This Big Lie-promoting conspiracy theorist could become Nevada’s top election official
In Nevada, far-right MAGA Republican, QAnon ally and conspiracy theorist Jim Marchant has been a loud, aggressive promoter of the "big lie" — falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. And he is now the GOP nominee for Nevada secretary of state, which means that if he defeats the Democratic nominee, attorney Cisco Aguilar, in November, he will be the state’s top election official in 2023.
On Monday, June 14, Marchant was the clear winner in Nevada’s GOP secretary of state primary, picking up 38 percent of the vote and defeating second-place candidate Jesse Haw by 18 percent. The position Marchant is running for is presently held by Barbara Cegavske, a conservative Republican who was censured by the Nevada Republican Party for refusing to promote the "big lie" after now-President Joe Biden won the state in 2020. Cegavske, who is term-limited, maintained that there was no evidence to show that Biden didn’t win Nevada fair and square — and she was inundated with death threats from Trump supporters after certifying Biden’s victory in Nevada.
But Marchant has stressed that had he been Nevada secretary of state in 2020, he never would have certified Biden’s victory. Marchant is president of an organization called the America First Secretary of State Coalition, which has been promoting MAGA Republicans and Trump loyalists who are running for secretary of state positions — including Mark Finchem in Arizona and Kristina Karamo in Michigan. The group also promoted Rep. Jody Hice’s primary campaign against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, but that primary didn’t go well for the Trump-endorsed Hice; Raffensperger, who refused to go along with Trump’s "big lie," enjoyed a landslide victory.
In Pennsylvania, the America First Secretary of State Coalition is supporting Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano, a “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theorist who has falsely claimed that Trump won Pennsylvania in 2020. If elected governor in November, Mastriano will have a chance to pick Pennsylvania’s next secretary of state; in Pennsylvania, the secretary of state is chosen by the governor.
The term “voter suppression” is usually used to describe all the ways in which GOP-sponsored laws at the state level are making it more difficult to vote, such as eliminating or reducing early voting and mail-in ballots —and it is no coincidence that they are targeting heavily Democratic areas. But what Marchant and others in the America First Secretary of State Coalition are proposing is much more dangerous than making voting more difficult or inconvenient. Marchant is part of a movement in which MAGA Republicans are trying to take over the administration of elections and be in a position to simply throw out election results they don’t like.
One of Marchant’s main allies is QAnon extremist Wayne Willott, a.k.a. Juan O. Savin, who co-founded the America First Secretary of State Coalition. Members of QAnon were among the extremists who violently attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, but Willott’s involvement in QAnon obviously doesn’t bother Marchant.
If the 2022 midterms see a major red wave and enough MAGA Republicans are victorious at the state level, it could affect the outcome of the 2024 presidential election. MAGA secretaries of state could refuse to certify any Democratic Electoral College victories in swing states, making false claims of election fraud just as Trump’s allies did in 2020.
From Pennsylvania to Michigan to Arizona, the MAGA movement and “Stop the Steal” Republicans are determined to be in control regardless of the actual outcome of elections — and in Nevada, that includes secretary of state nominee Jim Marchant.
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