August 8, 2022
Trump-Backed Election Denier Mark Finchem Wins Arizona Secretary of State Primary

Mark Finchem, who led efforts to reverse the results of the 2020 election in Arizona and was in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Won The Republican secretary of state primaries on Tuesday moved him closer to an office that would allow him to oversee future elections in the looming battleground state.

Arizona was at the center of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse his loss in the 2020 election. If Finchem, a state representative, prevails in November, he could wield tremendous power over the state’s election system in two years, whether or not Trump is on the ballot again.

Finchem’s harsh embrace of electoral machinations earned him Trump’s endorsement and made him the frontrunner in a crowded primary field, in which another election skeptic, a state senator, has criticized many for curtailing voting rights. Sponsored new laws, and was a political newcomer. Support Of an old-school Republican establishment that has largely lost control of an Arizona GOP that has run too far.

Part of the so-called America First slate that declined to elect state candidates, he would join Nevada’s Jim Merchant and Michigan’s Christina Karamo as the most prominent right-wing Republican, winning seats to influence major swing state elections. are in competition. ,

Finchem might be the fanciest of the bunch. he was once members of the oath-takinga far-right militia group, and played a frontline role in Trump’s efforts to invalidate the 2020 election: he met with Trump lawyers and advisers, including Rudy Giuliani, immediately after the election To argue that there had been enough fraud in Arizona, and participated in an effort to designate “fake voters” to help reverse the election. He was in Washington during the January 6 Uprising, and footage from that day showed that he was outside the capitol during the riots.

FinChem has told supporters that it not certified was in charge of the 2020 election results, and supported the conspiratorial cyberninjas “audit” of election results in Maricopa County, Arizona, which failed to find evidence of widespread fraud despite being explicitly designed to do so. His role in the bogus voter scheme and other attempts to reverse the election earned him a summons From the Congress Committee probing the rebellion.

Already, he has threatened to challenge the legitimacy of November’s election if he loses:

“There’s not going to be a concession speech from this guy,” Finchem said in a campaign fundraiser in late June, According to the Arizona Republic, “I am going to demand 100% hand count (of ballots) if there is even the slightest hint of impropriety. And I would urge the next governor to do the same thing. ,

The bigger concern could be what it will do if Finchem wins. Arizona Republicans responded to the GOP’s first defeat in a presidential election since 1996 by targeting voting rights, and FinChem has pledged to supercharge those efforts.

Finchem has argued that early and mail voting are the main sources of fraud, without providing evidence to support their claims. He has questioned the constitutionality of early voting on questionable grounds, and suggested that it would become one of his main goals, despite the fact that 90% of Arizonans routinely cast ballots before election day. He wants to force Arizona officials to make all ballots count, A nod to right-wing conspiracy theories that voting machines rigged Biden’s results.

FinChem also supports efforts to give the state legislature, which Republicans currently control, Power to reject election results There is a practice that the conservative majority of the Supreme Court may bless in a case it will consider this fall. (Arizona law died in the state legislature this year.)

Finchem’s primary victory could bolster Democratic hopes of remaining in the seat that Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) vacated to run for governor, even in a year. Which could have taken the side of the GOP overall.

But it also puts him one step closer to a position that will potentially allow him to contest the 2024 results if they do not break in favor of the GOP. Arizona Democrats, in fact, take it as a virtual certainty that FinChem will attempt to deny any future GOP damages in the state.

“Not only Arizona, but our country could be in store for a constitutional crisis” if FinChem wins in November, State House Minority Leader Reginald Boulding, one of the two candidates for the Democratic Secretary of State primary, told HuffPost this week. told.

Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County recorder, said, “He’s made aware of the fact that he won’t testify to an election that Donald Trump won’t win.” “He has no integrity. He has no respect. He has no intention of executing office under the oath that he will take a false oath. So there’s really no question in my mind. He just won’t work.” .

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