Adrian Fontes, a Democrat, defeated Mark Finchem, who had begun casting unfounded doubts on this year’s elections as it appeared that he might lose.
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Adrian Fontes, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state in Arizona, at an election night event in Phoenix.
Adrian Fontes, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state in Arizona, defeated Mark Finchem, a Republican state representative who has promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and marched to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The Associated Press called the race on Friday.
Mr. Fontes, the former Maricopa County recorder, will become the top election official in Arizona, a battleground state, preventing Mr. Finchem, one of the most vociferous proponents of election conspiracy theories, from taking over Arizona’s election apparatus.
As his fortunes began to fade, Mr. Finchem began asserting, without any evidence, that the 2022 election was marred by fraud, claiming on Twitter on Friday afternoon that there were “shenanigans that are obviously happening and have happened.”
On Thursday, Mr. Finchem tweeted: “Quick, check Katie Hobbs’ and Adrian Fontes’ location. Make sure they aren’t in the back room with ballots in Pima or Maricopa. I hope our GOP lawyers are following them everywhere.”
Mr. Fontes had called for calm and for everyone to “respect the process” as votes were being counted.
Mr. Finchem ran on a platform of drastically overhauling elections in Arizona, pledging to enact policies that had explicitly partisan goals and were likely to be at odds with state and federal laws. He called for a ban on early voting, sharp restrictions on mail-in ballots and ending the use of electronic vote-counting machines in Arizona. He had sued the state to eliminate vote-counting machines for this election.
A conservative member of Arizona’s House of Representatives who has in the past identified as a member of the Oath Keepers militia, Mr. Finchem gained prominence after the 2020 election, helping organize an unofficial hearing at a downtown Phoenix hotel featuring former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and playing a critical role in trying to advance a slate of fake Trump electors.
He became a leader of the movement to decertify the 2020 election and drafted a resolution in the Arizona House to do just that.
Distrust of American elections was core to his campaign. Mr. Finchem even cast doubt on the electoral process during his own successful primary election.