Midterm Update: More Than Half the Country Has an Election Denier Running to Oversee Statewide Elections
States United Action’s Post-Primaries “Replacing the Refs” Tracker Reveals that Election Deniers are on the Ballot in Half of Governor Races, and One-Third of Attorney General and Secretary of State Races
Washington, D.C. — With the final primaries of 2022 now concluded, States United Action today released new data that provides a fuller picture of the midterm landscape, and the threat that Election Deniers pose to our democracy. The latest Replacing the Refs update found that more than half the country—55% of the population, living in 27 states—has an Election Denier running to oversee their elections.
“The state officials we elect this year will oversee the 2024 election,” said Joanna Lydgate, CEO of States United Action. “A single Election Denier winning a statewide office in a single state is a five-alarm fire for our democracy. Experience and polling tells us some of these races will be very close. Many of these down-ballot contests had narrow margins in the last midterm election, and voters can’t afford to sit these races out.”
As of September 14, 2022, the Replacing the Refs tracker indicates that:
- Half of governor races—18 of 36 races happening in 2022—currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot. Fifteen of the 18 Election Denier candidates are running on a major party’s ticket.
- One in three attorney general races—10 of 30 races happening in 2022—currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot. Ten of the 11 Election Denier candidates are running on a major party’s ticket.
- More than one in three secretary of state races—12 of 27 races happening in 2022—currently have an Election Denier candidate on the ballot. Eleven of the 12 Election Denier candidates are running on a major party’s ticket.
- In primary races where there were Election Deniers running on a major party ticket, Election Deniers won more than half—37 of 63—of their combined primaries for governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.
- Three states—Alabama, Arizona, and Michigan—have Election Deniers in the running for all three top statewide positions.
The trend of Election Deniers vying for power to oversee future elections is happening at the same time that state legislatures nationwide are proposing bills that interfere with the nonpartisan administration of elections. As of August, legislatures in 33 states were considering at least 244 bills to politicize, criminalize, or interfere with non-partisan elections, according to the A Democracy Crisis in the Making report, a joint project from States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward. There’s substantial overlap between states with multiple Election Denier candidates and where legislatures have considered a number of these bills. Arizona (3 Election Denier Candidates) and Wisconsin (1 Election Denier Candidate) led the country with more than 30 bills each.
About States United Action
States United Action is a nonpartisan section 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization with a mission to protect our elections and our democracy. States United Action advocates for policies that protect election integrity, hold democracy violators accountable, and prevent political violence that threatens to undermine the will of the American people, and amplifies the voices of state leaders and law enforcement leaders who share these values. To learn more, visit www.statesuniteddemocracy.org/states-united-action.