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Financing of Races for Offices that Oversee Elections: May 2022

Candidates who push election denial are winning primaries and leading fundraising in races for offices that will run the 2024 elections.

Published: May 24, 2022
Daniel Cullen/Spyros Arsenis/EyeEm/Alan Schein Photography/Getty
View the entire Tracking Races for Election Administration Positions series

Across the country, races are well underway for offices like state secretary of state that will play key roles in running the 2024 elections. This year, these races are attracting far more attention than in recent memory. Part of the reason for the increasing visibility of election officials is the spread of the Big Lie that election fraud “stole” the 2020 race from President Trump. In state after state, campaigns are focused on election denial as a central issue.

In this series, the Brennan Center examines the finances and political messages in contests that are important to the future of election administration. Throughout 2022, we are taking a regular look at relevant contests in battleground states that had the closest results in the 2020 presidential election. As candidates file disclosure forms and information becomes available, we will examine questions such as how much money is raised, who the biggest donors are, how much candidates rely on small donors, and how much outside spenders like super PACs and dark money groups spend.

Since our last report in February, nominees who will stand in the general election have been decided in four of the states we’re following, teeing up election denial as an issue in key contests.

In Pennsylvania, the winner of the GOP primary was State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who convened public hearings about claims of widespread election fraud, talks about the power to “decertify” voting machines, and recently held an event with MyPil­low CEO Mike Lindell — an active spreader of false conspiracy theories — where attendees were asked to sign a peti­tion to decer­tify the result of the 2020 elec­tion. In November’s open-seat general election, he will face Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), who has framed his campaign as opposing “people who tried to overturn the last election.” As Mastriano has emphasized, the governor appoints the secretary of the commonwealth, who oversees Pennsylvania elections, meaning the voters’ choice in this contest could have profound implications for the administration of the 2024 elections.

And Pennsylvania is far from the only state where it is possible an election denier will end up playing a key role in election administration in 2024. In its convention this month, the Minnesota GOP’s endorsed gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen, who said the “election process was bastardized” and implied that Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) could go to jail for the way he ran the last election. The party also endorsed secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett, whose campaign showed a video to the convention crowd that depicted Simon controlled by puppet strings in the hands of billionaire philanthropist George Soros with the caption, “Let’s wreck elections forever and ever.”

The Michigan Republican Party Convention nominated Kristina Karamo, who said of alleged voter fraud that there is “massive corruption” and “a massive coverup.” Karamo will challenge Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), who alleged that “elec­tion-deniers . . . want to take over statewide offices so they can poten­tially be in a posi­tion to block or undo or fail to certify elec­tion results.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) decisively won his primary in March, defeating several challengers who espoused election denial claims. In Travis County, Texas, Dyana Limon-Mercado, who said, “Repub­lic­ans spent 2021 trying to rig our elec­tions in their favor,” won the Democratic primary. She will face Susan Haynes, whose website says “our elections have been manipulated for quite some time” and ran unopposed in the Republican primary. Also in Texas, Hood County Clerk Katie Lang (R) defeated a primary challenge from Michelle Carew, who said she ran because of partisan attempts “to control how elec­­tions are run.”

The next primaries are Georgia’s on May 24 and Nevada’s on June 14. Arizona, Florida, Michigan (gubernatorial), Minnesota, and Wisconsin have primaries in August, and New Hampshire in September.

Key Takeaways

Recent developments in election official races, including an analysis of the most recent campaign finance data available for secretary of state races in the states in our sample, reveal some key trends.

  • Money is flowing into secretary of state races at a rate not seen in recent memory. Across the six battleground states we are tracking, candidates have collectively raised $13.3 million, more than two and a half times the $4.7 million raised by the analogous point in the 2018 cycle, and more than five times that of 2014.
  • New data in secretary of state contests reveals election deniers in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada either in the lead or running a close second in fundraising. On the other hand, candidates who have condemned election denial have overwhelming fundraising leads so far in Michigan and Minnesota.
  • Illustrating the nationalization of secretary of state races, national groups and donors are spending to influence them, including Donald Trump’s leadership PAC and others with ties to efforts to challenge the 2020 result. On the other side, several national liberal groups are newly becoming active in secretary of state and local races to support opponents of the Big Lie.
  • Donors who have not given to secretary of state candidates before are making major contributions with a clear pattern of support for election denial candidates or for candidates who are running on the threat election denial poses to democracy.
  • Election denial claims, as well as claims that it is an existential threat to democracy, are heating up at the state level, and they are also showing up in more local election official contests, notably in Georgia and Nevada. Super PACs on both sides of the issue spent to influence local races in Wisconsin in April. In those elections, of the six candid­ates suppor­ted by outside messaging cast­ing doubt on the last elec­tion, five won office, and three of those unseated incum­bents.

Fundraising Analysis

Across six battleground states with secretary of state elections this year — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin — there has been a massive increase in campaign cash. In each of these states, 2022 candidates have raised more money than in any cycle since 2010.

These totals reflect the most recent data available for the 2022 cycle and data reflecting the closest analogous date for past cycles. There are different reporting schedules in different states and cycles. In 2022, the latest available data covers the period ending on March 31 in Arizona, Minnesota, and Nevada and April 30 in Georgia. In past cycles, the closest analogous filing period has ended on March 31 in Georgia and Minnesota, either March 31 or May 31 in Arizona, and varying dates in late May in Nevada. In Michigan and Wisconsin, the most recent data for this cycle covers a period ending on December 31, 2021, and our comparison to past cycles also goes through December 31 of the year before the election.


Total fundraising in the open-seat race for Arizona’s secretary of state has topped $3 million, almost double the amount raised by this stage of 2018 and four times that of 2014.

In the lead with more than $900,000 is State Rep. Mark Finchem (R), who has centered his campaign on calls to “decertify” the election that he claims “Trump won.” Advertising executive Beau Lane (R) is close behind, having raised over $860,000, followed by Democrats Adrian Fontes (about $480,000) and Reginald Bolding (about $380,000), who has said that Finchem “is set on dismantling, disrupting, and destroying our democracy.”

National liberal group MoveOn reported spending $1.4 million in independent expenditures opposing Finchem. MoveOn emails describe Finchem as a “supporter of the Big Lie.”


Overall, fundraising in the secretary of state race has topped $6 million, three times more than by this point in 2018.

Rep. Jody Hice (R), who has said that “Trump won Georgia,” has the lead in fundraising in his primary challenge to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R). Hice raised more than $620,000 in the first quarter of 2022, bringing his total to $2.2 million. Raffensperger, who said that Hice has been spreading “disinformation,” has raised $1.8 million. The third leading candidate, with $1.3 million in donations, is state Rep. Bee Nguyen (D), who has emailed supporters warning of the possibility that “the next person to over­see our elections liter­ally called the results of the 2024 elec­tion into ques­tion if the outcome didn’t suit their party.”

In the week before the primary, two outside groups aired pro-Raffensperger TV ads. A spot from one, a Georgia committee called Conservatives for Our Future, shows footage of what appear to be violent protests as the narrator says, “The radical left will do anything to turn our state blue.” The ad goes on to show Raffensperger saying, “Stacy Abrams is suing us so she can put non-citizens on the voter rolls, and I’m the only one stopping her.” The other group, a super PAC called Americans Keeping Country First, was formed last year to support Republicans who voted to impeach or convict Trump; it has not been active in Georgia elections before. Neither group has yet filed reports with the state revealing details about the amounts spent or contributions received for this election cycle. 


The Michigan secretary of state contest is now in the general election phase with Republicans’ nomination of Kristina Karamo, who has questioned the 2020 election and run ads saying Republicans need to “secure our elections” because “the road to the White House runs directly through Michigan.” In November, Karamo will face the incumbent, Jocelyn Benson, who has said “election deniers . . . want to take over statewide offices so they can poten­tially be in a posi­tion to block or undo or fail to certify elec­tion results.”

The latest data available, through the end of December, shows Benson with an overwhelming fundraising lead. Her $1.6 million has driven funding in the race to three times the amount at the same point in the 2018 cycle. Donor interest has surged, with over 7,000 donors giving to secretary of state candidates this cycle, almost five times the number in the 2018 cycle. Money coming from out of state has spiked as well, and the almost $475,000 from outside Michigan is three and a half times more than 2018.

A group called Progress Michigan has been running Facebook ads praising Benson, saying she is “standing up against right-wing extremists and their attempts to overturn the will of voters,” and she ran “the most secure election in MI history.” The expenditures on these ads do not appear in state campaign finance filings, likely because they do not explicitly call for voters to elect Benson.


In Minnesota, secretary of state candidate fundraising through March is more than $650,000, a high since 2010. The lion’s share of this year’s amount has gone to Secretary of State Steve Simon (D), who has said the election “was fundamentally fair, accurate, honest, and secure.”

Simon has been the fundraising leader in every election since he first ran in 2014. His 2022 haul of $520,000 is more than all the secretary candidates put together at this point in each of the last three cycles. It gives him a commanding fundraising lead over the less than $90,000 collected by his closest rival, Kim Crockett (R), who has ques­­tioned the results of the 2020 election.


Donations to Nevada secretary of state candidates have exploded this cycle to $1.8 million, almost four times the amounts at analogous points in the past three cycles.

Two clear fundraising leaders have emerged in Nevada’s open-seat race with almost $700,000 each: Cisco Aguilar (D), who has said “extremists who allege that the 2020 elections were rigged . . . are a threat to our democracy,” and Jesse Haw (R), whose campaign TV ads have the tag line “It’s time to secure our elections.” The fundraising totals through the end of March for Aguilar and Haw each rival the record for highest fundraising since 2010, which was Kate Marshall in 2014 with $718,000 for the entire cycle. The other major hauls so far this cycle are approximately $179,000 for Jim Marchant (R), who has said the 2020 election was “stolen,” and about $153,000 for Richard Scotti (R), who claims of Dominion voting machines: “the data they record in the evening is never the same in the morning.”

Marchant has organized the America First Secretary of State Coalition and an affiliated unlimited-contribution PAC, Conservatives for Election Integrity (CFEI PAC). Its website describes its mission as nationwide fundraising for secretary of state candidates to pursue the coalition’s goals of “Voter Integrity” and to “Counter and Reverse electoral fraud.” The site also states that Marchant “is convinced he only lost because of election fraud and widespread election irregularities.” The PAC has raised almost $110,000. More than 80 percent of the funding for CFEI PAC came from the America Project, an “election integrity” organization that helped fund the review of the 2020 vote in Maricopa County, Arizona. (The America Project is discussed in greater detail below.) CFEI PAC’s largest expenditure was a $10,000 contribution to Marchant’s campaign. 


In Wiscon­sin, the secret­ary of state does not admin­is­ter elec­tions. The Wiscon­sin Elec­tions Commis­sion, like elec­tions admin­is­trat­ors in many states, has been attacked over the 2020 elec­tions. There has been a push, includ­ing by several declared candid­ates for secret­ary of state or governor, to give the secret­ary of state greater power over elec­tions.

The most recent data available, through the end of December, shows a huge spike in contributions to secretary of state candidates, almost $76,000, compared to less than $9,000 in recent years. This is almost entirely driven by Rep. Amy Loudenbeck (R), a six-term member of the state assembly who is campaign­ing on giving the secret­ary of state more power, saying that an elec­ted offi­cial should act as a “check” on the appoin­ted Wiscon­sin Elections Commis­sion.

In April, local Democratic Party leader Alexia Sabor announced a primary challenge to 10-term incumbent Doug La Follette (D), whose campaign announcement said other candidates “have proposed stealing power over elections and concentrating them in the office in the hopes that they can use it to tilt the results of the next presidential election.”

Election Denialism in 2022 Campaigns

Campaigns for governor, secretary of state, and local election administration offices continue to make election denial, or the contrary stance that election denial is a major threat to democracy, central to their pitch to voters.

Here we collect some of the statements and ads premised on the Big Lie or a repudiation of it that candidates for governor, secretary of state, or local election official posts have put out since our last report. We have also collected these examples and more in cumulative trackers for each of the 10 battleground states.


In the governor’s race, Kari Lake (R) has repeatedly claimed the 2020 election was stolen and has sued to ban the voting machines the state uses, alleging they are unreliable. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), also running for governor, claimed that Lake “will reject the will of the people in future elections.” 

In the contest for secretary of state, State Rep. Mark Finchem (R) emailed supporters in May saying, “Democrats stole the election.” The email says that “the sanctity of the vote will be determined 100% by who is elected for Secretary of State. . . . When elections belong to the government, you get dictators in power for 30 years and rigged elections.” On the other side of the issue, State Rep. Reginald Bolding (D) emailed supporters claiming that Finchem “had a critical role in Trump’s attempt to undermine the results of the 2020 Presidential Election” and is running to “undermine the will of Arizona voters.”


Election denial was a key topic in recent debates for state offices. In the governor’s race, David Perdue (R), began his opening statement in an April debate by saying: “First off, folks, let me be very clear tonight, the election in 2020 was rigged and stolen.” As discussed below, outside spenders have spent millions to influence the governor race, including TV ads making claims about “fraudulent votes” and how large-scale “ballot harvesting” affected the 2020 election. 

In April’s secretary of state debate, Rep. Jody Hice (R) made repeated claims about fraud in 2020 and alleged that Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) made a “deal” with Stacey Abrams that led to fraud. Raffensperger said that Hice has been spreading “disinformation,” noting: “That’s what destroys voter confidence.”

Raffensperger campaign ad
Raffensperger campaign ad

Candidates challenging incumbents on the board of elections in Chatham County, where Savannah is located, have made claims about the integrity of the 2020 election. Trish Brown (D), asked why she is seek­ing a seat on the board of elec­tions, said: “We need people that are will­ing to fight against believ­ers of the Big Lie.” Robin Greco (R) wrote: “I am running on Elec­tion Integ­rity and One And Done, which means You only get ONE VOTE! We have got to Stop this Fraud.” Beverly Meng (R) wrote, “Election Integrity is the cornerstone of my campaign. Georgian’s have lost confidence in out election process.” Jennifer Salandi (R) has posted content on her Facebook page about “2000 Mules,” a movie claiming large numbers of people put false ballots in drop boxes, as well as a video claim­ing Fulton County’s elec­tion results were “elec­tron­ic­ally manip­u­lated.”

Trish Brown Facebook post


The election for Michigan secretary of state has seen new claims around election denial. Incumbent Jocelyn Benson (D) said in March she has been “fight­ing elec­tion-deniers, some of whom now want to take over statewide offices so they can poten­tially be in a posi­tion to block or undo or fail to certify elec­tion results.” Kristina Karamo was nominated by Republicans in April. In a May interview discussing her claims of voter fraud, she said there is “massive corruption” and “a massive coverup.” She was a featured speaker at a rally in Michigan where Donald Trump spoke about his claim the elec­tion “was rigged and stolen.” Karamo told the audi­ence that if she is elec­ted she would make sure “your vote isn’t nulli­fied by illegal ballots.”

Kristina Karamo Facebook post


In remarks at a local GOP convention in April, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen (R) implied that Secretary of State Steve Simon could be imprisoned for the way he has run elections, saying cheaters are “going to jail” and Simon “better check out to see if you look good in stripes.”

Secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett (R) showed a video to the convention crowd that depicted incumbent Secretary of State Steve Simon (D) controlled by puppet strings in the hands of George Soros with the caption, “Let’s wreck elections forever and ever.” Her campaign sent supporters an email in May celebrating Republican efforts to recruit election judges. The email says the effort will “help flip Minnesota.” Another Crockett email says Republicans need to overcome a “margin of fraud” in the upcoming election. Simon, for his part, said of election denial that the “cloud of disinformation” is a problem, asserting that people are pushing it for political and financial advantage.


Gubernatorial candidate Fred Simon (R) claims on his campaign website: “There was massive voter fraud conducted in Clark County in the November 2020 election.” In a radio ad, Simon claimed there was a “mail in ballot voter fraud scheme signed by [Gov. Steve] Sisolak,” and said, “we cannot afford to endure any more fraudulent election cycles.”

As for secretary of state candidates, the campaign of former State Sen. Jesse Haw (R) has run ads with the tagline, “It’s time to secure our elections.” Former state Rep. Jim Marchant (R) said: “It’s almost statistically impossible that Joe Biden won.” Marchant supports eliminating mail voting, early voting, and voting machines in favor of hand counting paper ballots. Kristopher Dahir (R) has opposed the push for hand-counted paper ballots. He said, “Nevada doesn’t have any proof” of widespread voter fraud and argues Marchant has made himself “ineligible for this office saying ‘I would break the law because I didn’t like the results.’”

In the local election for clerk of Nye County, three candidates agreed in a debate that Trump won the 2020 election. Ian Bayne’s (R) campaign website says that politi­cians “encour­age voter fraud” and notes: “In 2020, I volun­teered with the Trump campaign to stop voter fraud and what I saw was shock­ing.” Andrew Cacca­vale (R) said there was “voting fraud . . . on a grand scale” in the 2020 pres­id­en­tial elec­tion, and his campaign website prom­ises a vote for him “will put an end to elec­tion tamper­ing once and for all.” Mark Kampf’s (R) campaign website says he was inspired to run by “attacks on our Consti­tu­tional Repub­lic over the last several years.” 


Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano promoted and spoke at an event with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell where attendees were asked to sign a peti­tion to decer­tify the result of the 2020 elec­tion in Pennsylvania. He has said that, as governor, he “can decertify every single [voting] machine in the state,” claiming that machines from certain companies are “compromised.” Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro put out a Facebook ad about attempts to challenge the 2020 vote, saying, “Democracy is on the ballot.”

Josh Shapiro Facebook post


On her website, Travis County clerk candidate Susan Haynes (R) writes: “There are lots of allegations, with some convincing data, that our elections have been manipulated for quite some time. . . . Voting machines are the mechanism by which elections are stolen. We must stop using machines and return to paper ballots, with sequential serial numbers, hand counted at the precinct level. Right now [there are] endless opportunities for data manipulation.”


Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) reelection campaign sent an email to supporters with the subject: “They’ve openly tried to overturn 2020 – we can’t let them do it again in 2024.” The email claims that one of Evers’s opponents, State Rep. Timothy Ramthun (R), is “trying to take back Wisconsin’s electoral votes for Joe Biden.” Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (R) said the 2020 vote in Wisconsin was “rigged.” Construction executive Tim Michels entered the GOP primary in April and is expected to self-fund much of his campaign. He said the election was “maybe” stolen, that there was “a lot of bad stuff” and an unknown number of “illegal ballots.”

National Supporters of Election Denial

There are individuals and organizations who have donated to candidates or outside groups in multiple states with a clear pattern of support for election denial. They tend to have ties to Donald Trump and involvement in efforts to challenge the 2020 election results through lawsuits or reviews of vote tallies. The largest amounts have targeted gubernatorial races. The money aimed at secretary of state contests takes the form of direct contributions, which are typically limited by law to amounts well under $10,000. 

In the handful of local races where we have found evidence of candidates’ support for the Big Lie, we have not seen direct contributions from out-of-state supporters of election denial, although there have been independent expenditures in local races in Wisconsin focused on the issue. In those elections, super PACs paid for TV ads, digital ads, and mailers that, on one side, accused officials of misconduct in the 2020 elections, and on the other, called on voters to “keep Wisconsin elections fair,” claiming “our democracy is at stake.”

Here we describe some key national financers of election denialist candidates for secretary of state or local election administration positions.

Patrick Byrne

Former CEO Patrick Byrne founded and funds the America Project, a nonprofit based in Florida. It is run by former Trump administration official Emily Newman, and its website features remarks by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Before the America Project was created, Byrne, Flynn, and Newman reportedly participated in a heated December 2020 meeting in the Oval Office trying to convince President Trump to seize voting machines.

Byrne said he has spent $12 million on “election integrity” efforts. The America Project contributed $3.3 million to help fund the partisan review of the vote in Maricopa County, Arizona, by the company Cyber Ninjas. The America Project website incorrectly claims that review “exposed severe election fraud that resulted in mass voter suppression, and clearly shows that the Arizona election results should not have been certified.” The website also asserts that election officials committed “crimes,” including deleting records.

The America Project gave almost $88,000 to Conservatives for Election Integrity PAC (CFEI PAC), which was organized by Marchant in Nevada and has promoted secretary of state candidates in multiple states, including candidates discussed above: Finchem in Arizona, Hice in Georgia, and Karamo in Michigan. In addition, CFEI PAC promotes California secretary of state candidate Rachel Hamm, who claims Trump won the state, and Tina Peters in Colorado, the Mesa county clerk who is under indictment for allegedly allowing unauthorized access to data that was later published by people connected to MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s election conspiracy theories.

Byrne gave $5,000 directly to Marchant in February. Within our sample of six states’ elections since the 2010 election cycle, Byrne had not previously given to any secretary of state candidates.

Save America PAC

Donald Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has supported election denial candidates for governor or secretary of state in several states. The group also made contributions of $5,000 each to Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in Arizona and Kristina Karamo in Michigan, as well as $7,000 to Jody Hice for Georgia secretary of state and $5,000 to David Perdue, who is challenging Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary.

In April, Save America gave $2.6 million to a committee called Take Back Georgia, which bought $2.3 million in ad time to support Perdue. Its ads feature Trump saying “every fraudulent 2020 vote stole something. . . . They stole your voice and they stole your freedom.”

Save America also gave $500,000 to Get Georgia Right PAC, which has aired ads attacking Kemp, arguing he did not do enough to stop voter fraud in 2020, “and the widespread illegal ballot harvesting continued, electing two Democrat senators.”

TV ad from Get Georgia Right PAC opposing Brian Kemp
TV ad from Get Georgia Right PAC opposing Brian Kemp

Richard Uihlein

Packaging supplies magnate Richard Uihlein has funded several groups tied to challenging the election and the January 6 insurrection. In 2021, he gave $7,000 to Jody Hice in Geor­gia and $5,000 to Jim Marchant in Nevada. Within our sample of six states’ elections since the 2010 election cycle, Uihlein had not previously given to any secretary of state candidates.

Uihlein funds a super PAC called Restoration PAC, providing $7.5 million of the committee’s $10.7 million revenue. Restoration PAC spent on local races for positions to administer elections in Wisconsin in April, using messages that cast doubt on the 2020 election. Restoration PAC is also a major funder of the American Principles Project, giving its PAC $1.7 million between 2021 and 2022. The American Principles Project gave $500,000 to Georgia Action Fund, which has reported $1.8 million worth of pro-Perdue ads featuring Trump, who says that Kemp has been “a complete disaster on election integrity. We can’t let it happen again.” 

National Opponents of Election Denial

Several donors and outside groups are active in multiple races where election denial is a central issue. National liberal groups have announced multimillion dollar campaigns to oppose election deniers in governor, secretary of state, and local elections, although very little of this spending appears in campaign finance data so far. These groups are largely established left-leaning spenders on federal and gubernatorial races who are beginning to shift some of their spending to focus on elections for secretary of state and local election administration.

We have also noted a handful of major donors giving at or close to the maximum amount to candidates running in opposition to election denial in multiple states. Although the largest amounts are going to gubernatorial candidates, these donors have also made significant contributions to secretary of state candidates. As with supporters of election denial, we have not observed direct contributions from out of state opponents of the Big Lie to candidates for local offices.

American Bridge 21st Century

A group dedicated to supporting Democratic candidates with opposition research on their opponents, American Bridge 21st Century, has launched a $10 million project called Bridge to Democracy to influence state and local election administration races in 12 states. An American Bridge vice president, Pat Dennis, said the group’s “plan is to target extremist Republicans who want to overturn our democracy.” American Bridge has intervened in secretary of state races nationwide where it claims that “Trump’s allies are seeking to rig future elections.”

Democratic Association of Secretaries of State

The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (DASS) raised $2.6 million in the first three months of this year. That is more than for all of 2021, which was itself the organization’s biggest fundraising year in its history. This historic revenue comes amid a fundraising strategy highlighting election denial. Of 64 emails DASS sent to supporters to solicit donations in April, 33 used the term “big lie.” One email said if Karamo, Hice, or Finchem win, “they’ll be in a position to overturn or delegitimize the 2024 election results.” Facebook ads by the group criticize “Big Lie” candidates and claim that Trump is providing “election-denying candidates like Kristina Karamo and Jody Hice with endorsements so he can replace top election officials with his crooked cronies.” DASS also sent supporters an email in which Cisco Aguilar says if his opponent Jim Marchant wins, “we can kiss democracy goodbye in Nevada.”

End Citizens United / Let America Vote

End Citizens United / Let America Vote has announced a $7 million “democracy defender” plan to support Democratic candidates for secretary of state and state attorney general in battleground states. The group has endorsed Cisco Aguilar in Nevada and Bee Nguyen in Georgia and donated $5,000 to Michigan’s Jocelyn Benson. 


The advocacy group MoveOn has been sending members fundraising emails announcing plans “for the first time in its 23-year history, to invest millions in an effort to defeat Trump’s chosen candidates for secretary of state.” Its emails claim the “far right are hell-bent on ending U.S. democracy” and that “Trump’s preparations for being able to steal the presidency in 2024 are well underway and include working to replace top election officials in battleground states with his own loyalists.” The group has reported spending $1.4 million in opposition to Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem, whom MoveOn emails describe as a “lawmaker who continues to work to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Arizona.” MoveOn has also attacked Georgia secretary of state candidate Jody Hice for his support for “overturing the election.”

Run for Something

Run for Something, a Democratic candidate recruitment group, has announced plans to spend $80 million over three years to find and support candidates for local election administration offices in 35 states. The group’s co-founder, Amanda Litman, described the effort as “long-term democracy protection . . . by electing people who will defend democracy.” She said: “Election subversion in 2024 is . . . going to be a county clerk in Michigan or a supervisor of elections in Florida.” The effort is coordinated with American Bridge and Open Democracy PAC, which made independent expenditures on ads saying “our democracy is at stake” in local Wisconsin elections in April.

John Pritzker

Investor John Pritzker of San Francisco gave the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State $100,000 in February. He contributed $7,150 — the legal limit — to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. In gubernatorial races where election denial is at play, Pritzker gave $25,000 to Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania and the maximum amount of $20,000 to Tony Evers in Wisconsin. 

Lynn and Stacy Schusterman

Billionaire philanthropist Lynn Schusterman and her daughter Stacey Schusterman of Tulsa, Oklahoma, have each donated the maximum allowed to secretary of state candidates Cisco Aguilar in Nevada, Jocelyn Benson in Michigan, and Reginald Bolding in Arizona, as well as Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, all of whom have criticized election denial. Within our sample of six states’ elections since the 2010 election cycle, neither has previously given to any secretary of state candidates. These contributions add up to a total of $84,900. Stacy Schusterman also gave $100,000 to Pennsylvania’s Josh Shapiro.