Democrats running for secretary and governor of state are facing contests against candidates that echo Trump’s claim of a stolen election.
Democrats running for high office in battleground state this year are pitching themselves more to voters to protect them from any attempts by Republican allies, Donald Trump, to subvert the next presidential elections.
This year, the six states in which President Joe Biden won his narrowest wins — Arizona Georgia Michigan Nevada Pennsylvania Wisconsin — will elect their governors.
The secretaries of state will be chosen by voters in four states. In Pennsylvania, the new governor will appoint someone to this role. Wisconsin is a particularly important state, as two GOP governor candidates favor the scrapping of the bipartisan commission which oversees elections.
Trump relied on Republican state officials to reverse his losses in 2020. He is now backing primary challengers against Governor in Georgia. Because they refused, Brian Kemp and Brad Raffensperger were elected as Secretary of State. He is still influential with GOP voters and promotes midterm candidates who support restrictive voter laws and echo his debunked claims about how the 2020 election was stolen.
Trump’s desire to retain loyalists is layered on top of the inability of Senate Democrats so far to pass federal election legislation that they believe is necessary to reduce state-level voter restrictions. Already, Democratic governors and secretaries are rebuking proposed restrictions to voting that were advanced by conservative legislatures.
“I think it is clear that state actors like a governor are going to be crucial to defending democracy,” said Josh Shapiro (Pennsylvania Attorney General), a Democrat who is running for governor. He spoke to NBC News in an interview. “And Pennsylvania, I believe will be at the center of that fight.”
In an NBC News poll last week, voting rights and election integrity were ranked as the third most important issue facing the country. They are behind jobs and the economy. According to adults who were surveyed, 76% believed that democracy and majority rule were at risk.
Wisconsin Governor. Tony Evers, a Democrat running for re-election in Wisconsin, asked this question in an interview. “We should make voting easier for all eligible voters, not make it more difficult.”
A video of Trump claiming he won Pennsylvania in 2020 was shown before the GOP debates between Senate and gubernatorial hopefuls from Pennsylvania. Shapiro said that Trump’s top priority is to appoint a secretary-state “who will respect and uphold the rule of the law.”
Stacey Abrams, a Georgia Democratic, and Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democratic, are also running for governor. They have been national advocates for voting rights since 2004. After losing four years of campaigns, Abrams and O’Rourke were elected to the Senate.
O’Rourke coordinated voter registration efforts, even driving to register voters. She also raised money for state legislators who fled Texas last year while fighting the most restrictive voting rights restrictions in the nation. Abrams repeatedly testified in favor of federal voting legislation, and supported compromise legislation.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ political profile has risen since 2020. She hopes to use that profile to become a governor, like Shapiro. Trump has endorsed Kari lake, a former TV anchor in Phoenix, who said that she wouldn’t have certified Biden winning the state in the crowded Republican primary.
Hobbs stated that she didn’t know if she would have the same momentum as me in her bid to be governor. Hobbs made the comment following her high-profile defense for the 2020 election and its results while Arizona’s secretary.
The Democrats running this year for Secretary of State said that although the job is harder, such as fighting misinformation and facing harassment on the job, their platform is stronger.
“There are people who don’t believe in democracy running for elections. It’s like giving a bank robber keys to a banking institution,” Jena Griswold (Colorado’s secretary of State and chair of Democratic Association of Secretaries of State) said.
Campaigning has become easier thanks to this platform and the voters’ increased understanding of their work.
According to Maggie Toulouse Oliver (New Mexico Secretary of State), the 2020 election “fundamentally altered the conversation about being placed in this extremely administrative post.” She is running for re-election. “It has changed the conversation from being about administrative skills to whether you think our democracy is at risk.”
Campaign contributions have increased as a result. The increased awareness has resulted in more campaign contributions.
Jocelyn Benson is the Michigan Secretary of State, a Democrat. She is running for a second term in a state that Biden won, where Trump challenged them in court with baseless allegations of fraud.
Trump has endorsed Republican Kristina Karmo, who was a Detroit poll challenger in 2020. She is well-known for making false election claims.
Benson stated that those who have supported him in the past have sometimes doubled, tripled, or quadrupled the amount they gave in the past as they have witnessed my race’s sense of urgency grow.”
Raffensperger of Georgia is one of few Republicans who are running to defend the election system. He also plays to the skeptical about past results by pushing for an amendment in the Constitution that would affirm that only citizens have the right of vote.
Raffensperger stated that his pitch to voters included a medical explanation of why Trump lost the state by less than 12,000 votes in 2020. He recounts the story of 28,000 Georgians that voted for Republican candidates but skipped the presidential election. With Trump’s endorsement, Perdue is currently challenging Kemp to be governor.
Raffensperger said, “And then, I say, ‘Let it sink in.’” Raffensperger is up against Trump-backed Rep. Jody Hyice in a GOP primary. “And then, I say, ‘That’s why President Trump came out short.’
Evers will likely be a strong opponent to his opponent in Wisconsin on the issue of voting rights and elections. He vetoed six Republican bills last August that he felt would limit voter access. This included a measure that would have eliminated the exemption from photo ID for voters with disabilities.
Both the leading Republican candidates, Rebecca Kleefisch, and Kevin Nicholson, want to disband Wisconsin Elections Commission. This bipartisan body administers the state’s elections. The commission was supported by Republicans when it was established in 2015. But, they have been scrutinizing its work since then.
Evers and other Democrats linked the importance of election issues with progress on issues that resonate more strongly with voters — jobs and health care.
Evers stated, “Officially it is a priority. But I have to keep repeating this: The people in Wisconsin care about kitchen-table matters, too.” “We can both walk and chew gum simultaneously. It is vital, however, to save democracy.”