In November, states are holding elections for offices like secretary of state that will play key roles in running the 2024 elections. These races are attracting far more attention than in recent memory. Part of the reason for their increasing visibility is the spread of the Big Lie that voter fraud “stole” the 2020 race from Donald Trump. In state after state, and especially battlegrounds likely to be pivotal in 2024, campaigns have 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.
Here are our newest key findings:
- Across six battleground states with secretary of state elections this year, fundraising by candidates has totaled $26.4 million, more than double the $11.8 million raised at this point in 2018. The large sums of money raised from out-of-state donors illustrate the nationalization of these elections, which are in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
- Across the four races with an election denier on the general election ballot for secretary of state, election deniers are being outraised by a ratio of three to one. Election deniers are also losing the money race in most battleground gubernatorial elections, but they have dominated in some local races in Nevada.
- Outside groups like super PACs are spending unprecedented amounts totaling several million dollars for secretary of state races in each of the key states. Virtually all this independent spending is supporting opponents of election denial.
- Data from social media platforms shows how central false election narratives are to some secretary of state campaigns, and their use is increasing as Election Day nears. And in a sign that election deniers are speaking to different audiences than other candidates, their online ads are more likely to target older people.
- Candidates are mixing election denial with racist tropes like the notion that people of color and immigrants are dangerous or that Jewish or Chinese people have outsize influence over our elections.
In battleground states, election deniers are on the general election ballot for governor in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, as well as on the ballot for secretary of state in Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nevada. There are also election denying candidates for local offices that play key roles in election administration in counties in Nevada and Texas.