Ross D. Franklin/AP
Mark Finchem, a state representative and election conspiracy theorist who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the GOP nomination to oversee the vote as Arizona’s secretary of state, according to a Associated Press race call.
Finchem will appear on the November general election ballot against Democrat Adrian Fontes, the former clerk of Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, or Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding. The AP has yet to call that race.
Finchem was seen as the Republican frontrunner after winning Trump’s endorsement last september. He won over the former president by becoming one of the loudest supporters over the past two years of the lie that Trump won the 2020 election.
Finchem sponsored legislation this year who sought to decertify the 2020 elections in three Arizona counties based on false allegations of fraud, and he was at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, although he claims he does not didn’t break the law by going inside.
In an interview with NPR earlier this year, Finchem declined to call what happened there a riot or an insurgency.
“What happens when the people feel like they’ve been ignored and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud. #stopthesteal,” he said. tweeted that day, with a photo of people waving Trump flags on the steps of the Capitol.
Finchem is a long time member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right group, and he became the sixth election denier this primary season to get closer to overseeing the vote as statewide election chief.
Candidates refusing elections in Alabama, Indiana, Nevada and New Mexico also won the GOP primaries earlier this year and in Michigan a Holocaust denier won a party vote to become the Republican nominee there at an endorsement convention in April.
Since voting ended in 2020, those who believe fraud was rampant in this election have weaponized this false narrative to to undress access-to-vote measures, as well as election security tools such as the Electronic Registration Information Center or ERIC.
This made election experts fear the kind of policies these candidates would implement if elected.
“I never thought we’d be talking about individuals governing our electoral system … who felt they should put their finger on the scales,” said Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona election official and now a senior Democracy adviser. fund.
Finchem, for example, said he wants to get rid of early voting and remove Arizona from ERIC, despite bipartisan agreement that the system is one of the best tools available to states to detect and prevent voter fraud.