“Trump-Backed Conspiracy Theorist Vies to Take Over Arizona Elections”


This spring, Mark Finchem traveled to Mar-a-Lago for the premiere of a documentary advancing the specious notion that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from President Donald J. Trump by an army of leftists stuffing drop boxes with absentee ballots. As a state representative and candidate for secretary of state in Arizona, Mr. Finchem was a minnow among the assembled MAGA stars, the likes of Rudolph W. Giuliani and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

But he still got his face time.

“President Trump took 20 minutes with me,” Mr. Finchem later recounted during a campaign stop. “And he said: ‘I want you to understand something. The Arizona secretary of state race is the most important race in the United States.’”

Arizona, of course, occupies a special place on Mr. Trump’s map of election indignities — as the onetime Republican stronghold where President Biden’s narrow and crucial victory was first called by, of all networks, Fox News. Should Mr. Trump run again in 2024, a friendly secretary of state, as administrator of the state’s elections, could be in a position to help him avoid a repeat.

Now, as Arizona prepares for its primaries on Tuesday, Mr. Finchem is the candidate of a Trump-backed America First coalition of more than a dozen 2020 election deniers who have sought once-obscure secretary of state posts across the country. While most of them have been considered extremist long shots, a recent poll gave Mr. Finchem an edge in Arizona’s four-way Republican race, though a significant majority of voters are undecided.

Mr. Finchem’s campaign pronouncements are testament to the evolution of the “Stop the Steal” movement: It is as much about influencing future elections as it is about what happened in 2020.Image

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