WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Dec. 16, an Arizona judge dismissed an election contest brought by failed Arizona GOP secretary of state candidate and election denier Mark Finchem. Finchem’s lawsuit alleged that issues with tabulator machines in Maricopa County and the “weak and unsatisfying” solutions offered to voters resulted in “60,000 Maricopa County and 20,000 Pima county missing votes reported on the Secretary of State website.” The contest blamed these issues on current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D), suggesting that she “had an ethical duty to recuse herself” because she “was herself running for governor” while being the state’s chief election officer. According to the plaintiffs, “recusal would cause her to lose control of the election she hoped to directly benefit from – a staggering appearance of impropriety and display of unethical behavior,” causing Arizona to have “the only mid-term election in the 50 states with such a comical and tragic outcome.” The lawsuit contained other outlandish claims such as accusing Hobbs of using Twitter “to censor the free speech of Arizona citizens because of ‘misinformation’ [that] offended her political perspective.” Today’s ruling came after a hearing in which lawyers for Arizona secretary of state-elect Adrian Fontes (D) and Hobbs argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed.
This lawsuit has been riddled with strife from its conception. On top of Finchem’s claims being rooted in election denialism and conspiracies, his attorney (the same attorney who represented the Cochise County Board of Supervisors and filed in a federal court that does not exist) misspelled Fontes’ name several times and even misspelled his own client’s name as “Fincham” in a response to the defendants’ motions to dismiss the contest. In her motion to dismiss, Hobbs argues that Finchem’s requested relief “is extreme, unfounded, and unavailable.” In Fontes’ motion to dismiss, he writes that “‘[e]nough is enough.’ The People of Arizona have spoken, rejected Plaintiff’s firebrand of divisive and dangerous rhetoric, and elected Adrian Fontes in order to preserve our democracy for future generations.” During today’s hearing, Finchem’s lawyer presented several novel arguments, including that the civil rules should not apply in this case (even though Finchem asked for discovery under the civil rules), Twitter is part of the government and counties have discretion to canvass election results. In the order dismissing the case, the judge writes that Finchem’s arguments “are not well-pled facts; they are legal conclusions masquerading as alleged facts. As such, this court is not obliged to assume their truth.” This ruling finally puts to rest a last-ditch effort by Finchem, who lost by over five points, to overturn valid election results.