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Election guide: What’s happening in Arizona?

Your guide to the midterm elections in the Grand Canyon State


Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake (left) and a supporter in Paradise Valley, Arizona Getty Images/Photo by Justin Sullivan

Election guide: What’s happening in Arizona?

STATE STATS

  • Voter makeup: As of August, state data show roughly 35 percent of registered voters are Republican, 31 percent are Democrats, and 34 percent don’t affiliate with any party.
  • Voting: Early voting started on Oct. 12. The state allows no-excuse absentee voting and requires one form of valid identification to cast a ballot in person.
  • Fraud Watch: Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, has been at the center of election fraud claims since 2020. County and state officials approved a long, expensive, and controversial audit, which found more votes for President Joe Biden than originally counted. In mid-October, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, requested a probe into True the Vote, a group that has claimed it can prove widespread fraud but has yet to provide evidence. The state was also heavily featured in the Dinesh D’Souza documentary 2,000 Mules, which claimed Arizona was ground zero for fraudulent ballot harvesting. The Justice Department and the FBI have identified Arizona as a top state of concern for threats against election workers.

GUBERNATORIAL

  • Secretary of State Katie Hobbs overwhelmingly won the Democratic nomination with 72 percent of the vote during the August open primaries. She decided to run following the 2020 presidential election and rampant allegations of fraud. As the top election official in the state, she has insisted that the election was conducted fairly. She still advocates ways to clean up voter rolls and mandates nonpartisan post-election audits. She also wants to expand ways to vote, including same-day registration, allowing felons to vote, and extending early voting periods. She campaigned heavily on education reforms such as teacher pay raises, voluntary universal preschool and kindergarten, and child tax credits. A pro-abortion candidate, Hobbs has been endorsed by organizations such as Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood. She has repeatedly refused to debate her opponent.
  • Former Phoenix television anchor Kari Lake snagged the Republican nomination with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. She also entered the ring largely for election security reasons. Lake has insisted that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Most of her campaign has centered on border and election security. If elected, she promised to ban critical race theory in schools. She also said she would announce a “declaration of invasion” and send the National Guard to the state’s border with Mexico. Analysts say if Lake wins the governor’s mansion, she could make a strong pick for vice president in 2024 should Trump decide to run again. Lake was raised Catholic but now identifies as an evangelical. On the campaign trail, she said that God had chosen her to be a political leader. An average of polls finds Lake beating Hobbs by roughly 1 percentage point as of Oct. 19.
  • Seven write-in candidates have been added to November’s ballot. They include William Pounds, a Green Party candidate whose top campaign issues are solar energy, labor rights, and collective bargaining.

  • SENATE
    Republican candidate and Trump endorsee Blake Masters, a 36-year old entrepreneur with a background in law, technology, and business, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, is highly critical of Big Tech, and maintains that the 2020 election was neither free nor fair. Masters has said he’s not on the ballot to be a moderate option and has positioned himself as an “America First” candidate. He has suggested that support of Ukraine might not be in the United States’ best interests. There are questions about his stance on abortion: Having once said that he is 100 percent pro-life, he has since updated his position, scrubbing pro-life messaging from his website. He supports a pro-life bill Arizona passed earlier this year that protects unborn babies after 15 weeks’ gestation. At a recent debate, he did not answer questions about his prior support for a national pro-life law. After winning the primary, he also edited out the most controversial election fraud claims to simply say he supports election security. He makes no mention of religious affiliation on his website.
  • After Sen. John McCain’s death in 2018, Jon Kyl was appointed to fill McCain’s seat from 2018 to 2020. Mark Kelly then won a special election to fill the seat in 2020. He will look to retain it while campaigning on issues like inflation, water supply in Arizona, and immigration reform. As a candidate, he has used his experience as an Air Force pilot and astronaut to market himself as an expert at evaluating complicated issues. As a legislator, he has sometimes gone against the Democratic Party’s direction, similar to fellow Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin on topics like drilling, pandemic restrictions, and presidential nominees. That being said, he has also supported larger Democratic initiatives like the Build Back Better and the bipartisan infrastructure bills. Despite his Catholic background, Kelly has called the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade a “giant step backward.” As of Oct. 19, most polls find Kelly leading Masters by at least 2.5 points.
  • There’s a third contender for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona: Libertarian candidate Marc J. Victor. Victor’s website states he has adopted the “live and let live,” or 3Ls principle. It extends to his positions on gambling, factual disputes, the Second Amendment, and other topics. He has a background in criminal law, and while he doesn’t have a stated religious background, he has mixed thoughts about the legality of abortion and supports LGBTQ rights. While third-party candidates typically don’t gain much traction against Republican and Democratic candidates, Victor surprised many by polling at around 15 percent and participating in the state’s Oct. 3 debate. He distanced himself from the Democratic Party and Biden by criticizing the state of the southern border and calling for a complete overhaul of current immigration policy.

SECRETARY OF STATE

  • Maricopa County recorder, attorney, and former Marine, Adrian Fontes is running to become Arizona’s next secretary of state. As a Democratic candidate, he has positioned himself as an opponent to the “extremism” he sees in the Republican Party and in his opponent. One of his highest priorities and the reason behind his bid is assuring voters of the election integrity of the state, which he acknowledges faced strain and difficulty in the 2020 election. He has heavily criticized his Republican opponent for arguing otherwise, a position he says is dangerous and undermines faith in democracy.
  • Republican candidate Mark Finchem, currently the representative for Arizona’s 11th District in the state House, is running for secretary of state as he approaches his fourth and final term as a state legislator. Finchem has a background as a legislator, rancher, and police officer. Unlike Fontes, Finchem is running precisely because he holds reservations about the outcome of the 2020 election, contending that Trump rightfully won the presidential contest and should be in office at present. He promises that he will help “uphold the law,” as it pertains to election integrity. Finchem has supported policies like the removal of the early voting system and keeping online imaging records of ballots cast.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Washington, D.C.

@CarolinaLumetta


Leo Briceno

Leo is a graduate of Patrick Henry College. He reports on politics from Washington, D.C.


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