A new Issue One analysis shows that election-denying secretary of state candidates collectively raised $15.7 million — including $8.9 million raised by election deniers who prevailed in their primaries and are on the ballot on Nov. 8.
Individuals who have denied the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election emerged as the Republican Party’s nominees in 11 of the 27 secretary of state races on the ballot this November, according to States United Action. One of them, in Wyoming, doesn’t even have a general election opponent, meaning he is on a glide path to becoming the next secretary of state after winning a competitive primary in August.
In each of the six secretary of state races featuring election deniers that are considered competitive, election-denying GOP candidates collected six- — if not seven- — figure sums, including in the battleground state of Arizona, where election denier Mark Finchem has raised more than $2 million — more than any other election denier across the country running for secretary of state.
Democratic candidates are also raising sizable sums, and they have outraised their election denier opponents in five of the six most competitive states — Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Mexico. The exception is Indiana, where election denier Diego Morales has raised roughly $1.50 for every $1 raised by Destiny Scott Wells, his Democratic opponent.
Despite Democratic candidates’ fundraising advantages in the bulk of the most highly-contested races, polls show close contests in these states.
“Once-sleepy secretary of state races are seeing an unprecedented amount of money,” said Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman. “The 2020 election was a wake-up call about what’s at stake in these secretary of state races.”
Penniman continued: “These new fundraising figures show that defenders of our democratic processes and freedom to vote are opening up their wallets to support people who respect the rule of law. But they are not the only ones doing so. Donors who appear to be moved by election conspiracy theories and disinformation are helping their preferred candidates rake in substantial political war chests, including in the battleground states of Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada.”
As Issue One’s “Who’s Bankrolling Election Deniers?” report previously noted, some of the notable donors bankrolling election-denying secretary of state candidates include former Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, founder of shipping supply company Uline Richard Uihlein, and Lewis Topper, the largest Wendy’s franchisee in the country.
The table below outlines how much money the Republican and Democratic secretary of state candidates have raised in the 11 races featuring an election denier:
Note: Numbers are subject to change as additional campaign finance filings will be submitted in the weeks ahead. In Connecticut, both Republican Dominic Rapini and Democrat Stephanie Thomas have collected large sums in part because each has received $1.45 million from Connecticut’s public financing program.