Nearly every candidate in crucial state elections who doubted or contested the results of the 2020 election was lost for positions that monitor, defend, and certify elections – a crushing setback for a movement that might have overturned future contests.
Nonetheless, Democrats who campaigned against such candidates in previous elections, impartial organizations that observed those elections, and groups that battled against election deniers assert that the threat remains.
“While 2022 was indeed a victory for the voters and for democracy, we are only halfway through a multiyear, multifaceted effort to delegitimize democracy in our country,” said Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan who won re-election last week against the election-denying Republican candidate Kristin Karamo.
“However, the next presidential election is still less than two years away, and we predict that many of the same difficulties… may reappear,” she warned.
A cadre of newly elected and re-elected governors, secretaries of state, and attorneys general who have pledged to honor the will of the voters — and who all defeated election-denying Republican candidates in pivotal swing states — will assist Benson in combating these obstacles to safely administering and accurately certifying elections.
According to the most recent forecasts by NBC News, among the 13 elections in six battleground states where an election denier ran for governor, secretary of state, or attorney general, 12 candidates lost. The only other fight, between Democrat Kris Mayes and Republican Abraham Hamadeh for attorney general in Arizona, remains too close to call, although Mayes has a lead.
Arizona, along with Michigan and Alabama, was one of three states in which election deniers became the Republican candidates for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general. NBC News predicted that Democrat Katie Hobbs beat Republican Kari Lake in the race for governor and that Democrat Adrian Fontes defeated Republican Mark Finchem in the race for secretary of state.
All three Republican contenders questioned President Joe Biden’s win or said incorrectly that Donald Trump’s victory was blatantly stolen. Finchem has links to QAnon and the Oath Keepers and attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” event before to the assault on the Capitol on January 6th.
In Nevada, Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeated Republican Jim Marchant, a Trump-backed election denier who previously declared that he and other candidates like him would “repair the entire nation” and ensure Trump’s re-election in 2024.
In Wisconsin’s race for governor, Democratic incumbent Tony Evers narrowly defeated Republican Tim Michels, who repeated the false claim made by Trump and his supporters that the 2020 election in the state was rife with fraud and said he was open to efforts to decertify Biden’s victory in the state during the primary.
Republican election denier Kim Crockett defeated to Democratic incumbent Steve Simon in the Minnesota secretary of state contest. In Michigan, election-denying Republican candidates for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general all lost their respective races. In addition to Benson’s victory against Karamo, Democratic incumbents Gretchen Whitmer and Dana Nessel beat Republican opponents Matthew DePerno and Tudor Dixon, respectively, in the races for governor and attorney general, respectively. Dixon had claimed that the 2020 election was stolen.
In Pennsylvania, Republican Doug Mastriano, one of the most prominent election skeptics, lost to Democrat Josh Shapiro in the run for governor. The Pennsylvania governor appoints the secretary of state, hence the top contest had a disproportionate impact on the future of recognizing election results in the state.
Jena Griswold, the head of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State and the current Democratic secretary of state of Colorado, said, “We were at a crossroads.” “However, voters delivered a very clear statement that Americans care strongly about democracy and do not want radicals to rule our elections.”
The setbacks of election deniers extended far beyond places with close elections.