Who Will Run Arizona’s Elections After 2022? Here’s Who is Running for Secretary of State.

Photos by Gage Skidmore, the Adrian Fontes Campaign.

By Robert Gundran

May 26, 2022

The 2020 election had the highest turnout in United State history, with almost 160 million voters casting a ballot nationwide, including nearly 3.4 million Arizonans.

The federal government said the 2020 election was the most secure election in the history of the United States. In Maricopa County—where the majority of Arizona voters reside—elections results were confirmed by what county officials describe as a “multi-layered forensic audit comprised of three separate audits.”

Statewide, Arizona’s 2020 election results were similarly verified, and in turn certified by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. The secretary of state is tasked with a variety of functions, including working with businesses, registering trademarks, and working to make elections secure and trustworthy. 

In Arizona, the secretary of state can serve two consecutive four-year terms, and cannot run again until four additional years have passed. 

Hobbs isn’t seeking a second term and is instead running for governor. 

Candidates on the ballot this year include Maricopa County’s former top election official, multiple members of the Arizona House of Representatives, a state senator, and a businessman. 

Here’s who will be on the ballot on the Aug. 2 primary election:

Shawnna Bolick

Bolick is a Republican state representative who represents parts of Phoenix and Glendale. She was elected in 2018 and reelected in 2020.

“Arizonans should be able to trust that their elections are conducted with integrity and transparency,” says a blurb on Bolick’s website. 

Bolick signed a letter going against the will of the voters after the 2020 election. She signed a letter supporting fake electors that would cast votes for Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 election, in the electoral college. 

She also signed a letter asking former Vice President Mike Pence to not certify the 2020 election. 

After the election, Ginni Thomas, wife of US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, contacted Bolick about blocking Biden’s victory in Arizona. 

After the reported contact with Thomas, Bolick co-sponsored a bill that would allow Arizona lawmakers to ignore the voters and choose who wins Arizona’s 11 electoral votes. 

Learn more about Bolick’s involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrection here.

Bolick is married to Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, who had to recuse himself over a case about disclosing records of the Republican-led “audit” of Maricopa County’s ballots. 

Shawnna Bolick supported the GOP’s “audit”, which was run by supporters of former President Donald Trump. 

Reginald Bolding

Bolding is a Democratic state representative representing the South Mountain area in Phoenix and parts of the Gila River Reservation. He has held office since 2015 and is the Minority Leader in the Arizona House of Representatives.

In a debate with fellow Democrat Adrian Fontes, Bolding said the Secretary of State’s Office could improve the transparency of elections by increasing communication with the public. 

He’s a supporter of early voting, which has come under attack by Republicans since the 2020 election. Early and mail-in voting has been a staple of Arizona’s election process for roughly 30 years. 

Mark Finchem

Finchem is a far-right Republican currently serving as a state representative in Arizona’s 11th legislative district. It covers parts of Pima and Pinal counties. He’s been in office since 2015. 

Finchem has ties to far-right groups such as the Oath Keepers, and was at the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. 

The Republican state representative was an ardent supporter of former President Trump and is a proponent of the Big Lie, a conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. 

He has been endorsed by a rogues gallery of conspiracy theorists, from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to convicted felon Michael Flynn to Trump himself. 

Finchem’s candidate website has a link to a petition to decertify the 2020 election—something that is not possible—and “set aside Arizona’s electors.” 

He has been issued a subpoena by the Jan. 6 Committee in Congress for his alleged role with organizers of a “Stop the Steal” rally that was planned at the US Capitol. 

Learn more about Finchem’s involvement with the Jan. 6 insurrection here.

Finchem has cited his belief that the election was stolen as reason to vote in favor of several restrictive voting bills, including House Bill 2289, a bill that would eliminate mail-in and absentee voting for most people and require election workers to collect all ballots and tabulate them on Election Day only. 

Adrian Fontes

Fontes was elected to the position of Maricopa County Recorder in 2016 The Democrat lost his reelection to current Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in 2020. 

On his candidate website he touts his time as recorder, where he said he “immediately got to work professionalizing the operation and implementing a comprehensive plan in advance of Election Day: securing polling locations, recruiting and training poll workers, and educating voters on where, when, and how to vote.”

Fontes has proposed giving voters access to ballot tracking statewide. He’s also proposed a way to provide counties throughout Arizona with resources to show digital images of all ballots without revealing the identity of who cast the ballot. 

Since leaving his position as county recorder, Fontes has turned his sights on helping to lead elections statewide. 

Beau Lane

Lane, a Republican, is a partner and executive chairman at Lane|Terralever, a Phoenix-based marketing agency that has worked with the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Zoo, and the McCain Institute. 

One of the key planks on his platform is that he will “fight for common-sense reforms in our elections.”

Those “common-sense” reforms include in-person voters showing ID, early vote ballots only being sent to Arizona residents, and keeping the voter rolls current. Lane’s proposed reforms, however, are anything but—everything outlined already exists in the current system. 

Lane has also used rhetoric that suggests citizens don’t have trust in the current election process, when polling has shown that to only be true for Republicans—not Democrats or independent voters, which make up 65% of Arizona’s electorate.

A national poll from NPR, PBS NewsHour, and Mairst posed the question “if your candidate for president does not win in 2024, do you trust that the results are accurate, or not?” Overall, 62% of respondents said they’d believe the results were accurate.Here’s how it broke down by party affiliation. 

  • 82% of Democrats said they’d trust the results
  • 68% of independent voters said they’d trust the results
  • 33% of Republicans said they’d trust the results

Michelle Ugenti-Rita

Ugenti-Rita, a Republican, has been a state senator since 2019. She previously served as a state representative from 2013 until she was elected to the state senate. 

She supported legislation in 2021 that would require voters in Arizona who vote by mail to include additional paperwork proving their identity. She also supported turning the permanent early voting list (PEVL) into the active early voting list (AEVL).

Arizonans used to be able to stay on voting rolls as long as they lived in the state by signing up for it online or at the MVD. Now Arizonans will be taken off the early voting list if they do not vote in two consecutive primary elections and general elections. 

Unlike other Republicans running for secretary of state, Ugenti-Rita has acknowledged that Joe Biden carried Arizona and won the White House back in November of 2020. 

However, she did vote in favor of the GOP’s highly partisan audit of Maricopa County ballots, an endeavor that did not adhere to professional auditing standards and protocol. But in the end, it gave the same results as the three audits performed prior: that there were no signs of widespread fraud and no proof that Trump somehow won Arizona. 

Ugenti-Rita will have an opportunity in future primary debates to separate herself from Republicans by denouncing the Big Lie and affirming that Biden won. 

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  • Robert Gundran

    Robert Gundran grew up in the Southwest, spending equal time in the Valley and Southern California throughout his life. He graduated from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2018 and wrote for The Arizona Republic and The Orange County Register.

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