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Maryland Primary Election: Latest News

Professional Democrats have many fears about the 2022 midterm elections that keep them up at night.

Chief among them: losing Congress and handing over investigative powers and Washington agenda-setting powers to Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell. Giving Republicans full control of states where abortion is contested. President Biden turned into a premature lame duck.

Somewhere near the top of that list is concern over whether voters will elect Donald Trump’s preferred candidates to the office of secretary of state, a job that plays a critical role in protecting voting rights in many states, as well as ensuring the smooth operation and integrity of the election system.

To put it bluntly, the widespread concern on the left is that Trump’s loyalists taking power in 2022 would guarantee his reelection in 2024. It’s not particularly difficult for Trump or these candidates to reject.

Secretary of State is not a glamorous gig, generally speaking; It is primarily an administrative function, and tends to attract little attention from the public and the press. That has changed significantly in battleground states after the Trump-fueled election chaos in 2020, and money and attention are now pouring into the secretary of state race — not least because the former president has made it his mission to elect Republican candidates who support his conspiracy theories.

It’s easy to say what Trump wants: total loyalty. Determining what voters want is often very difficult.

Enter a new poll of five swing states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Nevada — that was shared with The New York Times ahead of publication. The poll of 1,400 people likely to vote in November was conducted by David Binder Research on behalf of iVote, a group that supports Democrats in the Secretary of State race.

It’s tricky business to interpret the results, which focus not on the candidates but on voters’ views of what they think is important in a secretary of state.

The survey found that 82 percent of potential voters rated “accurately tabulating votes in elections and certifying results” as a very important responsibility. Additionally, 67 percent said they would be more likely to support a candidate “who prioritizes options for all voters and makes sure every vote counts.”

But often with voters, they’re giving us conflicting signals. Ninety-nine percent said they would be more likely to support a candidate “who says the top priority is ensuring fair elections and ensuring that only eligible voters cast ballots.” It sounds a lot more like what many Republican candidates are saying.

In an indication of how much traction Trump’s claims still hold among the GOP base, 72 percent of voters who chose Trump in 2020 said the election was stolen from him. Which is one third of the total electorate.

And when the poll is broken down into those who said Biden won fair and square and those who supported the false view that the election was stolen from Trump, a striking symmetry emerges: Supermajorities in both parties express concern that “elected officials will overturn the decision.” try. the will of the people,” for example, but of course each group is concerned about distorting the other group’s true outcomes — and each group is different about what those are.

Ellen Kurz, founder and president of iVote, has focused on the secretary of state race for nearly a decade, she said in an interview. In 2018, the group spent $7 million to help elect Democrats in Arizona and Michigan who later became key players in the 2020 elections.

This year, iVote has more than doubled its budget — to $15 million, which it plans to spend on broadcast, cable and digital advertising to bolster its candidates.

Kurz argued that Republicans had been trying to suppress the vote of people of color and other key Democratic blocs since before Trump arrived on the national stage — but that his obsession with voter fraud and claims of stolen elections have turbocharged those efforts.

“I believed it was really bad before, but this is a different level,” he said. “This is the next level of danger.”

Republicans are also hyperfocused on secretaries of state, led by a group of Trump allies known as the America First Secretaries of State Coalition, along with official groups like the Republican State Leadership Committee.

Let’s break down each swing state surveyed:

Arizona, August 2

Those primaries haven’t happened yet, and Democrats and pro-democracy advocates say they’re especially important.

On the Republican side, the Trump-backed candidate is Mark Finchem, a state lawmaker who has gone all-in on the former president’s conspiracy theories about 2020.

Finchem is but one of four contenders, a group that also includes Shawna Bolick, another state lawmaker who supported a nullification of the election results in favor of Trump; Beau Lane, an advertising executive supported by the business community; and Michelle Ugenti-Rita, a state lawmaker who has promoted several restrictive voting laws in the Arizona Senate.

The current secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is running for governor. That leaves a vacancy on the Democratic side, with Adrian Fontes, the former recorder of Maricopa County, the state’s largest county, running for the job against state House minority leader and suffrage activist Reginald Boulding.

For all the national attention these primaries have garnered, they have yet to generate much enthusiasm among actual Arizona voters. For example, a debate between Fontes and Bolding in May drew an audience of just 70, according to The Tucson Sentinel.

Georgia, May 24

credit…Nicole Crane for The New York Times

Democrats nominated Bee Nguyen, a progressive nonprofit executive and state lawmaker, to run for secretary of state, an office that proved critical in 2020 when Trump tried to pressure Georgia officials to overturn the results in his favor.

But during this year’s Republican primaries, pro-democracy groups spent heavily to help incumbent Secretary Brad Raffensperger, who denied Trump’s claims. In May, Raffensperger easily dispatched Trump’s chosen candidate, Representative Jody Hayes.

One reason for that run was a surge in outside spending. Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican operative who helped marshal resources to protect Raffensperger, said she noticed that, when voters in focus groups were asked about Hayes, they said they had never heard of “him.”

Hiss is a man. His lack of name recognition struck Longwell as an opportunity, so America and other groups he was working with poured money into the race in his final 10 days.

“At the end of the story, you can see that there was a wide opening for Raffensperger,” he said.

Michigan, August 2

credit…Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

On Politics last wrote about the Michigan Secretary of State race in April, right after the Republican Party formally endorsed Christina Karamo.

Karamo has made inflammatory comments on his personal podcast, such as calling yoga a “satanic ritual” that was originally intended by its creators to “summon a demon.” Michigan Republicans say he is certain to become the GOP’s official nominee in August.

Democrats are backing incumbent Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson to oversee the 2020 election. Benson has become a leading villain for Republicans, who have falsely accused him of rigging the results in favor of Biden in Michigan, which he narrowly won.

Benson specifically drew fire for sending a mail-in ballot to every registered voter in the state, which a Michigan appeals court later ruled was legal.

Minnesota, August. 9

The leading Republican candidate is Kim Crockett, who called the 2020 election “rigged” in a campaign email. At the Minnesota Republican convention, where Crockett won the state GOP’s endorsement, he played a video featuring philanthropist George Soros above the caption, “Let’s destroy elections forever.”

Crockett has also shown support for “2000 Mules”, a documentary by Dinesh D’Souza that promotes various conspiracy theories about the 2020 elections.

On the Democratic side, Steve Simon, the current Secretary of State, is running for re-election. He has a huge fundraising edge over Crockett, with more than $500,000 on hand as of May, when he reported having just $56,000 in his campaign account.

Nevada, June 14

Jim Marchant, who organized America’s First Secretary of State Coalition, won the Republican primary handily. Merchant said a “cabal” around the world was manipulating voting machines, a conspiracy theory that has been repeatedly debunked and is the subject of defamation lawsuits against several Trump allies. As for Merchant’s claim that his own failed bid for Congress in 2020 was stolen, he told The Guardian that “a lot of judges were bought, too.”

Merchant’s Democratic opponent is Cisco Aguilar, who ran unopposed. Aguilar, a lawyer and former state athletic commissioner, has the support of some of the state’s most prominent Democrats as well as retired tennis star Andre Agassi.

what to read

  • Maryland held a competitive primary for governor on Tuesday as well as several House races. Follow our live coverage and see the results as they come in (but be aware that if the races are tight, they won’t be called until later in the week).

  • With his legislative plan to tackle global warming piecemeal, President Biden and his advisers are debating whether he should declare a national climate emergency. At the same time, parts of the United States (and many other parts of the world) are experiencing prolonged heat waves and droughts.

  • Bill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York, abruptly ended his campaign for the House.

– Blake

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