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Republican candidate for Arizona's secretary of state: Mark Finchem

The polarizing politician from Pima County says he decided to run for the office of secretary of state after the results of the 2020 election

PHOENIX — After eight years serving in the Arizona House of Representatives, Pima County Republican Rep. Mark Finchem is looking to take on a new challenge as Arizona’s next secretary of state.

Finchem, a former law enforcement officer, said he was built with a heart for service.

“My objective in this whole pursuit is to see to it that nobody has their thumb of influence on the scale of election justice,” Finchem told 12News. 

The polarizing politician from Pima County says he decided to run for the office of secretary of state after the results of the 2020 election when former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden.

RELATED: Election deniers could make deep changes to Arizona voting. Here's what's at risk

Finchem, who falsely claimed the 2020 election was “rigged” and “robbed” from the American people, has made election security and election integrity the center of his campaign.

Finchem, who has a degree in six sigma process engineering from Grand Canyon University, said his background is to ask questions and find defects in a process, which he claimed happened in Arizona’s 2020 election.

Finchem said if elected as secretary of state he would shore up voter rolls, chain of custody issues with ballots, and conduct pre-check audits.

He said he would like to see ballots include a watermark for authenticity.

RELATED: Adrian Fontes tells 12News why he should be the next secretary of state

Since then, Finchem, a MAGA Republican and large supporter of Trump, has been vocal in the claims the election was stolen from Trump, without evidence.

He’s questioned the use of electronic machines in counting votes.

Many MAGA Republicans have claimed that electronic voting machines are capable of changing votes. No evidence has ever been produced to show it is possible.

Finchem, and Republican Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake recently filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to deny the use of machines to count votes in the upcoming November election, and to only count votes by hand.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying there was nothing to prove the claims that there were problems with the machines.

RELATED: Lake, Finchem want to bar Arizona's vote tabulating machines

Finchem has called for access to software in the machines.

“I want to open that thing up and allow us to inspect it. Allow the court to inspect it under a court order. Someone who is a disinterested third party,” he said.

Finchem has also raised questions about the legitimacy of mail-in ballots in Arizona.

Vote-by-mail has been widely available in Arizona since 1991.

Despite 80% of Arizonans, and even Finchem voting by mail. He said there are issues with chain of custody issues with ballots.

“Yes, mail-in balloting is popular here. In fact, something like 80%. In fact, I voted in 25, 26 elections by mail-in ballot, but what I have seen in the past two years I went to the polls for the primaries,” Finchem said.

“Despite attacks from my opponent, I am not interested in removing mail-in balloting. I can’t. It’s the law. I cannot make any laws. That is the job of the legislature. I am only here to enforce the ones we have,” Finchem said.

Finchem’s denial of the election has landed him under the political microscope.

He was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as part of an investigation into a plan to send fake electors from Arizona to stop the certification of the election in Congress.

RELATED: 'The country is at the edge of an abyss': Liz Cheney says Lake, Finchem threaten democracy

Finchem, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, said he did not enter the Capitol building.

With so many questions he says still unanswered after the 2020 election, would he accept the results of November’s election if he lost?

“As long as the votes have been cast within the law. If there are violations of law that would impact the outcome, then I would want to have our day in court if necessary. I reserve that right," he said. 

Finchem said if he's victorious on Nov. 8, he would be willing to reach across the aisle, no matter the party.

“Frankly as Secretary of State, the moment I’m elected I have to take off my partisan hat. It’s got to come off,” he says.

Whoever wins this race will have an important job before them.

Not only will they be required to monitor and uphold Arizona’s election laws, but because Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, the secretary of state is also second behind the governor in the Arizona line of succession.

Decision 2022

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