SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 29 January 2022, Saturday |

Fundraising surges in races for U.S. election oversight roles, report says

A survey issued on Wednesday indicated that campaign donations to candidates for U.S. election supervision jobs are soaring, indicating how former President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations of electoral fraud are upping the stakes in this year’s November elections.

According to a report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, candidates for previously low-profile secretary of state positions in swing states — a role that wields significant power in determining how votes are certified — are smashing fundraising totals from previous election cycles.

According to a Reuters investigation, at least ten Republicans vying for secretary of state in five presidential battleground states have endorsed Republican Trump’s baseless assertion that he lost a “rigged” election last year.

In Arizona, Michigan, and Florida, the former president has backed three of the contenders.

Democrats fear that putting supporters of Trump’s disproved claim that his loss was caused by massive fraud in control of the election process in swing states jeopardizes the integrity of future elections, particularly if Trump runs for president again in 2024.

According to a Brennan Center analysis of fundraising data, candidates for secretary of state in two states that were critical to Biden’s victory last November – Georgia and Michigan – have received 2.5 times more campaign funding than they did at a comparable point in either of the previous two election cycles.

In the secretary of state race in Georgia, a state Biden won by less than 12,000 votes, four candidates have each raised more than the Republican incumbent, Republican Brad Raffensperger, had at this point in 2018. Raffensperger refused Trump’s demands to overturn Biden’s win and faces a tough re-election battle.

Republican congressman Jody Hice, who voted to overturn Biden’s victory after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, has been endorsed by Trump and is challenging Raffensperger. He has raised over $500,000, more than any other candidate.

The Georgia secretary of state contest also shows how these normally obscure races have been nationalized.

Out-of-state donors so far have made 22% of the contributions to this race, nearly twice that of 2018, when it was 13%.

In Michigan, incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has raised $1.2 million, six times what the last incumbent had raised at this point in 2014.

Her Republican challenger Kristina Karamo, endorsed by Trump, has raised over $164,000 from more than 2,600 contributions.