Republicans, who spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, are pulling huge sums of money to fuel Secretary of State’s campaigns this year, and candidates in key wavering states are set to raise record sums for contests that took over the new significance thanks to the efforts of the Republican Party to exercise total party control over the country’s electoral systems.
Democrats who have exhibited their own efforts to protect incumbent secretaries of state on major battlefields as the key to protecting American democracyis also likely to break fundraising records as donors shower candidates with the early money normally reserved for more brilliant campaigns in Congress, the US Senate and the governor.
Candidates for the post of secretary in three states – Georgia, Michigan and Minnesota – collectively raised 2.5 times more than candidates at a comparable point in 2014 or 2018 election cycles, according to new analysis by Brennan Justice Center, a nonprofit organization that will track spending campaigning for state secretaries and other contests that will determine how elections will be conducted and administered.
The astronomical sums reflect the heightened prestige of the secretaries of state, who were at the center of attention during the 2020 elections – and were the target of relentless attacks after them – as well as the increased rates of such campaigns, even in a crowded interim cycle.
“Brad Raffensperger is a common noun. Jocelyn Benson is a household name, ”said Ian Vandevocker, senior adviser to the Democratic Program at the Brennan Center and one of the authors of the report. “Not long ago, no one ever heard of a single secretary of state.”
Benson, Michigan’s Democratic secretary of state, leads all candidates in the three states with $ 1.2 million, an astounding amount due to her prominent role in protecting her state’s electoral system from unfounded allegations of post-2020 election fraud. Raffensperger, a Georgia Republican who thwarted Trump’s attempts to cancel his state’s elections, raised nearly $ 400,000, about four times what he had at the time in 2018.
But campaign plots that Benson’s alleged opponent and other Republicans have been promoting over the past two years have also proven lucrative in Michigan and other states the Brennan Center analyzed.
In Georgia, Rep. Jody Hayes raised nearly $ 576,000 in the first three months of his campaign as Secretary of State, ahead of Raffensperger and all other candidates in the race. Michigan GOP nominee Christina Karamo raised $ 164,000 last year – an amount that lags far behind Benson but still more than GOP nominee Benson has raised so far in 2018.
Both Hayes and Karamo have spread conspiracies about the 2020 election results and are challenging the outcome of the race that Trump lost to President Joe Biden.
Hayes who is widely regarded as a leader in the primary elections of the Republican Party in Georgia, voted twice challenged the results of the congressional elections and began his campaign, accusing Raffensperger of “compromising” the elections in Georgia, refusing Trump’s requests to “find” the votes needed to cancel them. Karamo groundlessly claimed that voting machines switched votes to Biden, backed by unfounded lawsuits that the election was rigged, and called for a “forensic check” of the 2020 results in Michigan, Arizona-style.
Hayes and Karamo are part of the group at least 15 skeptics of republican elections are looking for the position of secretary of state, which in most cases would make them the highest election official in their states. Both received endorsements from Trump, who also endorsed Arizona Rep. Mark Fincham, a Republican who was attended the January 6 uprising and is now running for the post of Secretary of State.
The Republican Government Leadership Committee, which deals with state legislative processes and other anti-vote races, has already raised at least another 2 million dollars than during the 2020 electoral cycle.
Fears that the GOP might use the office of secretary of state to suppress votes more aggressively – or to influence and potentially cancel future elections, as secretaries like Benson, Raffensperger and Katie Hobbs of Arizona (D) averted in 2020 – also sparked a fundraising boom on the Democratic side.
According to Brennan’s analysis, Benson’s tentative sum is six times the top candidate scored at this stage of the 2014 electoral cycle. Georgia Rep. Bi Nguyen, prospective leader in the primary election of the Democratic Secretary of State, collected 387,000 dollars in the first half of 2021, four times more than Raffensperger had collected so far in the previous elections.
The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, the party’s campaign arm, raised over $ 1 million in the first half of 2021, roughly double its 2018 full cycle. And he expects to raise five to ten times more than four years ago, CEO Kim Rogers. said HuffPost In November.
Vandevocker argued that electoral reforms such as those included in the Freedom to Vote Act, an important law that Democrats are currently trying to push through the Senate, would help lower the secretary of state’s party rates by race. But without such legislation, the costs of these races will almost certainly continue to skyrocket. It’s likely that supercomputers and other third-party groups will soon start investing in competitions, Vandewoker said.
“There is every reason to believe that there will be large external costs from both supercomputers and dark money groups, as a result of increased attention and increased nationalization,” he said. “There are people with big pockets who are involved in this issue … and it is possible that they are going to invest more money in this election at the expense of external costs.”