Republican Mark Finchem leads Adrian Fontes in Arizona secretary of state poll

Sep 21, 2022, 1:06 PM
From left, photos of Arizona secretary of state candidates Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes...
From left, Arizona secretary of state candidates Mark Finchem and Adrian Fontes. (Facebook Photos)
(Facebook Photos)

PHOENIX – Republican Mark Finchem, who doesn’t believe that President Joe Biden won in Arizona in 2020, leads Democratic opponent Adrian Fontes in the first notable poll for the secretary of state race.

The OH Predictive Insights poll of likely Arizona voters released Wednesday shows Finchem leading 40%-35%, although a quarter those surveyed were undecided.

The race was tighter among the key bloc of independents, who favored Finchem 31%-28%. A whopping 41% of independents were undecided.

The survey was conducted Sept. 6-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.83%.

Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights chief of research, said down-ticket races such as secretary of state tend to go along the lines of the generic ballot, which favors Republicans in Arizona.

“Mark Finchem is sitting in much better position, I think, than many would expect right now,” Noble told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“The question is, can he hold it?”

Finchem is a former Michigan police officer who retired to Arizona and became a state lawmaker for a rural district between Phoenix and Tucson. He was in Washington for Donald Trump’s speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, 2021, but there’s no evidence he participated when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol while Congress was certifying Biden’s victory.

Fontes, a veteran of the U.S. Marines, was the Maricopa County recorder for one term before losing his 2020 reelection bid.

Early voting in Arizona for the Nov. 8 general election starts Oct. 12.

Despite being less glamorous than the state’s races for governor and U.S. senator, the Arizona secretary of state contest has drawn national attention because of Finchem’s views on the 2020 presidential election.

The secretary of state’s duties include serving as Arizona’s chief election officer, and the position is first in the line of succession for governor.

Fontes and Finchem are featured in a new Time magazine cover story about secretary of state races involving candidates who don’t accept the 2020 results.

When asked about Biden’s narrow victory over Trump in Arizona, Finchem told Time, “It strains credibility. Isn’t it interesting that I can’t find anyone who will admit that they voted for Joe Biden?”

While appearing Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show, Fontes called Finchem’s statement “abject insanity.”

“Just because he personally doesn’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” Fontes said. “It’s insanity, abject insanity for him to say something like that.

“And frankly, all of Arizona ought to be embarrassed by it.”

Finchem did tell Time he would certify a Biden victory in 2024 “if there’s no fraud” before adding, “I think you’re proposing something that, quite frankly, is a fantasy.”

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Republican Mark Finchem leads Adrian Fontes in Arizona secretary of state poll