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Arizona State Rep. Mark Finchem will not be mistaken for a Never Trump conservative anytime soon. The far-right Republican conspiracy theorist, who comes from the Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene/Rep. Lauren Boebert school of extremism, has voiced his support for QAnon, praised the Oath Keepers, promoted former President Donald Trump's bogus election fraud lies and falsely claimed that antifa attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6. And now, Finchem is running for Arizona secretary of state — which, journalist Cameron Joseph stresses in an article published by Vice on April 12, would put him in charge of elections in the Grand Canyon State.
"Some Republicans worry that Finchem could be a force to contend with in primary, given how virulently pro-Trump much of the GOP base is in the state," Joseph observes. "And Democrats are terrified at the prospect of Finchem in charge of Arizona's election system heading into 2024 — when the state could once again be at the epicenter of the presidential map."
One of the Arizona Democrats who is sounding the alarm about Finchem is Bonnie Heidler, who chairs the Pima County Democratic Party Chair. Heidler told Vice, "I'm totally freaked out that he's running. He cannot hold that position. If he does, democracy is completely out of the question."
Heidler is right to be concerned given Finchem's history. After now-President Joe Biden defeated Trump in the 2020 presidential election, Finchem joined Trump in promoting the false claim that the election had been stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud — and he claimed that Trump really won Arizona. Finchem, like Trump, was furious when Gov. Doug Ducey, a conservative Republican, certified Biden's Electoral College victory in the state.
On his website, Finchem claims, "Since my very first election, I knew something was very wrong with our elections process. Then on November 3rd, 2020, the unthinkable happened: Americans witnessed real-time reallocation of votes from one candidate to another, broadcast on national television."
Such claims have been totally debunked by cybersecurity experts for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but that hasn't prevented Finchem from promoting them. And on January 6 — before the storming of the U.S. Capitol Building — he was in Washington, D.C. for Trump's Stop the Steal Rally.
During a March 4 appearance on Victory News — a Christian Right outlet — Finchem pushed the QAnon conspiracy theory, saying, "They're finding so many kids. We've got a serious problem in this nation. And that's one of the things that disturbs me so much about our current congressional state of affairs. There's a lot of people involved in a pedophile network and the distribution of children, and that makes me absolutely sick. And unfortunately, there's a whole lot of elected officials that are involved in that."
In order to become Arizona's secretary of state, Finchem would have to win the GOP primary, followed by the general election. A Republican strategist in Arizona told Vice that a Democrat will easily win the general election if Finchem is the nominee — saying, "If he wins the primary, we're done."
But Democrat Tony Cani, who worked on Biden's 2020 campaign in Arizona and is now working on an effort to get Finchem thrown out of the Arizona House of Representatives, told Vice, "I think that he is a legitimate threat to not only win the nomination, but to ride a wave of lies and conspiracy theories into office. Elections in Arizona are a wild card, and we have a history of people with extreme views navigating their way into office."
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott and city law enforcement officials faced angry questions from residents at a press conference on Tuesday after Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a police officer.
Elliott began the press conference by explaining that 48-year-old Kim Potter, the officer who shot Wright, had resigned. He said that Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned.
One mother who said she had lost her son said that she was concerned that the acting police chief could not relate to the community.
"I wrap my head around it every day," she explained. "We need him to have empathy, sympathy and compassion and you need to look yourself in the mirror and speak to your own. If it was your kid, how would you feel? What would you do?"
"And you all keep traumatizing us over and over again," the woman continued. "And you can't wrap your brain around it but yet you go home to your kids and wife every day. And I'm left without a child. When Sandra Bland got killed, I could wrap my head, my heart and everything around it and my son was living then. I'm going to need you to do more."
The woman went on to blast "corrupt cops" in Minnesota.
"But you can't wrap your head around it," she said. "But you go home and you wrap your arms around your kids every day. Every day! I'm going to need you to wrap your mind around it."
"Act like you care about Black, brown and indigenous bodies," she added. "Act like they were your kids! No more racial profiling! No more! I'm sick and I'm tired and it's people like you and you... that causes our families, that causes us to suffer. You don't know what it feels like. I'm sick of you all."
Moments later, a man stood up to lash out at the two police department officials who were in attendance.
"Right now, Brooklyn Center looks like a sundown town," he explained. "Black people better not be driving through here after sundown."
"My tags are expired. I can be racially profiled and killed," the man pointed out.
DeSantis complains about 'Orwellian' media companies after YouTube removed video saying kids don't need masks
It has been less than a week since YouTube axed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' video questioning the effectiveness of masks, and now he is back with another roundtable discussion restating his previous claims.
On Monday, April 12, DeSantis and a group of scientists — including Dr. Scott Atlas, Stanford University's Jay Bhattacharya, and Harvard professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff — met again to discuss COVID-19. However, the stage quickly transformed into an outlet for the group to discuss their grievances about the influence of Big Tech power of censorship by way of social media, according to The Herald Tribune.
"What we're really witnessing is Orwellian," DeSantis said. "It's a Big Tech, corporate media collusion. And the end result is that the narrative is always right. Well, I don't think that's what the American people want."
DeSantis' latest remarks come amid a push to advance legislation that would give the state the ability to reprimand YouTube and other social media networks for account suspensions and/or blocking users and political candidate accounts.
"You don't think there are people in the state of Florida concerned about censorship? Or seeing how massive companies are controlling the terms of debate on some of the most important issues facing our country and the world?" DeSantis said.
CBS and 60 Minutes have a playbook: lie with impunity, smear their political opponents and deceptively edit out fac… https://t.co/USRA96rUr8— Ron DeSantis (@Ron DeSantis)1617824904.0
The footage of DeSantis' previous roundtable discussion was removed by YouTube after the video-sharing network cited the video's violation of community standards.
According to YouTube, the video "content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19." At the time, a YouTube representative released a statement about the video.
"YouTube has clear policies around COVID-19 medical misinformation to support the health and safety of our users," a rep said in a statement on Thursday, April 8. "We removed AIER's video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
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