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Many Republican candidates who denied or questioned the 2020 election result have lost their races

But the races involving election deniers in Arizona and Nevada remain too early to call.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem.
Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and state Rep. Mark Finchem of Arizona have questioned Joe Biden’s presidential victory.Matt Nighswander / NBC News; Getty Images; USA Today Network

Many Republican candidates who denied or questioned the results of the 2020 election lost their races for positions that oversee, defend and certify elections in crucial battlegrounds.

But the races involving such candidates in Arizona and Nevada remain too early to call, according to NBC News.

So-called election deniers ran in Senate and House races, as well for statewide offices that have major influence over elections, such as governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

But those candidates lost the races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general in Michigan; governor and Senate in Pennsylvania; Senate in New Hampshire and Wisconsin; and secretary of state in Minnesota and New Mexico.

They won, however, in the races for the Senate in Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as attorney general in Florida and Ohio.

In many of the races involving election deniers, candidates sought offices with the power to affect elections; some ran in pivotal battleground states where presidential election results have an outsize impact on the Electoral College outcome — and thus who wins the White House.

Senate candidates who questioned the 2020 result lost in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania

In New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan defeated Republican Don Bolduc, NBC News projects. Bolduc said during his primary that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, but he backtracked in recent weeks.

In Pennsylvania, Republican Mehmet Oz lost the Senate race to Democrat John Fetterman, according to NBC News.

Oz walked a finer line about his stance on the 2020 election. He said at a GOP primary debate in April that “we cannot move on from the 2020 election.” But more recently, he said he would have affirmed President Joe Biden’s victory in the Senate if he’d held office on Jan. 6, 2021.

Senators are responsible for affirming the certification of election results in their states — a tradition that was routine until Jan. 6, when supporters of Trump broke into the Capitol to try to prevent Biden’s win from being finalized.

Election deniers won Senate races in Ohio and Wisconsin

In the Ohio Senate race, J.D. Vance, who said this year, “I think the election was stolen from Trump,” defeated Democrat Tim Ryan, NBC News projects.

In the Wisconsin Senate race, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson beat Democrat Mandela Barnes. Johnson’s office was involved in an attempt to deliver fake elector materials to then-Vice President Mike Pence on Jan. 6. Johnson has acknowledged texting with one of Trump’s attorneys before and after his staff tried to deliver a package to Pence, but he has also said he knew nothing about the fake elector scheme.

Johnson initially said he’d object to certifying the Electoral College vote in key states on Jan. 6 but changed his mind after the riot and voted to certify.

Candidates who questioned the 2020 election result lost in seven key statewide races

The offices of governor, secretary of state and attorney general hold the power to fundamentally transform elections — including how they are administered and overseen, as well as a multitude of ways the results are defended and certified. Changes to those processes could affect the election in 2024, when Donald Trump might run.

In Michigan, election denying candidates lost their races for governor, secretary of state and attorney general.

Republican Tudor Dixon — who has said the 2020 election was stolen — lost t to Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer in the race for governor, NBC News projects. In Michigan's secretary of state race, Democratic incumbent Jocelyn Benson defeated Republican Kristina Karamo.

After having worked as a Detroit poll challenger in 2020, Karamo claimed she witnessed fraudulent absentee ballot-counting. She later testified before a Michigan Senate committee investigating election fraud allegations, which found no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud. Karamo has also said she believes that Trump won Michigan in 2020 (Biden won the state by more than 154,000 votes) and that left-wing anarchists planned the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In Michigan's attorney general race, Republican Matthew DePerno — who espoused debunked conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election result in Michigan — lost to Democratic incumbent Dana Nessel. DePerno filed a suit alleging sweeping voter fraud in the state, but both a state trial court judge and a state appeals court judge dismissed the suit.

In the election for governor in Pennsylvania, Republican Doug Mastriano, who repeatedly doubled down on false claims about the 2020 election, lost to Democrat Josh Shapiro, NBC News projects. Pennsylvania’s governor appoints the secretary of state, so the race packed an especially strong punch regarding the future of honoring election results.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers defeated Republican Tim Michels, NBC News projects. Michels at times signaled he would consider decertifying Biden’s win in the state, and he repeated the false claim the 2020 election in the state was rife with fraud. Although Michels has waffled at times, he said during the primary that he was open to efforts to decertify Biden’s win in the state, even though there is no legal path to rescind a state’s electoral votes.

Election deniers also lost their races for secretary of state in Minnesota and New Mexico, NBC News projects.

In Minnesota, Democratic incumbent Steve Simon defeated Republican Kim Crockett, who called the 2020 election results in Minnesota illegitimate and said the election was “rigged.”

In New Mexico, Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver defeated Republican challenger Audrey Trujillo, an outspoken election denier, NBC News projects. Trujillo called Biden’s win in 2020 a “coup,” according to The New York Times.

In Georgia, meanwhile, Brad Raffensperger, the Republican secretary of state who refused to bow to pressure from Trump to overturn the 2020 election, won re-election, NBC News projects.

Election deniers won two attorney general races in battleground states

In Florida and Ohio, Republican attorneys general Ashley Moody and Dave Yost won their re-election campaigns, NBC News projects. State attorneys general can launch or defend against election lawsuits that could affect how and which votes are counted.

Moody joined a lawsuit that sought to prevent four other states from certifying their 2020 election results. Yost filed briefs in support of the lawsuit.

Overall, at least 43 election deniers ran for governor, secretary of state or attorney general across 27 states, according to States United Action, a nonpartisan group that closely tracked such candidates throughout the 2022 election season. Some of those candidates promised or hinted at taking actions that could contribute to an even more robust effort to overturn the next presidential election.

Elections experts have said that an election denier who takes a key position in a battleground state could affect elections for years. For that reason, Democrats running against them argued that their opponents were dangers to the country and sought to make the election a referendum on democracy. However, over the course of the general election campaign, many GOP candidates backed off or waffled on direct claims of a stolen election.

Races in Arizona and Nevada are too early to call

Arizona is one of three states where election deniers are the GOP nominees for governor, secretary of state and attorney general. All three races remain too early to call, according to NBC News.

Kari Lake, the nominee for governor, has been in a tight race against Democrat Katie Hobbs, and Mark Finchem ran against Democrat Adrian Fontes for secretary of state. For attorney general, Abraham Hamadeh is up against Democrat Kris Mayes. All three have questioned Biden’s presidential victory or falsely said the election was stolen from Trump.

Finchem has ties to QAnon and the Oath Keepers, and he attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In Nevada, Jim Marchant — a Trump-endorsed election denier — ran against Democrat Cisco Aguilar for secretary of state. That race is also too early to call, according to NBC News.

Marchant has promised to get rid of all electronic voting machines, voting by mail and early voting. Instead, he has vowed to institute a “traceable paper-ballot-only” system that would rely only on hand counts. Marchant has also said he wouldn’t have certified the 2020 results in the state, which Biden won.

In an interview this year, Marchant said that if he is secretary of state in 2024, he won’t rule out advocating for an alternate slate of Trump electors if Trump is on the ballot and loses because of what he determines to be voter irregularities.

Marchant pushed for an alternate slate of electors in 2020 — a scheme now under investigation by the Justice Department. In addition, Marchant leads the pro-Trump America First Secretary of State Coalition, a group of candidates who have all falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen (members include Karamo, Finchem, Lake, Trujillo and Mastriano).

On the Senate side, Republicans Blake Masters in Arizona and Adam Laxalt in Nevada have both denied or questioned the 2020 outcome. Masters said, “I think Trump won in 2020,” and Laxalt played a prominent role in the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to overturn the election results in the state. Both races are too early to call, according to NBC News.

Meanwhile, Herschel Walker's Senate race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will advance to a runoff, NBC News projects, since neither candidate topped the 50% required under state law.

Walker has said Trump must “get to the bottom of who stole this election.”

CORRECTION (Nov. 9, 2022 2:36 p.m. ET): An earlier version of the graphic in this article miscounted the number of candidates projected to win. As of now it’s 13 candidates, not 14.