Election Deniers Win Their Arizona Primaries

Trump pick Blake Masters will face incumbent Mark Kelly in Nov.; Mark Finchem wins SoS nom
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2022 6:45 AM CDT
Trump Picks Emerge Victorious in Ariz. Primary
Blake Masters, a Republican candidate running for US Senate in Arizona, speaks at a Save America rally on July 22 in Prescott, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(Newser) – It was a big night in Arizona for GOP candidates endorsed by former President Trump. First, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will be facing off in November against Trump pick Blake Masters, who got the ex-president's thumbs-up in June. First-time political candidate Masters, who has also received support from Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, beat out Jim Lamon, founder of solar company Depcom Power, and a handful of other contenders for the Republican nomination. The Arizona Republic notes that the nonpartisan Cook Political Report is calling the upcoming contest between Masters and Kelly a toss-up.

In a perhaps more closely watched race, the GOP nomination for secretary of state went to far-right state Rep. Mark Finchem, a member of the extremist group Oath Keepers who'd suggested he wouldn't concede if he lost. Both Masters and Finchem have pushed false claims of election fraud in 2020 in a state that Rolling Stone says has been a "hotbed" of such claims. Finchem especially has been promoting them, with the magazine noting that his "efforts to push the Big Lie eclipse pretty much everyone." Finchem showed up at the Jan. 6 Ellipse rally in DC and has demanded inspection of voting machines. If he wins in November against the Democratic candidate—NPR notes results for that race are still pending—he'd become Arizona's chief election official.

Meanwhile, the state's gubernatorial race remains too close to call. With 80% of Arizona's precincts reporting, about 9,000 votes separated Trump pick Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson as of early Wednesday, with Lake in the lead, per the New York Times. Lake has been one of the most adamant supporters of the false election-fraud claims, including by citing her state's Republican-driven "audit" of the election results. That audit ended up simply confirming not only that Joe Biden won Arizona, but that he won more votes than originally counted. (Twisted Sister lead singer Dee Snider isn't happy that Lake has been using his group's most famous song.)

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