“Trump followers zero in on secretary of state campaigns”

Zach Montellaro for Politico:

Donald Trump’s pick to become Arizona’s top elections official raised more campaign cash in 2021 than his two potential Democratic opponents combined — a sign of MAGA-world’s deep engagement in taking over under-the-radar positions in charge of running battleground state elections.

State Rep. Mark Finchem, whom Trump endorsed for Arizona secretary of state in September of last year, has made the former president’s lies about the 2020 election results a cornerstone of his campaign. Finchem has said repeatedly, and without providing legitimate evidence, that the election was tainted by fraud, and he was a major backer of the GOP-led review of the vote in Maricopa County, which election experts and the county’s own Republican officials trashed as an unprofessional fishing expedition.

Drafting off Trump’s endorsement, Finchem brought in more than $660,000 for his campaign in 2021, according to new campaign finance reports. That’s more than the combined fundraising totals of the two leading Democrats, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes and state House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding, who respectively raised about $385,000 and $200,000 for the year.

Another Republican with business ties actually raised even more than Finchem. But the financial haul from Trump’s pick, which included thousands of donations under $100 that poured in from around the country, points to a broader trend across the states.

Having failed to prevent certification of the 2020 election, Trump and his followers are targeting state and local offices that will be involved in running the next presidential election, boosting loyalists who cast doubt on the 2020 vote and pouring energy into races that typically see little engagement. Secretary of state duties vary from place to place but can include coordinating election policy across their states, investigating wrongdoing and certifying the final vote counts in state elections — once-invisible responsibilities that have gained prominence since the attempts to subvert the 2020 election.

Share this: