Battleground state SOS winners relieved after denying the election deniers

By: - November 16, 2022 6:14 am

Members of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State spoke on the importance of defeating election deniers on the ballot this year. Clockwise from top left: DASS executive director Kim Rogers, Jena Griswold (CO), Adrian Fontes (AZ), and Cisco Aguilar (NV).

Voters in Nevada, along with other battleground states including Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Arizona, rejected election deniers running to become secretaries of state.

Members of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, including Cisco Aguilar who was recently elected in Nevada, spoke during a virtual press conference Tuesday about the importance of preventing those promoting conspiracy theories from obtaining the office.

Aguilar defeated Jim Marchant, who helped organize the America First Secretary of State Coalition, which sought to elect candidates to the office in order to oversee, and influence, the 2024 election.

Marchant garnered national attention for his full-throated support of former President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of election fraud.

Marchant in October asserted that “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.”

Aguilar called it a “great honor to defeat and take out the leader of the America First coalition.”

“He was out there peddling lies and misinformation to voters across the state and also across America, which was scary,” he said. “What he was doing was detrimental to the future of our country.”

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who also chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, said the election results rebuffed national polls that incorrectly indicated voters weren’t prioritizing democracy.

“You heard national pundits say over and over democracy was not top of mind,” she said. “Many of our races were predicted as a long shot. In the rest of the nation, the first election since Donald Trump tried to steal the presidency, the country lived up to its promise and its future. Democracy won the midterm elections.”

She added that not only were election deniers defeated in every battleground state, Democratic candidates also did better than other top-of-the-ticket candidates such as senators and governors.

Democratic incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak, who lost his re-election, received 474,446 votes against Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who garnered 490,431 votes.

Aguilar won 489,911 votes.

Not only are the election results a rejection of Trump, who endorsed Marchant, it shows Nevadans don’t support an extremist agenda based on conspiracy theories, Aguilar said.

“The chair of the America First coalition was sharing and peddling his ideas and policies and. Nevadans outright rejected him,” he said. “The fact that Trump’s own crony in Nevada didn’t work, I don’t see how it works in the future. People are tired of chaos.”

It wasn’t just in Nevada where Republicans and nonpartisans supported Democratic candidates.

Democrat Adrian Fontes, who recently won his election in Arizona, said Democrats only make up 30% of registered voters, meaning independent and Republican voters had to support democratic candidates.

Fontes defeated Mark Finchem, a member of the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers who attended the Jan. 6 insurrection.

““They understand it was not about politics,” Fontes said. “It was about country before party.”

In addition to safeguarding democracy and attempts to subvert elections, Aguilar said the newly elected secretaries of state can work to expand access to the ballot box and examine what does and doesn’t work for voters.

“The greatest example is this election cycle,” he said. “The first day of our two weeks of early voting, on the first day there was a massive dust storm throughout the (Las Vegas). People didn’t show up to vote in person because it wasn’t convenient for them. Then you look at the actual election day. We had a massive snow storm in northern Nevada. We had rain and wind in southern Nevada. Weather had an impact on turnout but people had options to vote and express their opinion of what they want to see in the future.”

He said he plans to work with the Legislature, which Democrats continue to control after last week’s election, in order to increase voter access. Aguilar also wants to introduce legislation criminalizing attacks against election workers

Though election deniers lost in 2022, Griswold warned they will more than likely resurface ahead of the 2024 election.

“While we celebrate our success in the midterms, I think we are all too aware that those same forces that were willing to try to attack the right to vote, to try to compromise across the country, will likely still be with us in 2024,” Griswold said.

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Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle

Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.

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