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Record-breaking fundraising in Arizona secretary of state race fueled by 2020 election falsehoods

Arizona Republican Representative and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem speaks during an election rally in Richmond, Va. He's raised $663,000 dollars so far in the race, which is the second highest amount in the GOP field.
Steve Helber
Rep. Mark Finchem, of Arizona, gestures as he speaks during an election rally in Richmond, Va., in October.

Fundraising for secretary of state races in the nation’s key battleground states, including Arizona, have reached record highs. According to a new report, the false assertion that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent is a primary driver.

According to the analysis from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, total fundraising in Arizona’s secretary of state race has reached nearly $2.5 million. That’s more than double what it was in 2018 and eight times that of 2014.

The secretary of state oversees elections, and the Brennan Center says a main factor in the fundraising surge is the baseless claim that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and former President Donald Trump actually won.

Southern Arizona Republican state Representative and secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem is one of the most outspoken proponents of the so-called big lie. He’s raised $663,000 – the second highest amount among GOP candidates. More than two-thirds of Finchem’s donors are from out of state, which is by far the most of any candidate in the race.

Finchem attended the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, though he says he didn’t enter the building.

He also recently introduced a bill that would decertify Arizona’s 2020 election, though it’s unlikely to advance.

A recent NPR analysis found at least 20 Republican candidates who question President Joe Biden’s win are running for secretaries of state nationwide this year.

Ryan Heinsius was named interim news director and managing editor in January 2024. He joined KNAU's newsroom as an executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.