Who's running for Arizona secretary of state 2022? Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes face off

Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes, candidates for Arizona secretary of state.
Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes, candidates for Arizona secretary of state.

Arizona will elect a new secretary of state in November.

Katie Hobbs, the current officeholder, is not seeking reelection as she is running for governor.

The secretary of state is the chief election officer for Arizona and is responsible for ensuring a fair election process. The office oversees voter registration and participation and certifies election equipment, candidates and results. The secretary of state plays also works with businesses for registration of trademarks and issuance of registration certificates.

The candidate who wins this race is next in line to the Governor's Office. The last secretary of state who moved to the Governor's Office was former Gov. Jan Brewer, and several other secretaries of state did so before her.

Here is who is on this year's ballot for secretary of state:

Republican candidate: Mark Finchem

Born in Detroit, Michigan, state Rep. Mark Finchem is running for secretary of state as the Republican nominee after winning the primary against three competitors.

Finchem denies that President Joe Biden won the 2020 elections and is an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump. He wants to end early voting with narrow exceptions for military and travelers, require hand counting of ballots and has tried to ban the use of voting machines via a lawsuit. Arizonans don't vote on machines, though machines are used to count paper ballots.

Finchem was a "Stop the Steal" organizer and was invited to speak at an event held at the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, and was outside the Capitol during the riot. Finchem signed a letter requesting that Arizona's election results be overturned and that the state's electoral votes go to Trump. He was endorsed by Trump last September.

Finchem was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2015, and has served three terms. Previously, he spent 21 years with the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department in Michigan as a real estate agent and power supply consultant.

Democratic candidate: Adrian Fontes

Adrian Fontes, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, attends a debate sponsored by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission at the Arizona PBS studios at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix on September 22, 2022.
Adrian Fontes, Democratic candidate for secretary of state, attends a debate sponsored by the Arizona Clean Elections Commission at the Arizona PBS studios at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix on September 22, 2022.

Adrian Fontes — a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran — is running for secretary of state after serving one term as Maricopa County recorder.

Fontes was elected recorder in 2016. He lost reelection in 2020 by fewer than 5,000 votes. Following the loss, Fontes worked for Pima County Recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly as the interim chief deputy.

During his time as recorder, in 2017, Fontes sent every registered voter a mail-in ballot for local elections. In that same election, he opened voting centers that catered to every registered voter, regardless of precinct.

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Fontes faced backlash during the 2020 election cycle after he planned to send every eligible voter a ballot in the Democratic Presidential Preference Election due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a temporary restraining order to stop him, which was granted by the Maricopa County Superior Court.

Fontes also was a vocal opponent of the Senate Republican review of the Maricopa County election and was a fierce defender of the county's election processes and results.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona secretary of state: Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes face off