Election deniers are running to oversee the election process in 27 states, according to a new report the morning after the last primary election of 2022.
At least 43 candidates running for governor, attorney general and secretary of state across the country have promoted former President Donald Trump’s false claim that they stole the 2020 general election from him, according to the report.
Released Wednesday by the nonpartisan election monitoring group States United Action, the analysis was the latest in an ongoing effort to track candidates who deny elections during primaries.
United Action of the United States labels as an election denier any candidate Trump claimed won the election, spread lies or conspiracy theories about the 2020 race in various media outlets, called for a forensic audit of the election, or tried to undermine it in other ways.
This year, 18 of the 36 gubernatorial races have an electoral denier on the ballot; the same goes for 10 of 30 races for attorney general and 13 of 27 races for secretary of state.
“Campaigning on lies and conspiracy theories, election deniers are now seeking these positions across the country in a coordinated attack on the freedom to vote,” the report’s authors wrote. “The stakes for democracy are as high as they were on January 6, 2021.”
This cohort could have a seismic impact on Arizona and Michigan, two swing states where election deniers run for all three jobs.
Arizona, in particular, has become “ground zero of the threat to American democracy,” Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, saying the Washington Post. Election deniers advanced to a general election there in early August.
The candidates include Mark Finchem, a far-right secretary of state candidate and lawmaker who was present at the victories in the Capitol complex; Kari Lake, a former news anchor and staunch Trump supporter, said that if she lost the gubernatorial primary, then “there’s some cheating going on”; and Abraham Hamadeh, the attorney general candidate who has pushed false claims of voter fraud and described Republicans who supported certification of the 2020 results as “weak knee.”
The Michigan Republican Party recently nominated Two statewide election deniers: Kristina Karamo, who claimed Trump won Michigan, for secretary of state, and Matthew DePerno, who challenged the 2020 election results in court, for state attorney general. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon has also expressed doubts about the election results.
An election denier who wins just one of these contests could throw the democratic process into chaos for the foreseeable future, the report warns.
“Half the country has an election denier running to oversee their elections, and if a single denier wins, it’s a five-alarm fire for our democracy,” Joanna Lydgate, executive director of United States Action, told TPM. “It is critical that voters know what is at stake right now.”