Members Only | October 31, 2022 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
The man trying to elect QAnon believers as secretaries of state
It’s fair to say that if Jim Marchant were secretary of state, he wouldn’t certify a Democratic victory, because he keeps telling us.
Failed candidate Jim Marchant of Nevada teamed up with QAnon guru “Juan O. Savin” to elect Big Lie proponents as top election officials in swing states. The result is a five-alarm fire for democracy.
The unlikely duo has forged a coalition of like-minded secretary of state (SOS) candidates. The SOS races in Nevada and Arizona have taken on national significance in light of both Republican candidates working to overturn the 2020 election. Both are signaling that they would refuse to certify the results if a Democrat carried their respective states in 2024. If elected, Secretaries of State Jim Marchant of Nevada and Mark Finchem of Arizona could conceivably determine the outcome of the next presidential election.
Most of the coalition’s handpicked candidates have already lost their primaries or are trailing substantially in the polls. At least two of their candidates, however, are alarmingly competitive.
A recent poll puts Marchant in a statistical dead heat with his Democratic opponent. In October, Finchem was effectively tied with his Democratic opponent, albeit with many voters still undecided.
It’s fair to say that if Marchant were secretary of state, he wouldn’t certify a Democratic victory, because he keeps telling us.
“When I’m secretary of state of Nevada, we are going to fix it, and when my coalition of secretary of state candidates around the country gets elected, we’re going to fix the whole country, and President Trump is going to be president again in 2024,” he said.
Finchem is a former member of the Oath Keepers militia, which was outside the US Capitol during the J6 insurrection. Text messages show Finchem collaborated with Stop the Steal’s Ali Alexander.
As an Arizona state legislator, Finchem co-sponsored a bill that would have empowered the lege to overturn election results. Finchem was subpoenaed by the J6 committee over his role in the Trump-sponsored plot to send fake electors to Washington. The US Department of Justice has also subpoenaed Finchem’s communications in its probe of the fake electors scheme.
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The strange saga of the QAnon coalition began when Marchant lost his race for a US House seat in 2020. As is customary for GOP losers these days, Marchant cried fraud. His pleas fell on deaf ears in court, given that he lost by a whopping five percentage points and presented no compelling evidence of fraud whatsoever.
Reeling, Marchant checked himself into the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, as one does. During that dark night of the soul, QAnon guru Juan O. Savin (aka Wayne Willott) appeared unexpectedly at his suite and convinced him to run for secretary of state, or so Marchant later told the faithful at a QAnon-themed conference in 2021.
Marchant has made conflicting claims about whether he personally believes in QAnon, but his stated ideology fits right in.
Marchant claims that no candidate has been legitimately elected in Nevada since 2006 on account of a diabolical plot between Harry Reid and George Soros on behalf of a group he calls The Cabal operating out of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
Marchant himself was elected to the Nevada legislature in 2016, so make of that what you will. He did raise doubts about his primary win for the secretary of state, but that didn’t stop him from declaring victory. “What am I supposed to do, not win?” he said, neatly encapsulating the attitude of Republican election deniers.
Lindsay Beyerstein covers legal affairs, health care and politics for the Editorial Board. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, she’s a judge for the Sidney Hillman Foundation. Find her @beyerstein.
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