Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem shrugs on Jan 6, participation during the Bonkers debate

Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem shrugs on Jan 6, participation during the Bonkers debate

Over the course of 30 minutes televised Thursday night, far-right lawmaker Mark Finchem clearly demonstrated why he is Donald Trump’s preferred choice to run in Arizona’s election.

In his first debate with Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Finchem stood by his false claims that Arizona’s 2020 election was surrounded by widespread fraud, defended his presence at the US Capitol during the Jan. declined to say whether he would try to make it more difficult to vote for Arizona.

The debate had barely begun before Finchem began conjuring up rebutted claims of defective Dominion ballot boxes and supposedly dubious ballots stuffed into ballot boxes. Asked to back up his arguments, Finchem pointed to so-called evidence included in Dinesh D’Souza’s conspiracy film “2,000 Mules” that has become a hallowed text on the MAGA right – although few elected Republicans have decided to go anywhere near the film. . absurd claims.

When Fontes argued that Finchem’s goal was to overturn an election, the Republican vehemently denied the suggestion.

“I’m not talking about overturning an election,” he said. “I’m talking about declaring a county election hopelessly compromised.” Of course, the dispute between Trump and Joe Biden in Arizona was fierce. To have made that statement as the highest electoral authority in the state would have cast doubt on the statewide electoral votes – and potentially would have put the national presidential election on the air.

At various points in the debate, Fontes referenced Finchem’s presence at the Washington Capitol during the January 6 riot. Earlier, Finchem played down his activity that day, saying he only flew to Washington to present evidence to GOP members in Congress. Images of the crowd outside the Capitol that day, however, showed Finchem too close to the Capitol building after it had been overrun by rioters.

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Asked directly whether Arizona voters would approve of the presence of their top election official in an attempt to disrupt a presidential election, Finchem simply said, “being in a place when something is happening is not illegal.”

He also said he was interviewed by the Justice Department and the House select committee investigating January 6 — as a witness.

The debate moderator tried to set Finchem on his stance on voting by mail, a focus of GOP dismay in 2020, although it has been widely used in many states, such as Arizona, for years.

Finchem had previously voiced opposition to mail-in voting, but was reluctant to do so on Thursday night’s debate stage. Asked repeatedly if he would try to reduce the practice, Finchem simply said that it was his job to implement the legislature’s plans and that his own opinions were irrelevant.

“What I want doesn’t matter,” Finchem insisted, before finally admitting, “I don’t care about mail-order voting.”

While disputes over secretary of state are typically under the radar, the elevation of Finchem – and like-minded candidates in other states – has alarmed many in both parties who are worried they could use their power not just to reverse the access to the vote but refuse to accept the election result in 2024 and beyond.

But in few states is the contrast between aspiring secretary of state as stark as in Arizona.

Fontes, a former Maricopa County record label, has eagerly linked Finchem to the 2020 conspiracy theories and the January 6 violence, calling this record “an unhinged and violent aspect of Mark Finchem that he prefers not to discuss.”

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Clearly, Finchem was unhappy with the way the debate focused on his far-fetched claims and controversial records. Later, he tweeted“NO QUESTION QUESTIONS ADRIAN FONTES BY HIS QUESTIONABLE PERFORMANCE AS DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS.”

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