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Fontes wins the Democratic nomination for Arizona Secretary of State.
Fontes wins the Democratic nomination for Arizona Secretary of State. Photo: Facebook

The Latino in Arizona standing in the way of a 2020 election denier

Adrian Fontes won the Democratic primary for Arizona Secretary of State, and will now take on Mark Finchem in the general election.

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It was a gloomy primary this past Tuesday, Aug. 2 for anyone hoping former President Donald Trump’s reign in the Republican Party was dwindling. Three of his endorsed candidates, all election deniers, won races to compete for key positions in Arizona, a major swing state. 

One of those winners was Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, an attendee of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, and an ardent Trump supporter. With a win in November, Finchem could be in charge of all the elections in Arizona for the next four years — and during the next presidential election in 2024. That could bode well for Trump, who is weighing another run.

Standing in Finchem’s (and Trump’s) way is former Maricopa County recorder Adrian Fontes, who was announced as the winner of the Democratic primary for Arizona Secretary of State on Aug. 4, after the AP called the race.

Fontes beat out fellow candidate Reginald Bolding by more than 25,000 votes. Both Bolding and Fontes iterated during their campaigns the potential danger facing democracy if Finchem were to take post of one of the state’s highest positions. 

He is also a strong Latino Democratic voice in the state with a history of public and military service that runs in his family. Fontes grew up in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, and stands on the shoulders of his Mexican grandfather, who fought in World War II for the U.S. and then became a citizen upon his return.

His grandfather also went on to become the mayor of Nogales during his life. For Fontes, he would also go into the military, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. From 1992 to 1996 before being honorably discharged.

When he returned from the military, Fontes got his bachelor’s from Arizona State University, and then went on to get his law degree from the University of Denver. 

Fontes’ public service career began in 2016, when he became the first Democrat to be elected as Maricopa County Recorder in 50 years.

In the same year Trump lost to Biden, Fontes lost his Recorder seat to Republican Stephen Richer. Fontes was overseer of some parts of Maricopa County elections, but did not watch over the actual vote counting or the polling places. Republicans did very well in Maricopa County that year as the only Democrat wins came for Senator Mark Kelly and Biden. 

Fontes’ campaign for Secretary of State is focused on the protection of voter rights for Arizonans and hammering home the risk of having a character like Finchem in that crucial position as the presidential elections come closer.

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