The importance of the America First coalition’s parallel efforts is clearly visible in Arizona, where the slate candidate is Mark Finchem, a former firefighter and real estate agent who has served in the State House since 2015 and became the top Republican nominee. as Secretary of State. He has raised some $663,000 for his campaign, according to state documents, more than the two leading Democratic candidates combined.
Mr. Finchem, who declined to comment for this article, was in Washington on January 6 and attended the Stop the Steal rally that led to the capture of the Capitol. He has publicly acknowledged his affiliation with the Oath Keepers, the far-right militia whose leader and other members have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their role in the Capitol Riot. He defended the Republican-ordered review of the 2020 vote in Maricopa County – although he never agreed with its conclusion that Mr Biden had won – and received a prominent place at the rally of Mr. Trump on Jan. 15 outside Phoenix.
There, Mr Finchem told the crowd that the 2020 election had prompted him to run for Secretary of State, said he was part of a ‘national populist movement to take back control of our government” and called on the state legislature to decertify the presidential result in Arizona, which Mr Biden won by nearly 11,000 votes.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we know it and they know it – Donald Trump has won,” Mr Finchem said.
Other coalition candidates include Nevada’s Jim Marchant, a former state legislator; Rachel Hamm in California, who argues that Mr. Trump actually won that deep blue state; and Kristina Karamo in Michigan, who developed high notoriety in conservative media after making unsubstantiated claims that she saw fraudulent ballots counted in Detroit during the 2020 election, claims that have been refuted at both by local election officials and the courts.
Major donors to the coalition include campaign conspiracy promoters such as Mike Lindell, the managing director of My Pillow, and Patrick Byrne, a former Overstock.com executive, both of whom have helped fund several campaign denial campaigns and lawsuits. Mr. Byrne said he gave the group $15,000.
“We’d like as many like-minded candidates for secretary of state to come forward as possible,” Marchant told a conference in Las Vegas that included coalition members as well as speakers. well known to QAnon followers. conspiracy theories. “I have a few who have contacted me. We are trying to bring them into the coalition.