Mark Finchem, an Arizona lawmaker endorsed by former President Donald Trump and a supporter of Trump's stolen election claims won the Republican primary Tuesday for the top elections post in the presidential battleground.
Finchem beat three other GOP candidates in the race for secretary of state. His challengers included another candidate who repeated Trump’s stolen-election charges, a longtime state
Finchem, who attended Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, rally that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol, has said he intends to ensure that election laws are followed to address concerns by many Republicans about how elections are run.
Still, he tried to get the Legislature to overturn the 2020 election results and has spoken about making major changes to election rules that are written by the secretary.
Finchem tried this year to get the Republican-controlled Legislature to notify Congress that Arizona wanted to decertify Democrat Joe Biden’s election win. He won Trump's endorsement and said in a recent interview that worries about the effect of his potential victory on free and fair elections are unfounded. He said he will enforce laws as written.
“I think it’s interesting that there are people, particularly Democrats out there, claiming: ’Oh, he’s going to ruin the system. He’s going to do this, he’s a threat to democracy,'” Finchem said. Still, he contends tens of thousands of fake ballots led to Biden's win.
The other Republican who backed Trump’s claims also is a member of the Arizona House. Rep. Shawnna Bolick introduced a bill last year that would allow a simple majority of the Legislature to overturn presidential election results.
The other Republicans on Arizona’s ballot were state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who acknowledges Biden’s victory but has worked for a decade to tighten election laws, and businessman Beau Lane, who was backed by the governor.
This report contains material from The Associated Press.
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