NBC News projects that Democrat Adrian Fontes, a former Marine, prosecutor and county elections official, has won the Arizona secretary of state over an election-denying Republican who was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Fontes’ victory is sure to provoke some small sigh of relief from those who were worried about American elections being overseen by people promoting former President Donald Trump’s big lie. In Arizona, the secretary of state also steps into the role of governor if the governor can’t complete a term.
Fontes’ opponent Republican Mark Finchem, who has described himself as a member of the Oath Keepers, unsuccessfully filed suit to ban voting machines in Arizona and co-sponsored failed legislation that would have allow the legislature to reward the state’s Electoral College votes to a candidate of the legislature’s choosing.
In a September interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Fontes said he wanted to run the office “so that it is smooth, so that we do have free and fair elections, so that we do have predictable government, rational government, and not just weird chaos, which is what my opponent is presenting. And we just want things to work normally, right? And that’s really how the process is supposed to work.”