Aug 3, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Trump-backed Finchem wins GOP primary for Arizona secretary of state

Mark Finchem waves a cowboy hat above his head on a stage
Mark Finchem, a Republican candidate for Arizona secretary of state, waves to the crowd as he arrives to speak at a Save America rally on July 22, 2022, in Prescott Valley, Ariz. Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP

Mark Finchem, an unrelenting supporter of the false conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged and has the endorsement of former President Trump, will be the Republican nominee for secretary of state, Arizona's top election official, AP reports.

Driving the news: Finchem, a state representative from Oro Valley, which is north of Tucson, defeated businessman Beau Lane, state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita and state Rep. Shawnna Bolick.

  • Lane had the backing of the Republican and business establishment, including an endorsement from Gov. Doug Ducey, and raised nearly as much money as Finchem, but still fell short.

Why it matters: While election laws are largely dictated by state statute, the secretary of state every two years issues an election procedures manual every two years whose policies and procedures carry the force of law.

  • The secretary of state, along with the governor and attorney general, is one of the three officials who must certify each statewide election canvass.
  • Arizona has no lieutenant governor, and the secretary of state is first in the line of succession if the governor's office becomes vacant.

Between the lines: Finchem has said he wouldn't have certified the results of the 2020 general election, organized a November hearing where Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies aired conspiracy theories about the election, and sponsored legislation that purported to decertify Arizona's electoral votes for Joe Biden.

Of note: Finchem had vowed that he wouldn't concede and indicated that he would blame fraud if he lost the election.

The intrigue: Many Republicans have worried that Finchem is too extreme for the general election and that nominating him would sacrifice the secretary of state's race to the Democrats.

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