In SOS race, Aguilar on track to beat election denier who wanted to be in charge of elections

By: - November 11, 2022 6:15 pm

Cisco Aguilar, left, repeatedly said Jim Marchant, right, was “not a serious leader, but the threat he represents is very serious.” (Photos: Jeniffer Solis; Marchant campaign)

Republican Jim Marchant, an election denier who warned he would “fix” the 2024 presidential election, is on track to lose his bid for secretary of state against Democrat Cisco Aguilar.

Marchant initially had a lead in the race, but that vanished after additional voting results were released Thursday, and Aguilar’s lead only grew after Clark County released a batch of votes Friday. With 93% of the vote counted, Aguilar had a nearly 14,000 vote lead over Marchant.

In a statement Friday night, Aguilar said it is the “honor of my life to be Nevada’s next Secretary of State and the first Latino to serve in this role,” and stressed the importance of ongoing efforts “to reject extremism and those who threaten our democracy.” 

Aguilar, a former staffer for Sen. Harry Reid who also served on the Nevada Athletic Commission for eight years, repeatedly said while campaigning that Marchant was “not a serious leader, but the threat he represents is very serious.”

Marchant, who garnered national attention for his full-throated support of former President Donald Trump and his baseless allegations of election fraud, was part of the America First Secretary of State Coalition. 

The group featured several candidates for secretary of state offices across the country running on false claims around the 2020 election and vowing to ensure Republican victories in 2024. Two of those candidates have been defeated, in Michigan and Minnesota. Another candidate, Republican Mark Finchem in Arizona, is trailing his Democratic opponent Adrian Fontes, in a race that had not yet been decided as of Friday night.

While speaking alongside Trump at a rally in Minden in October, Marchant told the crowd “when my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country get elected we’re going to fix the whole country and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024.” 

Ahead of the election, Aguilar warned voters that Marchant was “irresponsible and dangerous” and that if elected, Marchant and like-minded election deniers would “tear down the system because they don’t like it and it hasn’t benefited them.”

“All Nevadans will suffer because of him. Republicans… Nonpartisan. Democrats,” Aguilar said in an interview in October. Because there will be no voter confidence in the process because he is running the elections.”

Many Republicans, including Kristopher Dahir, who ran against Marchant in the primary, endorsed Aguilar. In an op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal, Dahir warned against electing those who “would tear down our electoral process.” 

Marchant was elected to the state Assembly in 2016 and served one term, but despite being elected to public office Marchant has falsely claimed there hasn’t been a fair election in Nevada since 2008.

His potential role as the state’s top election official makes his promotion of unfounded voter fraud conspiracies especially significant.

Marchant ran against U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford in 2020 and lost. Following his loss, he filed a lawsuit challenging the election results. That lawsuit was dismissed.

In December 2020, Marchant stood next to Nevada’s fake electors as they signed phony electoral college certificates that were sent to Congress, an action that would later be revealed as part of the plan hatched by Trump’s legal advisors to stop Joe Biden’s certification as president on Jan. 6, 2021.

Ahead of this year’s midterm elections, Marchant tried to convince several rural counties, including Nye County, to switch to hand-counting paper ballots alleging it would protect against unfounded claims of voter fraud.

While campaigning for office, Marchant said he wanted to get rid of early voting, despite his own use of early voting.

Aguilar has said his first legislative priority would be to introduce a bill, similar to one seen in Colorado, to criminalize attacks against election workers.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues.