campaign team. “I think he sees Beau as a dominant conservative who could effectively run our elections without politicizing them.”

Finchem derided Lane as a ‘factory Democrat’ on his Telegram channel and claimed internal polls had shown him above the advertising executive. But Finchem supporters showed at least some concern that the rest of the field could split the vote.

Trump released a statement days before the state’s ballot applications deadline, reinforcing his endorsement of Finchem as “the kind of fighter we need to transform Arizona and our country.” The former president also attacked one of Finchem’s opponents in his statement – but lashed out at Ugenti-Rita as a “weak RINO ‘Never Trumper'” without mentioning Lane.

Lane and Finchem were the only two contestants with notable on-air ad spend, according to data from ad tracking firm AdImpact. Lane’s campaign spent about $423,000 on television and radio advertising, edging out the roughly $256,000 Finchem spent there. (Finchem also has about $79,000 in digital advertising.)

of the way newest place was a point of contrast, attacking Finchem for once support the National Popular Vote Compact – “if he had done it his way, Hillary Clinton would have been our president” – while playing on his past as a “business guy”. Finchem’s announcementmeanwhile, features Trump praising him and reinforcing his role in scrutinizing the state’s election.

But the combined spending of well under $1 million between the two men is just a drop in the ocean compared to the tidal wave of political publicity that Arizonans are currently subjected to. More than $93 million has already been spent on radio and television ads in Arizona this year – headlining the Republican gubernatorial and Senate primaries.

“It’s a low-information race, which is kind of unfortunate because it’s an important position,” Scarpinato said. “Because you have so many competitive races, more than we’ve really seen in a generation in Arizona, you have a lot of undecided people and that leaves some of those downball races open.”

It’s also the second major state primary that pits Ducey against Trump, who have been publicly arguing since the 2020 election. In the race for governor, Ducey supported Former state board member Karrin Taylor Robson, while Trump threw his support behind Lake, a former television presenter.

The Arizona Secretary of State is expected to be among the most competitive electoral administrator elections This year. And it will be an open race, with current Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs leading the slate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

The Democratic primary is a showdown between Adrian Fontes, the former top Maricopa County election official, and State House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding.

This primary has quietly become acrimonious between the two men. The political arm of a Bolding-founded nonprofit called Our Voice Our Vote helped bolster his campaign, which led to accusations of insider trading from Fontes’ camp. (Bolding told the Arizona Republic that he and his wife isolated themselves from the political workings of the nonprofit.) And Fontes blamed Bolding’s apparatus for airing an overdue tax bill, which he said was inadvertently.

The race will also test the relevance of the election conspiracy theories that have been so powerful in Arizona. Finchem and Lake have worked together in the past: the two filed a joint lawsuit seeking to block the use of ballot tabulators in the statea common target for unfounded claims about US election security.

Barring a blowout in a statewide primary, chances are the winner of the election won’t be known Tuesday night — the exact situation Trump took advantage of in 2020 to discredit his defeat.

Both Finchem and Lake have signaled that they are more than willing to follow the former president’s lead with their own campaigns. In a joint question-and-answer session at a fundraiser in late June, which was first reported by Axios Phoenixboth contestants hinted they would contest a loss.

“There will be no concession speeches from this guy,” Finchem said. “I’m going to demand a 100% hand count if there’s the slightest hint of an irregularity.”

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