Trump-backed conspiracy theorist takes over as Arizona’s election chief

In Arizona, where Trump state Republican lawmakers have embraced Trump’s fantasies and funded investigations into the 2020 vote count, Trump supporters are “seeking the Secretary of State,” said Mike Noble, head of research and managing partner at the Arizona-based polling firm. Predictive Insights OH. “[It] It’s definitely one of their priorities really.”

Finchem faces significant opposition in the primaries, including from Beau Lane, a businessman endorsed by GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. But if the latest poll is any clue, Arizona Republicans are ready to raise the bar for someone who has relentlessly sought to undermine confidence in state elections as his choice for a future election.

Finchem has been a major proponent of electoral conspiracy theories since the 2020 election. He has been a huge supporter of the Republican-led review of all 2020 ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county, which has been fiercely opposed by the Republican-dominated county government and a group of election officials. of the two parties. Finchim also defends the fictional plan to “decertify” the results of the 2020 elections in Arizona, which has no basis in law, and he counts others who have served to undermine the US election among his prominent supporters, including Michael Flynn, Jenna Ellis and Mike Lindell.

Finchem advances in the only series of public opinion polls from OH Predictive Insights. The group’s polls over the past year have Finchem in the lead but never outperformed the mid-teens.

But in their latest poll on the eve of the primaries, Fenechem is ahead, topping the field with 32 percent, compared to 11 percent for his closest rival in Lin. Trump-backed candidates in the Republican primaries for governor and Senate, Carrie Lake and Blake Masters, respectively, also had a double lead in the poll.

Noble said that “Trump’s recent visit to Arizona really helped raise awareness” of his accredited candidates, but especially about the Secretary of State’s race.

Finchem’s biggest competitor for the nomination is believed to be Lane, the advertising executive. Two state lawmakers—Michelle Augente-Rita and Shauna Bulik—ranked one high in the OHPI poll, with 41 percent undecided.

Lin results from the state party’s commercial wing. He launched his campaign promoting the endorsements of dozens of business leaders in the state. And in July, he won the endorsement of the outgoing Al-Dossi, the limited-term ruler, who praised him for his integrity and “efficiency in [his] The ability to do the job they are looking for.”

“I think the governor understands the importance of having someone who can actually be governor in addition to being Secretary of State,” said Daniel Scarpinato, a veteran advisor and former senior aide to Ducey who was on Lane’s campaign team. “I think he sees Bo as a key governor who can effectively carry out our elections without politicizing them.”

Finchem sang Lane as a “Factory of Democrats” on his Telegram channel, claiming that internal polls have shown him to outperform the advertising CEO. But Finchem’s supporters have expressed at least some concern about the prospect of splitting votes in the rest of the field.

Trump issued a statement days before the state’s ballot deadline, bolstering his endorsement of Finchim as “the kind of fighter we need to change Arizona and our country.” The ex-president was also attacked by one of Finchim’s opponents in his statement – but he chased Agente-Rita as a weak “Renault” Never Trumper without mentioning Lynn.

Lynne and Finchim were the only two candidates with notable ad spend on the airwaves, according to data from ad tracking company AdImpact. Lynn’s campaign spent nearly $423,000 on television and radio advertising, surpassing the nearly $256,000 that Finchim spent there. (Finchem also has about $79,000 in digital advertising.)

Lane’s latest spot has been a contradictory one, as he attacked Finchim for a one-time support of the national popular vote charter – “If it had been his way, Hillary Clinton would have been our president” – while playing up his background as a “businessman”. Going forward, Finchem’s ad shows Trump praising him and strengthening his role by reviewing elections in the state.

But the joint spending of well under $1 million between the two men is just a drop in the sea compared to the tidal wave of political propaganda currently pummeling Arizona. More than $93 million has already been spent on radio and television advertising in Arizona this year—themed competitive primaries for Republican governors and the Senate.

“It’s a low-information race, which is kind of unfortunate because it’s such an important location,” said Scarpinato. “Because you have a lot of competitive races, more than we’ve really seen in a generation in Arizona, you have a lot of people hesitating and that leaves some of those downballot races wide open.”

It is also the state’s second major primaries that pit Dossey against Trump, who has publicly contested since the 2020 election. In the governor’s race, Dossey backed former State Board member Karen Taylor Robson, while Trump threw his support behind Lake, a former television anchor.

The Arizona secretary of state’s race is expected to be among the most competitive elections this year. And it will be an open race, in which incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs will be the frontrunner for the Democrats’ nomination for governor.

The Democratic primary is a showdown between Adrien Fontes, a former Maricopa County electoral official, and State House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding.

That preliminary stage quietly became sharp between the two men. The political arm of a non-profit organization that Boulding founded called Our Voice, Our Voice helped advance his campaign, leading to accusations of self-dealing from the Fontes camp. (Boulding told The Arizona Republic that he and his wife have isolated themselves from the nonprofit’s political process.) Fontes blamed Boulding’s machine for airing a delayed tax bill, which he said was unintentional.

The race will also test the importance of electoral conspiracy theories that have been so powerful in Arizona. Finchem and Lake have worked together in the past: the two filed a joint lawsuit aimed at preventing the use of ballot tables in the state, a common goal of unfounded allegations about the security of US elections.

Barring an explosion in the statewide primaries, there is a strong chance that the winner of the election will not be known on Tuesday night — the exact position Trump exploited in 2020 to discredit his loss.

Both Finchem and Lake indicated that they are more willing to pursue the leadership of the former president with their own campaigns. In a joint Q&A in late June for the fundraising, which was first reported by Axios Phoenix, both candidates suggested they would brave the loss.

“It wouldn’t be a letter of concession from this guy,” said Fenchem. “I will demand a 100 percent manual count if there is the slightest hint of an error.”

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