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2020 election deniers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn support Arizona GOP nominee Finchem

The two Trump allies attended a fundraiser for Republican Mark Finchem, who is running for Arizona secretary of state and will control the state’s elections if he wins in November.

By Emily Singer - September 21, 2022
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Mark Finchem
FILE - Rep. Mark Finchem, of Arizona, speaks during an election rally in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 13, 2021. An Associated Press review has found that more than a quarter of Republican candidates for statewide office that play some role in overseeing, certifying or defending elections across 38 states supported overturning the 2020 presidential election

Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, the election-denying Republican running to be Arizona’s secretary of state, held a fundraiser on Sunday with two of the most prominent figures involved in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and keep former President Donald Trump in office despite having been defeated by President Joe Biden.

Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, both former officials in the Trump White House, headlined the fundraiser in California for Finchem’s campaign.

Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing a subpoena to testify before the House subcommittee investigating the riot by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and is currently under indictment in New York on charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and scheming to defraud in connection with a private fund supposedly intended to pay for completion of the wall Trump started building on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI and was later pardoned by Trump; more recently, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during his March appearance before the Jan. 6 subcommittee.

Both Bannon and Flynn were involved in planning for members of Congress to object to the certification of Biden’s victory. After the election, Flynn pressed the idea that Trump should declare martial law in order to stay in power and order a do-over election.

The Arizona Mirror reported that the fundraiser on Sunday was hosted by Nicole Nogrady, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who spreads lies including that the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were carried out by a so-called “deep state” and that the public is “addicted to fetal tissue” that’s included in food and beverages.

Finchem, for his part, is one of a number of election-denying Republicans running for office in November and was involved in the effort by Trump’s team to keep him in office.

Finchem was one of a number of Arizona state lawmakers who held an unofficial event they called a “hearing” at a Phoenix hotel on Nov. 30, 2020, the day the state’s presidential election results were certified in favor of Biden, at which Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani made baseless allegations of fraud. The hearing was streamed on video screens outside the hotel for an audience of Trump supporters.

Finchem also demanded that the Department of Homeland Security conduct a “a full spectrum forensic examination” of Arizona’s voting machines.

Finchem, who was present on the grounds of the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, was subpoenaed by the House subcommittee in February 2022.

In August, Finchem handily won his Republican primary for secretary of state, a position that would make him chief of election administration in the state. Since then, Finchem has continued pushing his baseless allegations of fraud.

In a Time magazine article published on Sept. 20, Finchem said Biden couldn’t possibly have won Arizona because he himself doesn’t personally know any Biden voters.

“Isn’t it interesting that I can’t find anyone who will admit that they voted for Joe Biden?” Finchem said in the interview, telling the outlet that it’s unlikely he’d ever certify a future Biden victory in the state because, he believes, it would be fraudulent.

“If the law is followed, and legitimate votes have been counted, and Joe Biden ends up being the winner, I’m required under the law — if there’s no fraud — to certify the election,” Finchem told Time. He added, “I think you’re proposing something that, quite frankly, is a fantasy.”

Since the primary election, Finchem lost a lawsuit he filed jointly with Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake to stop the use of electronic vote-counting machines in the state. If they had won, it would’ve taken more than three months to count each ballot by hand, a process that experts say is vulnerable to incorrect tallies.

Finchem will face Democratic nominee Adrian Fontes in November. Fontes is a former recorder of Maricopa County whose campaign website says: “Adrian Fontes will stand up to the lies. He is committed to preserving integrity in our elections, increasing transparency in the Secretary of State’s office, making voting easier for registered voters, and ensuring that Arizona’s business community has a partner in the Secretary’s office.”

While public polling of the race is hard to come by, Arizona is a competitive state that Biden won in 2020 by 11,000 votes, or 0.3%. Trump carried the state in 2016 by 4 points.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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