Mark Finchem, a Republican who was endorsed by former US President Donald Trump, won the GOP primary race for Arizona’s Secretary of State. Finchem was also part of the rally that attacked the US Capitol on January 6 last year.

Finchem received more than 40% of the votes in Tuesday’s primary elections. The conservative politician bested Republican rivals like Shawna Bolick, Beau Lane and Michelle Ugenti-Rita.

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Finchem also is suing in federal court with a leading GOP contender for Arizona governor to block the use of vote-counting machines in Arizona. The lawsuit contends they are potentially prone to hacking that can change votes. A judge is considering whether to throw out the case.

Finchem’s claims come despite the lack of valid evidence of any widespread fraud that would have changed the result in Arizona, where Biden beat Trump by just over 10,000 votes. He maintains that “fictitious ballots” marred the results.

“So for you to say that there’s no evidence, I think the media is willfully disregarding the evidence that’s out there,” Finchem said.

Why is this race important?

Arizona’s office of the Secretary of State is currently held by Katie Hobbs, who also contested the primaries on Tuesday for the governor’s office and won. If Hobbs quits and no Democratic wins the November general elections, the office would go to Mark Finchem.

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The Secretary of State overlooks any possible election irregularities and also has the final administrative call on electoral decisions. Donald Trump’s “rigged election” claim was nixed by Arizona’s Secretary of State. 

The other two Republican candidates were state Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who acknowledges Biden’s victory and has made election reform a key focus during her 12 years in the state, and Beau Lane, a businessman and political newcomer who has earned the endorsement of Republican governor Doug Ducey.