Republicans who have echoed former President Donald Trump's claims of massive voter fraud are raising substantial amounts of money to fund secretary of state campaigns for the 2022 midterm elections.
According to HuffPost, candidates running in key swing states are also on track to reach record-breaking fundraising heights for election races that have taken on a new form of symbolism due to the partisan circulation of misinformation regarding the 2020 presidential election.
Per a new fundraising analysis developed by the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-profit organization that tracks election finances for secretary of state races, "secretary of state candidates in three battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, and Minnesota — have collectively raised 2.5 times more than candidates had at a comparable point in 2014 or 2018 election cycles."
Ian Vandewalker, a senior counsel for the organization's Democracy Program who also served as one of the writers of the report, weighed in on the common campaign denominator between Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D); while both household names now, that wasn't the case a short period of time ago.
“Brad Raffensperger is a household name. Jocelyn Benson is a household name,” Vandewalker pointed out. “It was not long ago that no one had ever heard of a single secretary of state.”
Analyzing both candidates' fundraising patterns since 2018, the analysis notes that while the two incumbents did raise a substantial amount while on the campaign trail, their competitors —Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Michigan Republican candidate Kristina Karamo— are on track to exceed their previous records.
"In Georgia, U.S. Rep. Jody Hice raised nearly $576,000 over the first three months of his campaign for secretary of state, outpacing Raffensperger and all other candidates in the race. Michigan GOP candidate Kristina Karamo raised $164,000 last year — a sum that leaves her well behind Benson but still exceeds the total raised by Benson’s Republican challenger at this point in 2018."
Vandewalker also detailed another component that could contribute to the rise in campaign spending: legislation or lack thereof. Voting reforms such as the Freedom to Vote Act, which Democrats are fighting to pass through the Senate, would help to thwart some of the partisan significance of secretary of state races. But without proper legislation, the Republican agenda —and inflated spending— will likely continue.
“There’s every reason to think that there will be big outside spending both from super PACs and dark money groups, just as a function of increased attention and increased nationalization,” he said. “There’s deep-pocketed people who are keyed into this issue ... and it’s entirely possible that they are going to push more money into these elections through outside spending.”