The fundraising total, shared first with CNN, is three times what the organizations collected during the entire 2018 election cycle. And Kim Rogers, its executive director, said the group and its affiliates are on track to bring in $15 million for the 2022 election cycle — 10 times what it collected four years ago.
Rogers called Democratic secretaries of state “the last line of defense for democracy” as Republicans in key battlegrounds enact measures that could make it harder to vote and press ahead with partisan reviews of 2020 election results.
The failure to advance federal voting protections in the US Senate this week will drive “even greater attention to the states,” she said.
Secretaries of state serve in most places as the top election administrators, helping set voting procedures and often playing a role in the final certification of results. Voters in more than half of the states will pick election chiefs this year.
Former President Donald Trump’s relentless and unsuccessful efforts to overturn the 2020 election have put a spotlight on these posts like never before. In Georgia, the former President has endorsed Rep. Jody Hice in a Republican primary against sitting Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who resisted Trump’s pressure to “find” the votes needed to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state.
Trump loyalists also are seeking the top elections jobs in Arizona and Michigan, two other states Biden flipped.
In Arizona, recently filed fundraising reports underscore the interest among donors in these contests. Democratic and Republican candidates for Secretary of State reported a combined $2.2 million in total receipts in 2021 — more than three times what all candidates for state elections chief had collected at this point in the last election cycle.
Advertising executive Edward “Beau” Lane, one of four candidates seeking the GOP nomination in Arizona, topped the field in fundraising, with total receipts of more than $716,000. Trump-backed contender, GOP state Rep. Mark Finchem, had the second-largest haul among all candidates, bringing nearly $663,000 last year.
The national Republican group focused on secretary of state contests also is raising big sums.
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) and an affiliated group, the State Government Leadership Foundation, recently announced bringing in a record $33.3 million in 2021.
The bulk of the RSLC’s spending focuses on state legislative races, but officials say they will direct money to secretary of state fights this year. They have not disclosed those figures.
The group’s spokesman Andrew Romeo said, “national liberals are ramping up their investments” and the RSLC “is focused on continuing to accelerate our fundraising efforts so we can stop them.”
The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State is one of several liberal organizations — including End Citizens United/Let America Vote — that have committed to spending heavily on down-ballot races this year.