Mark Finchem, a prominent 2020 election denier and an Arizona state legislator, has won Republican Secretary of State for NBC News Projects.
With 99% of the expected votes in, Finchem, who was backed by former President Donald Trump, had 40% of the vote. State Representative Shawnna Bolick, another 2020 election denier, had 19% of the vote, while businessman Beau Lane got 25%.
With his win, Finchem, who continues to falsely claim that President Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election in the state, is one step closer to becoming the top election official in Arizona, a pivotal swing state where Trump allies’ efforts to advance the latest presidential election have persisted in the years since the race.
If elected, Finchem, as the official overseeing the state office that manages 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 more powerful effort to undo a presidential election. Trump weighs another bid in 2024.
Finchem advances to the general election against the winner of a Democratic race still undecided between Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County recorder, and state representative Reginald Bolding.
Finchem, a member of the Arizona legislature, is one of the most outspoken state legislators to insist that Trump won the 2020 election. Trump endorsed Finchem last year, saying in a statement that “Mark was willing to say what few others dared to say” about the 2020 race.
At a January rally in Florence, Arizona, alongside the former president, Finchem said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we know and they know – Donald Trump has won.” Trump held another meeting with Finchem in July, as well as other Republican candidates in Arizona, where Finchem and others repeated similar false claims.
Neither Finchem nor his campaign have responded to multiple emails and phone calls from NBC News asking for answers to questions about his claims about the 2020 election.
As a state legislator, Finchem has introduced several bills related to the election, including one that would make all ballots publicly searchable in an online database.
Finchem also introduced several resolutions seeking to invalidate the results of the 2020 elections in three major Arizona counties, as well as a bill that would give the legislature the power to reject the election results. He supported a partisan review of Maricopa County’s election results, though the review reaffirmed Biden’s victory.
Finchem has appeared on QAnon talk shows on the radio 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 the day before, telling the crowd that Trump won the 2020 elections. In a 2014 interview with local news channel InMaricopa.comFinchem identified himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group whose founder was accused of seditious conspiracy and other counts in connection with the January 6 uprising.
NBC News has reported that the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots had subpoenaed Finchem, seeking more information about his claims that the election had been “rigged” and his communications with the organizers of the “Stop the Steal” meeting on January 6.
Finchem is a member of the pro-Trump America First Secretary of State Coalition, including election-denying secretary of state candidates in several other swing states, including Jim Marchant (the Republican nominee in Nevada), Kristina Karamo (the Republican nominee in Michigan), and Jody Hice (who lost his race in Georgia in May to Brad Raffensperger). All four states are the states in which Biden had his smallest wins in 2020.
Biden defeated Trump in Arizona by about 10,500 votes, and none of the many lawsuits or audits over the results in the state revealed widespread fraud.
With his primary win, Finchem becomes the sixth Republican Secretary of State candidate to deny the results of the 2020 election to advance to the general election. according to States United Action, an impartial group that tracks secretary of state, attorney general and governor races.
The other five are Michigan’s Karamo (who was approved as the party’s candidate by the state’s GOP in April), Nevada’s Marchant, Indiana’s Diego Morales, Alabama’s Wes Allen and New Mexico’s Audrey Trujillo. According to the group, Finchem was among at least 20 election deniers to run for Secretary of State in 16 states on July 28, according to the group. Among them are Mike Brown in Kansas and Tamborine Borrelli in Washington, who both lost their primary. on Tuesday evening.
If Finchem wins in November, as Arizona’s Secretary of State, he would have the power for the next two years not only to change the way elections are conducted — in ways some experts believe could help would-be candidate Trump. but also for the scale in an exciting race, as Trump asked Raffensperger in 2020.
Meanwhile, NBC News predicted that former District Attorney Abraham Hamadeh, another Trump-approved election denier, would win in Arizona’s overcrowded Republican Attorney General. He will face Democrat Kris Mayes in November. Attorney General Mark Brnovich ran for Senate but lost a primaries against Blake Masters, NBC News projects.
In addition, Republican Kari Lake was in a tight race for the Republican primary for governor on Tuesday. It is possible that Arizona has election deniers in its three highest state offices — a trio of functions that oversee, administer, defend, and certify elections and election results.
Arizona Democratic incumbent Katie Hobbs becomes Democratic nominee for governor after winning her primary Tuesday.