ELECTION 2022

Trump-backed candidate leads GOP race for Arizona's top elections job

Posted 8/3/22

The Republican nominee to become the state's chief elections officer could end up being someone who has publicly denied that Joe Biden actually won the popular vote here in 2020 and might not certify …

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ELECTION 2022

Trump-backed candidate leads GOP race for Arizona's top elections job

Posted

The Republican nominee to become the state's chief elections officer could end up being someone who has publicly denied that Joe Biden actually won the popular vote here in 2020 and might not certify the results of the 2024 presidential race.

Results late Tuesday showed state Rep. Mark Finchem with about a 8-point lead over businessman Beau Lane, his closest competitor.

Also trailing were state Rep. Shawnna Bolick, who last year had proposed allowing the legislature to override the popular vote for president, and Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita who, while not denying the results of the 2020 race, has raised questions about how it was run.

Finchem, endorsed by former President Trump, has been at the forefront of election deniers, even traveling to Washington for the Jan. 6, 2021 rally, though he said he did not enter the Capitol.

He also helped organize a hearing at a downtown Phoenix hotel following the 2020 election, bringing in Trump supporters including attorney Rudy Giuliani who detailed their own theories about why Biden actually lost the Arizona race.

He also is a plaintiff in a lawsuit, along with gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake, seeking to convince a federal judge to bar the use of equipment to tally vote totals and require all ballots to be counted by hand. No date has been set for a hearing on that.

And Finchem contends the U.S. Constitution already gives the legislature the power to set aside the results of presidential elections, even without a change in state law, if they believe there has been fraud.

Whoever survives the GOP primary will face off against either former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes or state Rep. Reginald Bolding. Late results show Fontes with about a 5-point lead.