With the upcoming August 2nd primaries, two Arizona GOP candidates have already said they will blame election fraud if they lose their respective elections, and other Republicans are profiting off of the baseless conspiracy theories peddled by former President Trump.
Kari Lake, a former Fox 10 anchor, is seeking the nomination to become the GOP candidate for governor. She is endorsed by Donald Trump, and much like the former president, has been parroting the same line about the 2020 election being rigged and has even suggested she will not concede a future loss.
“[Trump] did not concede,” said Lake, “and I think that was really smart because that was the most dirty, filthy, rotten election I’ve ever seen.”
Lake has even claimed that election fraud will skew the results of the primary election. “We don’t have fair elections,” said the gubernatorial candidate during a June 29th debate. “They’re going to have to cheat even harder in order to win this.” Axios reached out to Lake’s campaign, requesting a comment and evidence to support her conspiratorial claims, but they have not responded.
Another Trump-endorsed election denier is Mark Finchem, a GOP candidate for secretary of state.
A video of a June 28th fundraiser posted on conservative media website Rumble shows Finchem laying out his plans to deny the primary results. “Ain’t gonna be no concession speech coming from this guy,” Finchem says in the video. “I’m going to demand a 100% hand count if there’s the slightest hint that there’s an impropriety. And I will urge the next governor to do the same.” In the past, Finchem has referred to Lake as “Arizona’s next governor.”
Finchem also scrutinized the legitimacy of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s recent GOP primary win, suggesting batches of ballots were suspicious. Axios reached out to his campaign too but received no response.
So far, no evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election has been deemed significant enough to influence the election, but regardless of the facts, candidates continue to believe in these claims. Candidates up and down the ballot have repeated the conspiracy to radicalize their voter base and increase their campaign finances.
Almost every poll in the past year shows Lake leading the Republican governor’s race. More recent polls have shown Karrin Taylor Robson closing in after spending millions on TV advertising.
Vying for a state Senate seat in Arizona’s Legislative District 7, State Senator Wendy Rogers broke state legislator fundraising records last year by embracing “The Big Lie” as part of her election campaign, raising $2.5 million dollars, a good portion of which was given by out-of-state donors. In contrast, her opponent, State Senator Kelly Townsend, raised $9,000 as part of a local-focused effort, according to state campaign finance records.
Rogers was censured after delivering a pre-recorded speech to a white nationalist conference, in which she called for her political rivals to be hanged. A few months after, she was the subject of an ethics investigation after she suggested on social media that the federal government orchestrated the racially motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.
The results of the primary will reveal if these candidates clinch their respective nominations and represent the face of the Arizona GOP in the following midterm elections.