Fontes, a former top elections official for Maricopa County, will succeed Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor.
Finchem was among a host of GOP candidates for statewide office who have repeatedly cast doubt over Joe Biden’s presidential victory or falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump in Arizona.
Last year, Trump backed Finchem's candidacy and highlighted his record of defending the stolen election claims. “Mark was willing to say what few others had the courage to say” about the 2020 election, Trump said in offering his public support.
As a state legislator, Finchem has introduced several resolutions seeking to decertify the results of the 2020 election in three major Arizona counties, as well as a bill that would give the Legislature the power to reject election results. He also supported a partisan review of Maricopa County’s election results, even though the review reaffirmed Biden’s victory.
With his loss, Finchem joins numerous other election deniers who fell short on Election Day. In Michigan, election deniers lost bids for governor, secretary of state and attorney general. Republican Doug Mastriano, a prominent election denier in Pennsylvania who was on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, lost his bid for governor, along with similar GOP gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota and New Mexico.
Other prominent election deniers in Arizona, including attorney general candidate Abraham Hamadeh and Kari Lake, the party's pick for governor, are still locked in tight races with their opponents several days after the election.