(NewsNation) —NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ has called the Arizona race for secretary of state in favor of Adrian Fontes, the Democrat.
The race between Fontes and state Rep. Mark Finchem was seen by many as a referendum on election integrity — with Fontes accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election and Finchem echoing former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud. Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs declined to run for a second term in order to run for governor.
Fontes is a former Maricopa County Recorder and previously worked as a prosecutor with the Denver District Attorney’s Office and the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. He is also a Marine Corps veteran. He defeated Arizona Rep. Reginald Bolding by just over 28,000 votes in the Democratic Primary.
The Democratic candidate has said his mission if elected as secretary of state will be “preserving” election integrity and making it easier for registered voters to cast their ballots.
Finchem — a far-right Republican and current member of the Arizona House of Representatives — is a self-proclaimed member of the militia group the Oath Keepers. An analysis by the Arizona Mirror revealed he received nearly $10,000 in donations from people linked to the group. He has frequently espoused conspiracy theories related to QAnon.
In August, a federal court dismissed a lawsuit by Finchem and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake that sought to require the state’s officials to count ballots by hand in November because of unfounded claims of voting machine problems.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.