Mark Finchem sought to overturn the presidential race. Now he wants to run Arizona's elections

Andrew Oxford
Arizona Republic
State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, has touted his election fraud evidence — without specifics — at rallies, on social media and in interviews with conservative pundits.

One of the leaders of an effort to overturn the results of the presidential race in Arizona wants to oversee the next presidential election as secretary of state.

State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, filed a statement of interest Monday to run for the post, the first official step in a campaign to become Arizona's top election official.

Finchem previously hinted he might run for the office, having gained notoriety with his support for President Donald Trump and his claims of wrongdoing in the last election.

With Monday's filing, Finchem is collecting signatures to get on the ballot for the Republican primary. The field remains unsettled for the 2022 race, however.

State Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, is considering a campaign for secretary of state, for example. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, also is regularly mentioned as a prospective candidate.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs can run for a second term but is widely seen as a potential Democratic candidate for governor.

Elected to the House first in 2014 and re-elected just last year, Finchem has worked as a power supply consultant, a Realtor and an officer with the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department in Michigan. He cannot run for a seat in the chamber next year due to term limits.

"I am running for secretary of state because we can do more to protect the voting franchise of every legal voter in Arizona," Finchem said in a statement. "We can do better at providing transparency of who is lobbying for whom; we should improve the services that this multi-million dollar agency provides to consumers."

Finchem went on to argue that government can and should be more customer service oriented.

But the lawmaker said just a month ago it would be premature to wade into the race for secretary of state, or any 2022 contest for that matter. Finchem noted he had only begun his new term in the House.

"That’s two years of service to my constituents and I think that I've got work to do for two years. That's what they expect," he told Prescott eNews. "They've already hired for me for two years and I think it's poor form to begin pursuing another job while you're working for somebody."

Still, Finchem's public profile has grown since November.

In addition to making numerous appearances on the podcast of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, Finchem organized an event in Phoenix with legislators and Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani and was invited to speak at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when it was stormed by a mob.

The lawmaker has denied wrongdoing or even knowing the building was breached until later in the day, after he left the area. While he blamed violence on leftists — a widely debunked claim — he initially refused to comply with a request from The Arizona Republic for public records relating to his travels to Washington, D.C. that day.

Democrats subsequently called for his expulsion from the Legislature. He in turn sued a Democratic state representative for defamation and constituents have undertaken a recall campaign to oust him from office.

Contact Andrew Oxford at or on Twitter at @andrewboxford.