Arizona Democrat Adrian Fontes defeats Trump-backed candidate in secretary of state race

Democrat Adrian Fontes has won the race to be Arizona’s top election official, defeating Republican state Rep. Mark Finchem, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and has said he would not have certified President Biden’s win in the state.

Fontes, a former election official for Maricopa County, had called his opponent an election denier and “January 6 insurrectionist” because Finchem had attended the Jan. 6, 2021 Trump rally that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

He campaigned on increasing transparency in the secretary of state’s office and making voting easier for registered voters. The Associated Press called the race for Fontes Friday night.

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“I am honored to be presumptively elected Arizona’s next Secretary of State. I will make it my mission to bring us closer together than we have been during these last few years,” Fontes said in a statement.

“I promise to always honor and defend the ideal of fair and honest elections with the voters of Arizona and I will help reignite the flame of unity in our Republic,” he said.

As secretary of state, Fontes will be in charge of overseeing elections and is responsible for certifying voting machines, election results, candidates and ballot measures. Additionally, the secretary of state is first in line to succeed the governor in the event of death resignation, or removal from office, functioning similarly to a lieutenant governor in other states.

The race for governor in Ariz