Reports July 29, 2022

Replacing the Refs

Incumbents from both parties who defended the legitimate results of the 2020 election are attracting Election Denier challengers or primary opponents. In some states, more than one Election Denier ran or is slated to run in the primary.
Issue Areas
Last updated: July 28, 2022

TRACKING THE TREND OF ELECTION DENIERS RUNNING FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE IN 2022

A project of States United Action

Across the country, politicians who won’t accept the result of the last election are seeking control over future elections. If these Election Deniers succeed, they could have the power to interfere with nonpartisan election administration and put our free, fair, and secure elections at risk.

The Replacing the Refs tracker follows Election Deniers running for governor, secretary of state, and attorney general in 2022. These state officials are the referees of our democracy. They run elections, supervise vote counts, certify results, and defend the will of the voters in court. 

Election Deniers are running on lies and conspiracy theories, and they are a threat to our democracy. Giving them power over our elections would be like putting arsonists in charge of the fire department.

The data below tracks Election Denier candidates, state by state. We are following these contests throughout the midterm cycle. As filing deadlines pass, primaries occur, and more information becomes available, we will update the tracker.

 


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The Election Denier Landscape

Elections are national events, but they’re run by the states. That means the state officials who oversee elections—governors, secretaries of state, and attorneys general—are on the front lines of our democracy. 

Campaigning on lies and conspiracy theories, Election Deniers are now seeking these jobs and positions across the country in a coordinated attack on the freedom to vote. The stakes for democracy are as high as they were on January 6, 2021. 

It’s time for every American voter to pay attention. This isn’t a partisan issue, and these aren’t just fringe candidates. Election lies are showing up in the platforms of politicians with years of government service as well as candidates seeking office for the first time. Incumbents from both parties who did the right thing and defended the legitimate results in 2020 have drawn Election Denier challengers this year. 

In 2022, 39 states and the District of Columbia have races for governor, attorney general, and/or secretary of state across the country. So far, 22 states1AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, ME, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX Note: LA doesn’t have a primary, and NY will hold special primaries for House seats only in August, despite holding Gubernatorial primaries in June. and the District of Columbia have held primaries or chosen general election candidates for statewide office, with 17 states to go. As of July 28, more than half (60 percent) of secretary of state contests include an Election Denier. In addition, more than one third (40 percent) of governor and attorney general races currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot.

There are still five states with Election Deniers running for all three top statewide positions—Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Four of these states have primaries in August.  

It’s important to keep the overall trends in mind. Election Deniers haven’t swept their races, but they are heading to the general election in a number of states. However, with some important exceptions, Republican incumbents who refused to embrace election lies have fended off Election Denier candidates. 

Looking at the 22 states2AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, ME, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX Note: LA doesn’t have a primary, and NY will hold special primaries for House seats only in August, despite holding Gubernatorial primaries in June. that have already chosen general election candidates for statewide office, Election Deniers are moving on to the November election in at least one in four races for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

While voters have often rejected Election Deniers at the ballot box in the primaries, Americans should be concerned that Election Deniers are succeeding anywhere. A single Election Denier in a single state could throw our elections into chaos and confusion.

An informed voter is a powerful voter. Election Deniers are on the ballot in many state primaries in August, including all 11 primaries for secretary of state. And pro-democracy candidates of both parties will be on the ballot in the general election this fall. It’s never been more important for our state leaders to believe in free, fair, and secure elections.  

The trend of Election Denier candidates is part of a much broader movement against democracy. In state legislatures, partisan politicians are trying to rewrite election rules in hopes of locking in the outcomes they want. As of May, legislatures in 33 states were considering 229 bills to politicize, criminalize, or interfere with elections. 50 such bills have been enacted or adopted since the beginning of 2021.    

The anti-democracy playbook is simple: If you change the rules of elections, and you change the referees who oversee elections, you can change the results. 

Alaska Arizona Colorado Connecticut Florida Idaho Indiana Alabama Kansas Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Nevada New Mexico New York Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Texas Vermont Washington Wisconsin Wyoming
  • Alabama

    In the Alabama general election, there are three Election Deniers running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. Alabama is one of five states where an Election Denier is running for all three positions with election oversight. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Jared Budlong (O)
    • James ‘Jimmy’ Blake (L)
    • Yolanda Flowers (D)
    • Kay Ivey (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier

    Attorney General

    • Wendell Major (D)
    • Steve Marshall (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier

    Secretary of State

    • Wes Allen (R) – Election Denier
    • Pamela Lafitte (D)
    • Jason ‘Matt’ Shelby (L)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Alabama has had four bills introduced, and one already adopted, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Alabama votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Alaska

    In the Alaska primary, there are three Election Deniers running for governor. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Mike Dunleavy (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier 
    • David Haeg (D or R)
    • Joh Wayne Howe (O)
    • William Nemec (O)
    • William S. ‘Billy’ Toein (L)
    • Les Gara (D)
    • Christopher Kurka (R) – Election Denier
    • Charlie Pierce (R) – Election Denier
    • Bruce Walden (R)
    • Bill Walker (O)

    Attorney General – NO RACE 

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Alaska has had six bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Alaska votes for their next Governor in the non-partisan primary on Aug. 16.

  • Arizona

    In the Arizona primary, there are seven Election Deniers running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. Arizona is one of just six states where an Election Denier is running for all three positions with election oversight. These candidates, who deny the  unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Katie Hobbs (D)
    • Kari Lake (R) – Election Denier
    • Marco Lopez (D)
    • Scott Neely (R) – Election Denier
    • Karrin Taylor Robson (R)
    • Paola ‘Z’ Tulliani Zen (R) – Election Denier

    Attorney General

    • Lacy Cooper (R)
    • Rodney Glassman (R) – Election Denier
    • Andrew Gould (R)
    • Dawn Grove (R)
    • Abraham Hamadeh (R) – Election Denier
    • Kris Mayes (D)
    • Tiffany Shedd (R)

    Secretary of State

    • Reginald Bolding (D)
    • Shawnna Bolick (R) – Election Denier
    • Mark Finchem (R) – Election Denier
    • Adrian Fontes (D)
    • Beau Lane (R)
    • Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the Arizona state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Arizona has had 31 bills introduced, and one already adopted, that would  politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Arizona votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary on Aug. 2.

     

     

  • Colorado

    In the Colorado general election, there is one Election Denier running for governor. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Jarred Ahrend (O)
    • Heidi Ganahl (R)
    • Vande Krol (O)
    • Danielle Neuschwanger (O) – Election Denier
    • Jared Polis (D) – Incumbent
    • Paul Willmon (O)
    • Kevin Ruskusky (L)
    • Paul Fiorino (O)
    • William ‘Bill’ Stevens (L)
    • Ralph Tingle (O)
    • Zachary Varon (O)

    Attorney General

    • John Kellner (R)
    • William Robinson (L)
    • Phil Weiser (D) – Incumbent

    Secretary of State

    • Pam Anderson (R)
    • Amanda Campbell (O)
    • Walter James Rutledge (L)
    • Gary Swing (O)
    • Jeffrey Orrok (O)
    • Jena Griswold (D) – Incumbent

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Colorado has had  one bill introduced that would  politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.
    Colorado votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

     

  • Connecticut

    In the Connecticut primary, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable  results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Ernestine Holloway (O)
    • Robert Hotaling (O)
    • Ned Lamont (D) – Incumbent
    • Aaron Lewis (L)
    • Michelle Louise Bicking (G)
    • Bob Stefanowski (R)

    Attorney General

    • Jessica Kordas (R)
    • William Tong (D) – Incumbent

    Secretary of State

    • Maritza Bond (D)
    • Cynthia Jennings (O)
    • Douglas Lary (G)
    • Dominic Rapini (R) – Election Denier
    • Hilda Santiago (D)
    • Stephanie Thomas (D)
    • Terrie Wood (R)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Connecticut votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary on Aug. 9.

  • Florida

    In the Florida primary, there are two Election Deniers running for governor and attorney general. These candidates, who deny the  unquestionable  results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Piotr Blass (Write-in) (O)
    • Charlie Crist (D)
    • Candance Daniel (D)
    • Ron DeSantis (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier 
    • Nikki Fried (D)
    • Kyle Gibson (Write-in) (O)
    • Carmen Jackie Gimenez (O)
    • Jodi Gregory Jeluoudov (O)
    • Hector Roos (L)
    • James Thompson (Write-in) (O)
    • Robert Willis (D)

    Attorney General

    • Aramis Ayala (D)
    • Jim Lewis (D)
    • Ashley Moody (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier
    • Daniel Uhlfelder (D)

    Secretary of State – NO RACE (DeSantis appointed Cord Byrd)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Florida has had three bills introduced, and one already adopted, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.
    Florida votes for its next governor and attorney general in the primary on Aug. 23.

  • Idaho

    In the Idaho general election, there is one Election Denier running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. These are candidates who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Ammon Bundy (O)
    • Chantyrose Davison (O)
    • Stephen Heidt (D)
    • Brad Little (R) – Incumbent
    • Paul Sand (L)

    Attorney General

    • Tom Arkoosh (D)
    • Raúl Labrador (R) –Election Denier

    Secretary of State

    • Shawn Keenan (D)
    • Phil McGrane (R)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Idaho votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Indiana

    In the Indiana general election, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor – NO RACE  

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State

    • Jeff Maurer (L)
    • Diego Morales (R) –Election Denier 
    • Destiny Wells (D)
    • David Wetterer (Write-in) (O)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Indiana has had four bills introduced, and one already adopted, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Indiana votes for its next secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Kansas

    In the Kansas primary, there are three Election Deniers running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. Kansas is one of five states where an Election Denier is running for all three positions with election oversight. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Arlyn Briggs (R)
    • Seth Cordell (L)
    • Richard Karnowski (O)
    • Laura Kelly (D) – Incumbent
    • Dennis Pyle (O)
    • Derek Schmidt (R) – Election Denier 

    Attorney General

    • Kris Kobach (R) –Election Denier 
    • Chris Mann (D)
    • Tony Mattivi (R)
    • Kellie Warren (R)

    Secretary of State

    • Mike Brown (R) –Election Denier 
    • Cullene Lang (L)
    • Jeanna Repass (D)
    • Scott Schwab (R) – Incumbent

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Kansas has had eight bills introduced, and one already adopted, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Kansas votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on  Aug. 2.

  • Maine

    In the Maine general election, there is one Election Denier running for governor. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Sam Hunkler (O)
    • Paul LePage (R) – Election Denier 
    • Janet Mills (D) – Incumbent

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State- NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Maine votes for its next governor in the general election on  Nov. 8.

  • Maryland

    In the Maryland general election, there are two Election Deniers running for governor and attorney general. These candidates, who deny the  unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Dan Cox (R) – Election Denier
    • Wes Moore (D)
    • David Harding (O)
    • David Lashar (L)
    • Kyle Sefcik (O
    • Nancy Wallace (G)

    Attorney General

    • Anthony Brown (D)
    • Michael Peroutka (R) – Election Denier

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Maryland votes for its next governor and attorney general in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Massachusetts

    In the Massachusetts primary, there are two Election Deniers running for governor or secretary of state. These candidates, who deny the  unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Geoff Diehl (R) – Election Denier 
    • Yen Diep (O)
    • Chris Doughty (R)
    • Maura Healey (D)
    • Luis Perez (O)
    • Dianna Ploss (O)

    Attorney General

    • Andrea Campbell (D)
    • Shannon Liss-Riordan (D)
    • Jay McMahon (R)
    • Quentin Palfrey (D)

    Secretary of State

    • Rayla Campbell (R) – Election Denier
    • William Galvin (D) – Incumbent
    • Tanisha Sullivan (D)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Massachusetts votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Sept. 6.

  • Michigan

    In the Michigan primary, there are eight Election Deniers running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state.  Michigan is one of just five states where an Election Denier is running for all three positions with election oversight. These candidates, who deny the  unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Donna Brandenburg (O) – Election Denier
    • Mary Buzuma (L)
    • Destiny Clayton (G)
    • James Craig (Write-In) (R)
    • Tudor Dixon (R) – Election Denier
    • Kevin Hogan (G)
    • Ryan Kelley (R) – Election Denier 
    • Ralph Rebandt (R) – Election Denier 
    • Kevin Rinke (R)
    • Garrett Soldano (R) – Election Denier 
    • Gretchen Whitmer (D) – Incumbent

    Attorney General

    • Joe McHugh (L) – Election Denier
    • Matthew DePerno (R) – Election Denier
    • Dana Nessel (D) – Incumbent

    Secretary of State

    • Jocelyn Benson (D) – Incumbent
    • Larry Hutchinson (G)
    • Kristina Karamo (R) – Election Denier
    • Gregory Stempfle (L)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Michigan has had 10 bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Michigan votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 2.

  • Minnesota

    In the Minnesota primary, there are five Election Deniers running for attorney general or secretary of state. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Bob ‘Again’ Carney Jr. (R)
    • Scott Jensen (R)
    • Joyce Lynne Lace (R)
    • James McCaskel (O)
    • Hugh McTavish (O)
    • Steve Patterson (O)
    • Darrell Paulsen (O)
    • Gabrielle Prosser (O)
    • Ole Savior (D)
    • Tim Walz (D) – Incumbent
    • Chris Wright (O)

    Attorney General

    • Sharon Anderson (R) – Election Denier 
    • Bill Dahn (D)
    • Keith Ellison (D) – Incumbent
    • Jim Schultz (R)
    • Doug Wardlow (R) – Election Denier

    Secretary of State

    • Steve Carlson (D) – Election Denier 
    • Kim Crockett (R) – Election Denier
    • Steve Simon (D) – Incumbent
    • Erik van Mechelen (R) – Election Denier 

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Minnesota has had 12 bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Minnesota votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 9. 

  • Nevada

    In the Nevada general election, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Bradley Beck (O)
    • Austin Billings (O)
    • Ed Bridges (O)
    • Brandon Davis (L)
    • Joe Lombardo (R)
    • Monique Richardson (O)
    • Steve Sisolak (D) – Incumbent

    Attorney General

    • Sigal Chattah (R)
    • Aaron Ford (D) – Incumbent
    • John Kennedy (L)

    Secretary of State

    • Francisco ‘Cisco’ Aguilar (D)
    • Ross Crane (L)
    • Janine Hansen (O)
    • Jim Marchant (R) – Election Denier 

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Nevada votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on  Nov. 8.

  • New Mexico

    In the New Mexico general election, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Karen Bedonie (L)
    • Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) – Incumbent
    • Mark Ronchetti (R)

    Attorney General

    • Jeremy Gay (R)
    • Raul Torrez (D)

    Secretary of State

    • Mayna Myers (L)
    • Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D) – Incumbent
    • Audrey Trujillo (R) – Election Denier 

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    New Mexico votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • New York

    In the New York general election, there is one Election Denier running for governor. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Howie Hawkins (G)
    • Kathy Hochul (D) – Incumbent
    • Larry Sharpe (L)
    • Lee Zeldin (R) – Election Denier 
    • Alex Zapesochny (O)

    Attorney General

    • Sean Hayes (O)
    • Michael Henry (R)
    • Letitia James (D) – Incumbent

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. New York has had one bill introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    New York votes for its next governor and attorney general in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Ohio

    In the Ohio general election, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Michael DeWine (R) — Incumbent
    • Timothy Grady (O)
    • Nan Whaley (D)

    Attorney General

    • Jeffrey Crossman (D)
    • Dave Yost (R) — Incumbent

    Secretary of State

    • Chelsea Clark (D)
    • Frank LaRose (R) – Incumbent
    • Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman (O) – Election Denier 

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Ohio votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

     

  • Pennsylvania

    In the Pennsylvania general election there is one Election Denier running for governor. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Christina Digiulio (G)
    • Matt Hackenburg (L)
    • Doug Mastriano (R) – Election Denier 
    • Joshua Shapiro (D)
    • Jospeh Soloski (O)

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Pennsylvania has had 13 bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Pennsylvania votes for its next governor in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Rhode Island

    In the Rhode Island primary, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Emmanuel Adjei (R)
    • James Aubin (L)
    • Matt Brown (D)
    • Kalilu Camara (D)
    • Michael Costa (R)
    • Helena Foulkes (D)
    • Elijah Gizzarelli (L)
    • Nellie Gorbea (D)
    • Rey Herrera Jr. (R)
    • Zachary Hurwitz (O)
    • Ashley Kalus (R)
    • Dan McKee (D) – Incumbent
    • Luis Daniel Muñoz (D)
    • CD Reynolds (O)
    • Paul Rianna Jr. (O)
    • Jonathan Riccitelli (R)
    • Richard Spinney (O)

    Attorney General

    • Charles Calenda (R)
    • Alan Gordon (O)
    • Rebecca McLaughlin (O)
    • Peter Neronha (D) – Incumbent

    Secretary of State

    • Gregg Amore (D)
    • Anne Armstrong (O) – Election Denier 
    • Stephanie Beaute (D)
    • Pat Cortellessa (R)
    • Anthony Tamba (D)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Rhode Island has had two bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Rhode Island votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Sept. 13.

  • South Carolina

    In the South Carolina general election, there is one Election Denier running for attorney general. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Jokie Beckett Jr (O)
    • Michael Copland (O)
    • Joe Cunningham (D)
    • Henry McMaster (R) – Incumbent
    • Bruce Reeves (L)
    • Gary Votour (O)

    Attorney General

    • Alan Wilson (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier 

    Secretary of State

    • Rosemounda Peggy Butler (D)
    • Mark Hammond (R) – Incumbent

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. South Carolina has had five bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    South Carolina votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Tennessee

    In the Tennessee primary, there is one Election Denier running for governor. This candidate, who denies the  unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Carnita Atwater (D)
    • Constance Every (O)
    • John Anthony Gentry (O)
    • Bill Lee (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier 
    • Basil Marceaux (O)
    • Jason Martin (D)
    • Charles Morgan (O)
    • Alfred O’Neil (O)
    • Deborah Rouse (O)
    • Michael Scantland (O)
    • JB Smiley Jr. (D)
    • Rick Tyler (O)

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Tennessee has had 18 bills introduced, and three already adopted, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Tennessee votes for its next governor in the primary election on Aug. 4.

  • Texas

    In the Texas general election, there are two Election Deniers running for governor or attorney general. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Greg Abbott (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier 
    • Delilah Barrios (G)
    • Raul Cortina (O)
    • Deirdre Dickson-Gilbert (O)
    • Beto O’Rourke (D)
    • Chioma Okoro (O)
    • Mark Jay Tippetts (L)
    • Ricardo Turullols-Bonilla (O)

    Attorney General

    • Mark Ash (L)
    • Rochelle Garza (D)
    • Ken Paxton (R) – Incumbent + Election Denier  

    Secretary of State – NO RACE

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Texas votes for its next governor and attorney general in the general election on Nov. 8.

  • Vermont

    In the Vermont primary, there is one Election Denier running for attorney general and secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Stephen C. Bellows (R)
    • Susan Hatch Davis (O)
    • Peter Duval (R)
    • Phil Scott (R) – Incumbent
    • Brenda Siegal (D)

    Attorney General

    • Elijah Bergman (O)
    • Charity R. Clark (D)
    • H. Brooke Paige (R) – Election Denier 
    • Rory Thibault (D)

    Secretary of State

    • Sarah Copeland Hanzas (D)
    • Robert Millar (O)
    • John Odum (D)
    • H. Brooke Paige (R) – Election Denier 
    • Christopher Winters (D)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    Vermont votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 9.

  • Washington

    In the Washington primary, there is one Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor – NO RACE

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State

    • Julie Anderson (O)
    • Tamborine Borrelli (R) – Election Denier
    • Kurtis Engle (O)
    • Bob Hagglund (R)
    • Steve Hobbs (D)– Incumbent
    • Mark Miloscia (R)
    • Marquez Tiggs (D)
    • Keith Wagoner (R)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Washington has had four bills introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Washington votes for its next secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 2.

  • Wisconsin

    In the Wisconsin primary, there are seven Election Deniers running for governor, attorney general, or secretary of state. Wisconsin is one of just five states where an Election Denier is running for all three positions with election oversight. These candidates, who deny the unquestionable  results from 2020, are vying for offices with election administration power. The people elected to these positions will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting our future elections.

    Governor

    • Joan Ellis Beglinger (O)
    • Tony Evers (D) – Incumbent
    • Adam Fischer (R) – Election Denier
    • Rebecca Kleefisch (R) – Election Denier 
    • Tim Michels (R) – Election Denier
    • Timothy Ramthun (R) – Election Denier

    Attorney General

    • Adam Jarchow (R)
    • Josh Kaul (D) – Incumbent
    • Karen Mueller (R) – Election Denier
    • Eric Toney (R)

    Secretary of State

    • Neil Harmon (L)
    • Douglas La Follette (D) – Incumbent
    • Amy Loudenbeck (R)
    • Sharyl McFarland (G)
    • Alexia Sabor (D)
    • Justin Daniel Schmidtka (R) – Election Denier
    • Jay Schroeder (R) – Election Denier

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Wisconsin has had 36 bills introduced, and two already adopted but vetoed, that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Wisconsin votes for its next governor, attorney general, and secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 9.

  • Wyoming

    In the Wyoming primary, there is an Election Denier running for secretary of state. This candidate, who denies the unquestionable results from 2020, is vying for an office with election administration power. The people elected to any of the three statewide election oversight roles will be responsible for running, overseeing, and protecting future elections.

    Governor

    • Brent Bien (R)
    • Mark Gordon (R) – Incumbent
    • Theresa A. Livingston (D)
    • James Quick (R)
    • Rex Rammell (R)
    • Rex Wilde (D)

    Attorney General – NO RACE

    Secretary of State

    • Mark Armstrong (R)
    • Chuck Gray (R) – Election Denier 
    • Tara Nethercott (R)

    The duties and election administration roles of these positions complement each other, so having an Election Denier in any one of these positions can undermine efforts to protect the vote and the will of the people.

    At the same time, Election Denier allies in the state legislature are trying to change how elections are run. Wyoming has had one bill introduced that would politicize, criminalize, or interfere with election administration. It’s all connected, and any American who cares about the freedom to vote should be very concerned.

    Wyoming votes for its next governor and secretary of state in the primary election on Aug. 16.

Governors

In 2022, 36 states have contests for governor. As of July 28, 2022, at least 26 Election Deniers are running for governor in 15 states. More than one third (40 percent) of races for governor currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot.

For a full breakdown of the Election Denier landscape for governor in 2022 and their role in election administration, click here.

Attorneys General

In 2022, 30 states and the District of Columbia have contests for attorney general. As of July 28, at least 15 Election Deniers are running for attorney general in 12 states. More than one third (40 percent) of races for attorney general currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot. 

For a full breakdown of the Election Denier landscape for attorney general in 2022 and their role in election administration, click here.

Secretaries of State

In 2022, 27 states 3In Illinois and Wisconsin, the Secretary of State signs the certificate of ascertainment but does not oversee election administration. There is a push by a number of Wisconsin candidates running in 2022 to change the duties of the office. In Alaska, the Lieutenant Governor oversees election administration. In South Carolina, the executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission administers elections.   have contests for secretary of state. As of July 28, at least 20 Election Deniers are running for secretary of state in 16 states. More than half (60 percent) of races for secretary of state currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot.

For a full breakdown of the Election Denier landscape for secretary of state in 2022 and their role in election administration, click here.

Primary Analysis

We’ve examined historical turnout rates in 32 of the 39 states with primary elections for statewide offices this cycle – wherever the data was available. The data shows that less than half of all people who voted in the last general election also voted in their state’s primary election. 

Primaries are a key part of the democratic process, enabling engaged voters to choose which candidates they want to send to the general election and potentially hold office. In many cases, especially where there is a large majority of voters from one party statewide, the primary is the more competitive race. The lower voter participation in primary elections historically means a smaller subset of voters plays an outsized role in shaping the elections. This year, given the stakes for our democracy, it is more important than ever that people participate in the primary election and pay attention to these critical issues during the general.  

It’s also important to understand the importance of voting for every position on the ballot in primaries and the general election. The data shows that frequently the top of the ticket, usually the governor or U.S. senator in a midterm election, gets more votes than other positions on the ballot, meaning that many voters leave parts of their ballot (often referred to as “down ticket”) empty. For example, in the 2018 primary in Arizona, only 88% of the people who cast a vote for governor also cast a vote for attorney general, and 93% for secretary of state. In 2018 in Wisconsin, only 83% of the voters who cast a vote for governor voted for in the race for attorney general, and 85% voted for the secretary of state. Many of these contests were won by narrow margins, too.  

Overall, voter participation has been slowly increasing over the last 20 years in both primaries and general elections. This midterm cycle has the potential to reach the highest voter participation in a midterm primary since 2000. Even if this is the case, primary participation is still predicted to be lower than the general election. 

To learn more about this trend check out the dashboard here.

The Research

What We Are Tracking: Announced and/or filed candidates running in 2022 for three statewide offices with election administration responsibilities: governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.4In some states, there are candidates with filings/open campaign committees that have not taken any public actions since October 2021 to indicate they are active candidates. They are not included in our tracker. If any one of these candidates take steps that indicate they are actively running this cycle, we will add them.

Methodology:

To qualify as an Election Denier, a candidate must meet one or more of the criteria below:

  • Falsely claimed former President Trump won the 2020 election instead of the legitimate winner, President Joe Biden.
  • Spread lies about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election in public fora, including in social media, press statements, and/or comments to press.
  • Called for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 presidential election after the results were certified and/or officially audited and/or stood up to multiple legal challenges.
  • Promoted conspiracies about the 2020 presidential election in public fora, including in social media, press statements, and/or comments to press.
  • Took actions to undermine the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, including: filed or supported litigation seeking to overturn the results; and/or promoted/participated in a Stop the Steal sponsored/branded event or rally.5Common conspiracies include any host of debunked claims and myths about the 2020 election. These include sharing or liking videos by Project Veritas, amplifying claims that voting machines were tampered with, Dominion Voting Systems’ machines rigging the election, dead people voted, noncitizens and/or foreign countries were involved, voter registration numbers not matching final vote counts, ballot harvesting, and other claims about “stolen elections.”

For more information about the campaign financing of Election Deniers in key states, please see this report from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Sources

  1. AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, ME, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX Note: LA doesn’t have a primary, and NY will hold special primaries for House seats only in August, despite holding Gubernatorial primaries in June.

  2. AL, AR, CA, CO, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, MD, ME, ND, NE, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TX Note: LA doesn’t have a primary, and NY will hold special primaries for House seats only in August, despite holding Gubernatorial primaries in June.

  3. In Illinois and Wisconsin, the Secretary of State signs the certificate of ascertainment but does not oversee election administration. There is a push by a number of Wisconsin candidates running in 2022 to change the duties of the office. In Alaska, the Lieutenant Governor oversees election administration. In South Carolina, the executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission administers elections.

  4. In some states, there are candidates with filings/open campaign committees that have not taken any public actions since October 2021 to indicate they are active candidates. They are not included in our tracker. If any one of these candidates take steps that indicate they are actively running this cycle, we will add them.

  5. Common conspiracies include any host of debunked claims and myths about the 2020 election. These include sharing or liking videos by Project Veritas, amplifying claims that voting machines were tampered with, Dominion Voting Systems’ machines rigging the election, dead people voted, noncitizens and/or foreign countries were involved, voter registration numbers not matching final vote counts, ballot harvesting, and other claims about “stolen elections.”