How Gov. Doug Ducey, moderate business leaders unwittingly helped Mark Finchem win

Mark Finchem on Aug. 2, 2022, at an election night party for Kari Lake. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy /Arizona Mirror

Opinion: The business community recruited Beau Lane and Gov. Doug Ducey supported him, stripping votes from the Republican with the best shot of winning in November.

By Abe Kwok |The Arizona Republic

The expectation after a bruising hyperpartisan primary is for the winners to begin a shift toward the center to attract the wider general election electorate.

This year’s victorious slate of “America First” GOP candidates will put that to the test.

The one facing the most challenging pivot is secretary of state wannabe Mark Finchem, provided he even wants to try.

Finchem, backed by former President Trump, handily beat three other Republicans on Tuesday.

Whoever won the GOP primary would have offered voters a sharp contrast against the Democratic nominee. The Republican candidates all favor a philosophy of tougher ID requirements and tighter access to voting that’s best captured by the slogan “easy to vote, hard to cheat.” The two Democrats view that approach as nothing more than voter suppression.

But in Finchem, the contrast is even more severe, darkly so.

Finchem couldn’t pivot away from this

Finchem is the Arizona face of the “Stop the Steal” movement behind the lie that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. He was a key planner of the Jan. 6, 2021, rally in Washington, D.C., that evolved into the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

As the mob laid siege, Finchem posted a photo of it at the Capitol steps and tweeted, “What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”

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