- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 20, 2022

The focus on elections in Arizona has led to an explosion in money being raised by candidates running to become the next secretary of state.

The Arizona Republic reported Thursday that the Republican and Democratic candidates seeking office have raised more than $2.2 million.

Former President Donald Trump’s stolen election claims, and his intense criticism of the results in Maricopa County, have generated more interest in candidates running to become the chief elections officer in states across the country.

In Arizona, Republican candidates Edward “Bea” Lane and state Rep. Mark Finchem had the biggest fundraising hauls, pulling in $716,000 and $663,000, respectively.

Mr. Trump endorsed Mr. Finchem, who has aggressively promoted the former president’s stolen election claims.

Democratic candidates Adrian Fontes and state Rep. Reginald Bolding raised roughly 385,000 and $199,000, respectively, in 2021.

Secretary of State Kate Hobbs, a Democrat who pushed back against Mr. Trump’s allegations, is running for governor.

A long-awaited audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County that was released in September showed President Biden defeated Mr. Trump by slightly more votes than certified in last year’s official count.

Republican leaders, though, said the review raises significant concerns about voter fraud and election security.

The GOP-led Maricopa Board of Supervisors picked apart the report, saying the allegations of voter fraud were proven to be bogus and dozens of the claims in the report were misleading or outright false.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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