Zach Montellaro for Politico:
Republicans who sought to undercut or overturn President Joe Biden’s election win are launching campaigns to become their states’ top election officials next year, alarming local officeholders and opponents who are warning about pro-Trump, “ends justify the means” candidates taking big roles in running the vote.
The candidates include Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, a leader of the congressional Republicans who voted against certifying the 2020 Electoral College results; Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, one of the top proponents of the conspiracy-tinged vote audit in Arizona’s largest county; Nevada’s Jim Marchant, who sued to have his 5-point congressional loss last year overturned; and Michigan’s Kristina Karamo, who made dozens of appearances in conservative media to claim fraud in the election.
Now, they are running for secretary of state in key battlegrounds that could decide control of Congress in 2022 — and who wins the White House in 2024. Their candidacies come with former President Donald Trump still fixated on spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election, insisting he won and lying about widespread and systemic fraud. Each of their states has swung between the two parties over the last decade, though it is too early to tell how competitive their elections will be.
The campaigns set up the possibility that politicians who have taken steps to undermine faith in the American democratic system could soon be the ones running it.
As I wrote in my recent NY Times oped: “If someone running for secretary of state endorses the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, they should be uniformly condemned. Support should go to those who promote election integrity, regardless of party, and who put in place fair and transparent procedures. Ultimately, we need to move toward a more nonpartisan administration of elections and create incentives for loyalty to the integrity of the democratic process, not to a political party.”