Republican voters on Tuesday picked a conspiracy theorizing Arizona state representative to become their nominee to oversee the state’s elections.
Mark Finchem (R) is one of the country’s most prominent Big Lie activists. He will now likely run against Adrian Fontes (D), the former Maricopa County recorder.
Finchem, a Trump endorsee and member of the Oath Keepers, is part of a wave of 2022 Republican candidates who’ve carried on the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and who’ve promised to make sure things turn out differently next time around.
Finchem has spent most of his campaign saying, in many different ways, that he wished he could have helped Trump steal a second term, and that he’d be willing to do so in the future.
Last May, Finchem wrote in a fundraising email, “I promise you this. If I was Secretary of State for Arizona in 2020, we would have won. Plain and simple.” He’s also introduced a resolution purporting to “decertify” the 2020 election results in three counties, a legal impossibility. The resolution was full of falsehoods about 2020 election statistics.
On Jan. 5, the day before the Capitol attack, Finchem told a rally in D.C. that the election was stolen, and “this ain’t going away.” The following day, Finchem got pretty close to the Capitol building itself, though he did not go inside, and later tweeted a photo of the crowd on the Capitol steps at 3:16 p.m. “What happens when People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud. #stopthesteal,” he wrote.
A major supporter of the phony “audit” of Maricopa County’s 2020 ballots, Finchem quickly pivoted when the politicized review didn’t find the fraud Republicans were looking for, pitching yet another audit in Arizona’s second-largest county as a next step. He’s similarly signed onto a call for “forensic audits” — an undefined term — of all 50 states’ elections. Last summer, Finchem launched a campaign t-shirt demanding that “liberal officials and media” should “#ProveIt” — as in, “prove that there was no fraud in the election,” as dozens of investigations and audits around the country have in fact established.
Along with Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, Finchem filed a lawsuit to prohibit the use of ballot tabulation machines in this year’s elections.
Finchem’s attitude toward’s Trump’s lost 2020 reelection bid extended to his own campaign: In June, he said that if he officially lost his race, “ain’t gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy.”