Arizona’s Republican Party has accused Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes of “misusing” his office, alleging that he is leveraging his position to gain an unfair advantage for his party in the upcoming 2024 elections. The party released a statement on Thursday, asserting that Fontes, responsible for election oversight in the state, is abusing the authority of his office in what they characterize as a deliberate move to hinder the GOP in the crucial elections next year.
“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 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
Consequently, the state GOP lacked representatives during the filing, preventing them from observing and potentially contesting certain signatures, according to the report. In contrast, Arizona Democratic Party observers were granted permission by Fontes’ office to oversee a petition filing by the No Labels Party, a centrist group expected to draw more votes from Democrats than Republicans in the upcoming elections if their candidates are featured on nationwide ballots.
“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.
In the event that Fontes approves the certification of the Patriot Party for the upcoming ballot in 2024, the state GOP has warned that he should anticipate legal action.
“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 appears to be in a favorable position, as indicated by the results of a recent poll. The poll reveals her with a significant lead over other potential GOP primary contenders vying for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by former Democrat-turned-Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
According to a Noble Predictive Insights (NPI) poll cited by the Arizona Sun-Times on Thursday, Lake commands a substantial 26-point lead in the race for the Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) nomination for the U.S. Senate. The former Phoenix-area broadcaster secured 40 percent support, with Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb trailing at 14 percent, accounting for 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 secured a significant endorsement, with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) expressing his support for her candidacy. Lake aims to reclaim one of Arizona’s two Senate seats for the Republican Party after both seats shifted to the Democratic side in the past two election cycles. In 2018, Kyrsten Sinema won her seat, defeating Martha McSally, and in the last election, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly successfully defended his seat against Trump-backed candidate Masters with a 51.4 percent to 46.5 percent victory.
“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.”