Adrian Fontes (D) and Mark Finchem (R) running for Arizona secretary of state

Adrian Fontes (D) and Mark Finchem (R) are running for Arizona secretary of state on Nov. 8, 2022. Incumbent Katie Hobbs (D) is running for governor of Arizona.

Duties of the Arizona secretary of state include serving as the state’s chief election officer and keeping the state’s official records. As Arizona is one of five states that does not have a lieutenant governor position, the secretary of state also serves as acting governor when the governor is out of state and is first in the gubernatorial line of succession.

Fontes served as Maricopa County Recorder from 2017 to 2021. In his response to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey, Fontes highlighted his experience as county recorder, saying that he had “revolutionized Arizona’s elections by registering half a million new voters, providing direct outreach to traditionally underserved communities, and making voting free, fair, and accessible to all.” Fontes’ campaign website also says he “enhanced ballot tracking technology and increased process transparency[.]” The website says Fontes is “committed to preserving integrity in our elections, increasing transparency in the Secretary of State’s office, making voting easier for registered voters, and ensuring that Arizona’s business community has a partner in the Secretary’s office.”

Finchem was first elected to represent Arizona House of Representatives District 11 in 2014 and was re-elected three times. Finchem’s campaign ads highlight former President Donald Trump’s (R) endorsement, as well as Finchem’s response to the 2020 presidential election in Arizona. One ad says that “[w]hen Arizonans had concerns about their election, Mark Finchem had the courage to hold the Maricopa hearing that led to the Arizona audit” and says that Finchem “filed legislation to set aside the irredeemably compromised elections in three counties with large margins of error.” Finchem says he will “support law enforcement, clean the voter rolls for accuracy, prosecute fraud, secure [Arizona] elections, increase transparency, communicate with voters, and count all legal votes.”

Fontes’ campaign website says, “… Finchem will take away our right to vote, he will end vote by mail, he will overturn election results if he sees fit, and his radical agenda will threaten our economy. Mark Finchem is a member of the Oath Keepers, an extremist hate group who wants to overthrow the government. … If elected, Finchem would, as the official who oversees the state office administering the 2024 presidential election, have the power to possibly affect the outcome of the race.”

Finchem called Fontes “a lawless bad actor who has a history of criminal behavior who recklessly bungled both the 2018 and 2020 elections as the Maricopa County Recorder” and said he was “[George] Soros’ handpicked Marxist who will turn Arizona into California with open borders & rigged elections.” Finchem said, “Fontes does not respect the law, is a criminal who has served time in jail and rewrote law illegally and was rebuked by many on all sides for it.”

Hobbs was elected in 2018 with 50.4% of the vote to Steve Gaynor’s (R) 49.6%. Republicans hold the two other top executive positions in Arizona—governor and attorney general—meaning that neither major party has a triplex in the state. There are currently 23 Republican triplexes, 18 Democratic triplexes, and 9 divided governments where neither party holds triplex control.

This is one of 27 elections for secretary of state taking place in 2022.