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Reported spending not indicative of Dem campaign against Mark Finchem — yet

By: - March 29, 2022 11:26 am

Arizona state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, touring Veterans Memorial Coliseum during the Senate’s audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County. Photo by Michael Meister | Arizona Republic/pool

On paper, the Democratic advocacy group MoveOn has spent more than $1.4 million against Republican Mark Finchem in his campaign to become Arizona’s next secretary of state. In reality, that number only reflects a technicality of campaign finance reporting, not actual campaigning.

MoveOn has reported seven figures’ worth of spending against Finchem, but that doesn’t mean the organization is actually spending money against his campaign. 

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Chris Torres, MoveOn’s political director, said the reported spending was due to email blasts the group sent out to its membership list about Finchem. MoveOn is heavily focused on secretary of state races across the country. As part of that campaign, it sent out emails about Finchem, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is one of Arizona’s most vocal proponents of the false claims and conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged against him. 

Torres described the emails as voter education aimed at its members. Because the Federal Election Commission values such as emails at two cents apiece, and because MoveOn’s nationwide email list has millions of names, it reported the emails as $1.4 million in spending against him. State races in Arizona aren’t subject to FEC rules and regulations, but MoveOn.org Political Action is a federally registered committee.

Those emails were simply to inform people on MoveOn’s list that Trump had endorsed Finchem, a state representative from Oro Valley. If Finchem wins the Republican nomination for secretary of state — he faces state Rep. Shawnna Bolick, advertising executive Beau Lane and state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita in the GOP primary — Torres said MoveOn expects to spend money aimed at defeating Finchem. 

“Certainly, we’re going to do more than just voter education. We will be campaigning hard to ensure that Mr. Finchem is not elected the next secretary of state of Arizona,” he said.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”

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