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Holocaust deniers must pretend that denying elections is not denying elections


State Rep. Mark Finchem (R) lost his bid for Arizona secretary of state for two interrelated reasons.

The first is that he ran a bad campaign, as the Washington Post noted in late October. He had just one paid staffer for his statewide campaign in a state of 7.3 million people. He raised little money and aired only one TV commercial. His opponent, on the other hand, ran a traditional campaign and spent heavily on advertising.

These ads focused heavily on Finchem’s embrace of former President Donald Trump following the 2020 election, including that Finchem was just outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, while the violent riot was underway. . This is the second reason: Finchem has repeatedly dismissed the legitimacy of President Biden’s victory, earning him national attention as an election denier.

In the end, Finchem lost about 5 points. And almost instantly, he claimed his loss was a function of voter fraud. He formalized this complaint in a complaint filed on Friday.

What’s interesting about this lawsuit, however — as was the case with Trump in 2020 — is that it relies on technical complaints and innuendo to overturn election results, not genuine claims of fraud. In the courts, Finchem and other losing candidates offer a seemingly sober assessment of how the results were somehow questionable. To the public, however, they make baseless claims of illegality both because they are not bound by the restrictions of legal filings and because it works much better for engagement.

Essentially, then, the legal view of the Finchems of the world is that they are not election deniers, even if they publicly deny the elections.

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No one should have been surprised by the results in Arizona. The top three statewide races ended up aligning closely with late Siena College and New York Times polls. Sen. Mark Kelly (D) beat Blake Masters by about 5 points, to a 4-point margin in the poll. Incumbent Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) won the gubernatorial race by just under a percentage point; the poll showed the race tied. In fact, Finchem in fact did better as the poll would have suggested – but he still lost easily.

In his lawsuit, he claims this was due to unintended (or possibly intentional) voter suppression, which led to voters at a number of polling stations having difficulty casting their ballots. There were problems, in fact, but those problems were actually bipartisan, hitting blue and red constituencies equally.

Her lawsuit also generally points to questions about Hobbs administering an election she ran for, which has been raised multiple times (including by Hobbs’ opponent Kari Lake). But the Finchem lawsuit, filed with another losing candidate, suggests that Hobbs’ specific warning to counties that the law required them to certify their election results was somehow an abuse of power.

Now contrast that with the way Finchem talks about the election on Twitter.

What this shows, more than anything, is that Republican voters were more skeptical of Finchem than other candidates, like the losing Republican Attorney General candidate (who filed his own election complaint) . Finchem dismisses this by suggesting that there was a “real” vote that matched how people voted in US House races: 1.3 million for Republicans and 1 million for Democrats. .

How that led to him being 50,000 fewer votes than the Republican nominee for attorney general or why the state treasurer nominee – who hasn’t embraced electoral denial – won remains unexplained. But it doesn’t take much digging to see why that claim is better suited to Twitter nonsense than sworn legal filing.

Quick and easy. Yes, Republican House candidates won 1.3 million votes to about 1 million for Democratic candidates.

But two of these Republicans ran unopposed. Take them out, and the Democrats got about 70,000 additional votes.

The Democrats also won two lopsided victories. If, for example, you take the 55-point victory from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D), then the two sides are roughly even.

Oh, by the way, the candidate Gallego defeated by 76,000 votes, a 3-to-1 margin? Jeff Zink, the other candidate who signed Finchem’s lawsuit.

Again, this is not really new. Kari Lake, the losing gubernatorial candidate, has also filed a lawsuit that attempts to spin off her various allegations and evidence — often anecdotes from supporters who had a harder time voting than they wanted — into something acceptable to a court. The reason, very simply, is that the court has very little (but no!) tolerance for deception or unseen evidence. So Lake and Finchem and Donald Trump in 2020 are forced to put their vague inflammatory claims into smaller, safer packages. Sometimes there are overflows.

The reality is simple. Finchem lost because he ran a bad campaign and had unpopular views. He, like Lake, seems to believe that rampant fraud allegations in 2020 and 2022 were in fact legitimate. Luckily for both of them, their lawyers are unwilling to make the same claim.


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