Jim Marchant, the Republican candidate for Nevada’s secretary of state, has spent his campaign doing the opposite of an election chief’s duties: spreading lies about the legitimacy of several elections.
In a new online-only ad for his campaign, Marchant suggests without evidence that the last reelections of four prominent Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelsi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, California Representative Adam Schiff, and New York Representative Jerry Nadler — were stolen.
The clip raises the familiar anti-semitic conspiracy theory that George Soros, a wealthy center-left donor, was somehow involved in ensuring the aforementioned Democrats’ reelection, even though each of them won several of their last races by large margins.
The suggestion that Democratic wins in reliably blue states are part of some deep-state conspiracy theory takes Marchant’s efforts to spread the Big Lie several steps further. Previously, after losing his reelection to the House in 2020, Marchant claimed the election was stolen – from him and from Trump. He sued to have the results of his election overturned. Throughout his campaign, he vowed to ban early voting and the use of electronic voting machines, unless they’ve been examined for “fraud” should he win the general election.
But Marchant’s attempts to undermine the democratic process haven’t just been rhetorical: He started the “America First Secretary of State Coalition,” a group of 17 election deniers running for state office during this year’s primaries. The coalition boasts such candidates as Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who’s repeatedly stated that she believed both the 2020 election and the upcoming 2022 midterms are illegitimate; Arizona House candidate Mark Finchem, who’s associated with the right-wing Oath Keepers and was present at the January 6th insurrection; and Colorado candidate for secretary of state Tina Peters, who was recently indicted for election tampering and subsequently lost her bid to become the state’s next elections chief.
Marchant has said that if he and fellow members of his election-denying group are elected, “we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again.”
He’s already started one of his “fixes”: Marchant has traveled across the state making presentations endorsing the Big Lie and pushing counties to get rid of their voting machines and replace them with paper ballots.
In March, for example, he conducted a presentation in Nye County—where Trump won almost 70 percent of the vote in 2020—alongside several other Republican operatives, pushing election administrators to make the switch, even offering to fund the transition himself.
“A lot of people are saying what are the costs of this? What are the costs of us losing our Second Amendment rights? What is the cost of us losing our First Amendment rights?” he told the commissioners. “That’s where we are headed if we don’t do this.”
County commissioners unanimously voted to request that Nye County Clerk Sandra Merlino administer the election using paper ballots and hand-counting the votes.
According to the Washington Post, at least three other counties have taken steps to switch to conduct elections using paper ballots, but as WaPo’s Dana Milbank points out, the process is “certain to delay results and introduce more errors.”
Soon after the Nye County commissioners made their vote, Merlino announced her retirement, putting a corporate auditor and right-wing conspiracy theorist in charge of the new hand-counting process.