Republican election deniers used 2022’s midterms to identify battleground positions for secretary-of-state that would allow them takeover key electoral systems and control the country. “big lie” Into official election protocols
The Associated Press has projected that Democrat Cisco Aguilar will defeat Republican election denier Jim Marchant in Nevada’s race, a result that confirmed Democrats had pulled off a clean sweep of the major contests for secretary of state that GOP election deniers had targeted.
Democrats also beat election conspiracy theorists at the secretary of states races in Arizona and Minnesota. They defeated Republican Doug Mastriano in the Pennsylvania governor race, thwarting an election denier who promised to appoint a conspiratorial secretary of state, even if he wouldn’t tell voters who he would have picked. Democrats won more secretary of state races than election-denying opponents from Massachusetts and New Mexico, bluer States where they were strongly favored.
The results are a victory for American democracy, which has come under assault from Republican candidates who embraced former President Donald Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen, rigged or otherwise compromised by widespread fraud and malfeasance. A GOP victory in any of this year’s swing-state races would have given an election denier a platform to put future contests at risk, meaning Democrats needed to pull off an improbable sweep to fully safeguard the 2024 presidential race.
“The message this sends is that American voters care deeply about democracy, and they will stand up to extremism and effectively stop it,” Jena Griswold (D), Colorado Secretary of State, was interviewed by The Sunday Review. She is also the chair of The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State. “This was a fork in the road for the history of our country. We could have gone down the path of extremism, conspiracy and the rolling back of fundamental freedoms, or we could have chosen the path of democracy and fundamental freedoms. So we’re elated.”
Nearly 300 deniers of the election won this year’s GOP primaries. according to The Washington PostMore than 170 people have won the general, mostly in safe red states and districts. But the battleground secretary of state races posed an especially dangerous risk — and a major test of whether voters would open their arms to Republicans who’d made tearing down democracy the explicit aim of their candidacies.
The top election official in most states is the secretary of state. They oversee everything, from the basic election procedures to certification of results, down to how votes are counted. Marchant was one of the conspiratorial candidate last year. formed The America First Secretary of State Coalition, whose goal is to use these offices to exert partisan influence over elections and the 2024 campaign specifically.
“When my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected, we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024,” Marchant said at a Trump rally last month.
Many of the coalition’s members had played key roles in efforts to undermine the 2020 contest.
Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem was elected secretary of state in August. met with Trump officials They plotted a scheme to use fake electors in order to reverse the results in Arizona and other states.. Kristina Karmo, Michigan’s GOP secretary of state nominee, rose to prominence after claiming she had witnessed fraud in 2020. And Marchant didn’t just claim the 2020 election was stolen from Trump; he also waged an unfounded challenge to his own loss in a Nevada congressional race while spreading similar lies about fraud.
Finchem said that he would not have certified the result of President Joe Biden’s narrow 2020 victory in Arizona. Had he or any of the other candidates won this year, they could have used their positions to sow chaos around the 2024 election in various ways — with several, including FinchemThis suggests that they will not certifiy the results of a Democratic victory at the next presidential contest.
The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State is a party campaign arm that was mobilized in early 2022 to draw attention of party donors and voters to a level of the ballot that is often overlooked, or ignored. The association shattered fundraising records, and Democratic Candidates outraised their election denier opponents All over the board
The prevalence of Republican election deniers, along with their open declarations about wanting to wield partisan influence over contests, made it easy for Democrats to define the stakes of the races, said Kim Rogers, the Democratic association’s executive director.
“We started pushing the message in 2021 that these races matter and that secretaries of state are essential to defending our democracy,” Rogers said. “We let folks know what was at stake, and we used that to define our opponents, because these were people who across the board were running on election denialism and conspiracy theories.”
Throughout the campaigns, Democrats hammered that message, warning voters that the most basic aspect of elections — that the person who wins the most votes wins the race — was at risk.
“We’ve been running against the guy who has basically said he’s willing to pick the winners, and stop people from voting, to muck up the system on purpose,” The Sunday Review interviewed Adrian Fontes, a Democrat. Finchem, his Republican rival in October. “He has said it repeatedly and in a variety of different ways.”
“We will be looking to the American people to decide if they want to live in a democracy, or if they don’t,” Fontes spoke of the race. “It’s a binary choice. There’s no middle ground here.”
This message resonated with moderate voters and Democrats alike. The secretary of state candidates from each major battleground state who questioned and spread lies about the 2020 election trailed the other Republicans on their respective statewide lists.
This trend was even seen in red states, where the election deniers won. Diego Morales, the America First coalition’s Republican candidate in Indiana, won his race but finished nearly 5 points behind Sen. Todd Young. The gap wasn’t explained solely by Young’s incumbency advantage: Morales also lagged the GOP nominee in an open seat race for state auditor by 7 points.
Chuck Gray, an election denier, ran unopposed as Wyoming secretary of state after he won his GOP primary. He also received thousands less votes than any other unopposed candidates for the same position. More than 13,000 voters wrote in an alternate secretary of state choice — the most of any race in Wyoming, according to unofficial state results.
While the projected wins for Democrats across all parties will not completely eliminate the threat of election denial entirely, the success of these candidates in Republican primaries or safe GOP areas suggests that they are making an impact. “big lie” The party will continue to be a strong force.
Alabama Republican Wes Allen won his Secretary of State race. He joins Gray and Morales who are election deniers who will be running red state electoral systems next.
Republican Amy Loudenbeck could still win the secretary of state’s race in Wisconsin, where the office does not currently oversee elections. Loudenbeck has said that Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled Legislature should restore that power to the secretary of state if she wins.
The U.S. House will include at least 153 Republicans who are lying about the 2020 outcome. Thirteen others will be in the Senate — the chamber where Sens. Ted Cruz (R.Texas) & Josh Hawley(R.Mo. A campaign to undermine 2020 results was launched by Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). This effort helped to trigger the Jan. 6 Capitol rebellion.
But the Democratic sweep of key secretary of state races added to the party’s run of strong results in state legislative races and other down-ballot contests in which GOP election denial played a major role.
“Given the choice between democracy and extremism, voters chose the candidates who promised to continue free and fair elections,” Rogers said. “That’s a huge win for democracy.”