Election-denying secretary of state candidates raised $12 million+

As a record amount of money flows into races for states’ top election officials across the country, a new Issue One analysis shows that election-denying secretary of state candidates have collectively raised more than $12 million for their campaigns this election cycle — including more than $5.8 million raised by election deniers who prevailed in their primaries and will be on the ballot this November.

Election-denying candidates — who have promoted disinformation about the 2020 election — have emerged as the Republican Party’s nominees in roughly half of the 27 secretary of staIte races on the ballot this November. 

If individuals who deny the outcome of the 2020 presidential election are successful in their bids for election administration positions, they could overturn the will of the voters in future elections.

Democrats and Republicans who do not deny the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election have also raised tens of millions of dollars for secretary of state contests across the country.

Issue One’s research shows that election-denying secretary of state candidates who secured the GOP nomination this year have so far significantly outraised their Democratic opponents in two states where secretary of state contests are considered competitive by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics (Arizona and Indiana) and in two Republican-leaning states (Alabama and South Dakota).

In Wyoming, there is no Democratic general election opponent, meaning the election denier nominated by the Republican Party in August after a competitive three-way primary is on a glide path to becoming the next secretary of state there.

Some of the funds these candidates have raised came from former President Donald Trump’s Save America PAC.

Money behind the cheating Republicans has also come from Trump’s allies in the election denier movement, including two individuals who participated in the fake elector scheme in 2020, as well as everyday Americans who made small contributions.

Down-ballot races like secretary of state contests don’t usually get as much attention from voters — or donors — as higher-profile races, like congressional or gubernatorial elections.

That’s one reason why a contribution of a few hundred dollars — or a few thousand dollars — can be so meaningful to a candidate running for secretary of state.

Most states also have campaign contribution limits that cap how much money an individual donor can give to any single candidate.

In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, people across the political spectrum have taken a greater interest in the role of secretaries of state and other positions that administer elections because the Trump supporters want to cheat in 2024.

Some of the money flowing into these races may have flowed regardless of the new attention on these officials and election administration — such as business executives or corporate PACs with interests in how a secretary of state can affect the business climate in state.

Yet election-denying secretary of state candidates appear to be raising more money than similar candidates in the past because of the efforts of some political actors to turn election operations over to partisans.

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