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Arizona Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes is being accused by the state Republican Party of “misusing” his office to give his party a huge advantage ahead of the 2024 elections.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Arizona Republican Party accused Fontes, who oversees elections in the state as a major part of his duties, of “misusing the power of his office” in what they claim is a naked attempt to hamper the GOP heading into next year’s critical elections.
“By all accounts, Secretary Fontes is misusing the power of his office to impact the 2024 elections in favor of the Democrat [sic] Party, of which he is a member,” the statement said, per The Western Journal.
The outlet noted further:
The state Republican Party’s accusations centered around preferential treatment given by the secretary of state’s office to third parties that seemed more likely to hurt Republicans’ chances in 2024 when compared to third parties deemed more likely to hurt Democrats.
The Arizona Republican Party’s X and Facebook accounts shared the statement Thursday morning.
The statement accused Fontes’ office of failing to notify Republicans that the Patriot Party was scheduled to file signatures with the office in support of its petition to be recognized by the state as a political party.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Secretary of State Adrian Fontes Misuses His Office to Influence Elections
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) November 16, 2023
As such, the state GOP did not have any observers present at the filing so they could witness and potentially challenge some of the signatures, the outlet reported.
Alternately, Arizona Democratic Party observers were permitted by Fontes’ office to observe a petition filing by the No Labels Party, a centrist group that many believe will peel more votes from Democrats than from Republicans next year if their candidates appear on ballots nationwide.
“This brazen display of partisanship undermines the ability of every other political party, [sic] to compete on a level playing field,” the state GOP noted in its statement. They added that Fontes’ office also did not provide clear images of the filings, making it impossible to verify whether they are legitimate.
If Fontes does certify the Patriot Party for next year’s ballot, the state GOP said he should “expect litigation.”
“The people of Arizona deserve consistent and nonpartisan application of process and procedures with full transparency,” the AZGOP statement said, “a virtue Secretary Fontes espouses but has yet to practice.”
Meanwhile, former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake must be smiling following the results of a brand-new poll showing her with a big lead over other potential GOP primary challengers for a U.S. Senate seat currently held by former Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
Lake has “a commanding 26-point lead in the race for the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) nomination for U.S. Senate,” the Arizona Sun-Times reported on Thursday, citing a Noble Predictive Insights (NPI) poll.
The former Phoenix-area broadcaster had 40 percent support, followed by Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb with 14 percent, with a margin of error plus or minus 5.25 percent.
“Former U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters also received 10 percent of support, but he has since declared he will instead mount a campaign for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) at the end of her term. NPI founder Mike Noble noted Masters’ decision, and stated that ‘Lake is likely to benefit the most’ from his share of the vote,” the Sun-Times noted further.
“An additional 4 percent of respondents said they would vote for businessman Brian Wright, while 33 percent said they were undecided,” the outlet added.
Lake has already picked up a huge endorsement.
According to Fox News, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), has come out in support of Lake, who will attempt to turn at least one of Arizona’s two Senate seats red again after both went blue over the past two election cycles. Sinema won her seat in 2018, defeating Martha McSally, and last year, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly handily fended off Trump-backed Masters 51.4 percent to 46.5 percent.
“Joe Biden’s policies have crushed Arizona. Arizonans are dealing with record inflation – up 20 percent under the Biden administration. Arizona is also on the front lines of the worst illegal immigration crisis in American history. Nearly 8 million illegal immigrants under Biden, equal to the population of Arizona,” Barrasso said in a statement, per Fox News. “The U.S. Senate needs a Senator from Arizona that understands these issues, and will fight hard to solve them.”