I am not a partisan. I served my country for 35 years, the highlight of which was commanding a Navy destroyer. I’ve made numerous deployments around the world, proudly wearing the uniform while serving both Republican and Democratic presidents.
I write to you today not as a democrat, or as a republican, but as a fellow American and a veteran — a resident of Arizona for the past 16+ years.
Many of the countries I’ve visited in the past are no longer our friends; their governments succumbing to graft and corruption. “Strong men” have seized power for their own benefit, often by rendering their election systems ineffectual.
We have a clear and present danger to our democracy right here in Arizona. I’m not trying to sound alarmist. It exists in the form of one candidate running for statewide office.
The Secretary of the State of Arizona is an elected position most of us have never even thought about. Well, we need to think about it now. The Secretary of State is the person responsible for overseeing and counting our state’s votes in 2024, a presidential election year, and unlike previous citizens who have held this position, one of the nominees is threatening to tamper with the votes of Arizona’s citizens.
The Big Lie is alive and well right here in Arizona.
Can you imagine what would happen if the overseer of Arizona’s election just threw out your vote? Our country, democracy would be rocked to its core. And yet, that’s exactly what election denier and conspiracy theorist Mark Finchem is saying he would do. Think this can’t happen in America? It’s already been attempted.
In 2020, former President Trump told the Secretary of the State of Georgia to “find” 11,780 additional votes. It’s on tape! And now we have a candidate here in Arizona who is running on the premise that he would have found those nonexistent votes for Trump, thereby corrupting our elections.
To this day, he maintains without a shred of evidence that the 2020 election was rigged and that he would not have certified your vote! As a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, he introduced a resolution this year to decertify the 2020 election in multiple counties, and was a sponsor of a bill to empower the Legislature to overturn election results.
Mr. Finchem is a member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group and even spoke at a QAnon convention last year. He was at the attack on our Capitol during the insurrection of Jan. 6. Mr. Finchem is an extremist and he is more loyal to one man than he is to Arizona and to our country.
Changing the count on a legitimate election would compromise the very integrity of our system, the very core of what I and countless other veterans have fought (some giving their lives) to defend. Make no mistake, the most serious threat to our democracy is right here in Arizona. We, the people of Arizona, must not allow this person, with no integrity, to oversee our elections.
If you make one vote in this 2022 cycle, whether you are Democrat, Republican or Independent, make sure it’s for Adrian Fontes. Our democracy is at stake.
As a veteran, as someone who spent my entire adult life protecting America, I beg you to take seriously this national security threat. You can be active in defending our democracy by talking to your friends and neighbors about this threat and by all means, vote.