Donald Trump loyalist running for Arizona secretary of state is a right-wing plot to end democracy

Donald Trump loyalist running for Arizona secretary of state is a right-wing plot to end democracy
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock

Arizona Republican State Representative Mark Finchem (District 11) is not a widely-known figure outside of the Grand Cayon State’s most intimate political cliques. But that will soon change.

The lawmaker from Tuscon is a deeply loyal supporter of former President Donald Trump and his lies about the 2020 election having been stolen. Finchem pushed baseless and mathematically impossible claims that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally for President Joe Biden. He signed a resolution asking Congress to recognize a false slate of Electoral College electors that aimed to overturn Biden’s win and hand it to Trump. He has been subpoenaed by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol because he was in the nation’s capital on the day of the Trump-led insurrection. And he is running as his party’s candidate for Arizona secretary of state, a position that controls how elections are conducted in his state.

“The role of secretary of state is critical to the smooth workings and integrity of elections in many states, Arizona included. The post holder is the chief election officer, with powers to certify election results, vet the legal status of candidates and approve infrastructure such as voting machines. In short, they are in charge of conducting and counting the vote,” The Guardian explained in a report on Monday.

Finchem entered the race last fall and was quickly endorsed by Trump. “It is my great honor to endorse a true warrior, a patriot who has fought for our country, who was willing to say what few others had the courage to say, who has my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in a statement on his “Save America” website.

Should he prevail over his Democratic challenger, Reginald Bolding, the minority leader in the Arizona State House of Representatives, Finchem would become the most powerful figure in Arizona’s elections. Given his track record of doing whatever it took to appease Trump, “would he be willing and able to overturn the result of the 2024 presidential election in Arizona, potentially paving the way for a political coup?” The Guardian asks.

“Someone who wants to dismantle, disrupt and completely destroy democracy is running to be our state’s top election officer,” said Bolding. “That should terrify not just Arizona, but the entire nation.”

He added that “the public, in general, may not understand what’s at stake here. All Democrats, all Americans, should be concerned about this and what it could do to the 2024 presidential election.”

The Guardian noted in January that Finchem’s campaign raised $660,000 in 2021, nearly triple the amount brought in by Bolding's.

That fact alone shows that Finchem may have the momentum to win the race for secretary of state despite the role not being subject to traditional public scrutiny, Tucson Weekly reporter Jake Dean opined.

“What’s so insidious about the Trump plan is that it is focusing on state-level races where voters know very little about what the secretary of state does,” Dean said. “That’s a danger, as it gives Finchem a realistic path in which he could win – and Finchem will do what Trump wants.”


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