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Dirty Delete: State level midterm candidates include far-right extremists, election fraud liars, and conspiracy theorists

With the midterms approaching, this week's column will focus on the wildest candidates on the ballot.


Claire Goforth


Posted on Nov 4, 2022   Updated on Nov 6, 2022, 6:41 am CST

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Dirty Delete


As the midterms approach, I’m doing a rundown of the biggest conspiracy theorists, far-right whackos, and election fraud liars on the ballot.

Last week I covered congressional cranks. Today’s focus: sickos of state.

Traditionally, Secretary of State races attract little interest. That’s changed in the last two years.

Multiple people who spread lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election are campaigning for Secretary of State. Obviously they should be nowhere near our elections. Yet many of them have a solid chance of winning.

Republican Mark Finchem is running for Arizona Secretary of State. Finchem has deep ties to the QAnon conspiracy theory and far-right extremism. He falsely claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Finchem’s even lied about the way he votes.

Across the border there’s Jim Marchant, the Nevada Republican candidate for Secretary of State. Marchant also spreads lies about voter fraud in 2020.

Marchant has tried to pull the ol’ “Q who?” act but continues claiming the “cabal” rigged every Nevada election since 2008—never mind that he won a race in 2016. Marchant also has a taste for following neo-Nazis online.

Ohio independent Terpsehore Maras is another QAnon follower running for Secretary of State. Maras claims to be a time traveler. Luckily, her chances of winning are as remote as the odds that she’s a real life Dr. Who.

The Michigan Republican candidate for Attorney General, Matthew DePerno, made his name—and raised big bucks—trying to overturn the 2020 election.

DePerno is now being investigated for an alleged plot to tamper with voting machines by the same office he’s running to lead.

Republican Kari Lake was once considered a long-shot candidate for Arizona governor. Now she’s the frontrunner.

Lake is an election fraud liar who’s palled around with Ron Watkins and Mike Lindell. Her journey to radicalization saw her go from a Barack Obama-praising news anchor to someone who jokes about an 82-year-old getting attacked with a hammer.

And she just might be Arizona’s next governor.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is as warm and fuzzy as a broken bottle. He yammers about freedom a lot, even as he arrests people for voting and yanks rights from LGBTQ people, teachers, tech companies, and pregnant people. DeSantis epitomizes Republi-can’t do that anymore.

Why it matters

The Capitol riot taught us that American democracy is more vulnerable than we’d like to think.

These candidates have embraced the lies about a stolen election that inspired that angry mob. Their words and deeds are undermining faith in our system of government and bringing us closer to the precipice of fascism.

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2022, 6:00 am CDT