Election lies boost the bottom lines of prominent Republican candidates

click to enlarge Election lies boost the bottom lines of prominent Republican candidates
Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Mirror
A person holds a Stop the Steal sign at a rally at the Arizona Capitol on Jan. 26, 2022, in favor of House Bill 2596, which would make sweeping changes to how elections are conducted in Arizona. The biggest change would be to allow the legislature to overturn election results for any reason, but it also would require all ballots to be hand-counted within 24 hours of the polls closing and would end on-demand early voting, which is used by about 80% of Arizona voters.

A handful of Arizona Republican candidates who have built national profiles by embracing former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election found their campaigns getting a big financial boost from voters outside Arizona in the first three months of 2022.

State Sen. Wendy Rogers, perhaps the legislature’s most vocal proponent of the thoroughly debunked theories that the 2020 election was somehow rigged against Trump, raised more than any other legislative candidate in the first quarter. The lion’s share of that money — almost 70% — came from out-of-state.

Rogers raised nearly $360,000 during the first three months of the year, and $250,000 came from donors in other states. She received nearly as much money from California, Florida, Texas and Pennsylvania as she did from Arizona. (Rogers in 2021 raised a record amount for a legislative candidate, and more than many of the candidates seeking statewide office.)

Mark Finchem, one of Rogers’ conspiracy theory comrades-in-arms in the legislature, also capitalized on his embrace of election lies — which earned him Trump’s endorsement — in his bid to be secretary of state. Nearly two of every three dollars that Finchem raised came from outside Arizona. Of the $270,000 that Finchem raised in the quarter, nearly $174,000 was from out-of-state. Voters in Florida, California and Georgia gave the most to Finchem.

And Kari Lake, Trump’s pick to be Arizona’s next governor, also raked in cash from across the country. The former local news anchor led the gubernatorial field in fundraising for the quarter, buttressed by more than 3,300 contributions from outside Arizona totaling $254,000.

But the lies about the 2020 election didn’t only benefit the Republicans who have made them a central part of their campaigns. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs became the face of Democratic opposition to GOP efforts to question the election during the partisan election “audit” in 2021, appearing regularly on national news shows where she criticized the state Senate’s review of Maricopa County’s election.

Hobbs raised nearly half of her money outside Arizona, raking in $335,000 from out-of-state.