Another 2020 election denier will be on November’s ballot


HR King
May 29, 2001
Last night, Audrey Trujillo became the latest 2020 election denier to win her party’s nomination to oversee a state’s elections.

The New Mexico Republican is part of a wave of candidates beholden to conspiracy theories about election hacking and fraud who are seeking to lead elections in more than a dozen states — including in many states that were decisive in President Biden’s victory.


The candidacies are a stark contrast from decades during which Republican and Democratic election officials steered clear of partisan conspiracy theories and were largely on the same page about election security and how to fairly determine who won and who lost.

The danger​

If they’re victorious in November, election watchers fear, these candidates could disregard or intentionally violate security measures. They could also refuse to certify legitimate results or spread unfounded doubt if their preferred candidate loses.

  • “If they’re continuing to maintain the 2020 election was stolen or rigged after everything we’ve seen from intelligence agencies and election officials, it’s fair to ask if they’d be willing to bend or break the rules when they’re overseeing elections,” David Levine, elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told me.


Trujillo has been outspoken in her baseless criticism of the 2020 contest. She has called Biden’s 2020 election victory a “coup” and compared U.S. voting systems to “any other communist country like Venezuela or any of these other states where our elections are being manipulated,” per the New York Times.

In fact, federal and state election officials declared the 2020 election the most secure in U.S. history — largely because of enhanced cybersecurity protections and a shift to paper ballots that can’t be altered by hackers.
Trujillo’s Twitter account also posted tweets mocking Mexicans and suggesting Jews played a nefarious role in developing coronavirus vaccines, per the Albuquerque Journal.

Trujillo, who was unopposed for the nomination, is essentially the second election denier to win her party’s nomination as secretary of state.
  • Michigan Republican Kristina Karamo won the endorsement of GOP state leaders last month to be the party’s nominee for secretary of state in November. Karamo has echoed former president Donald Trump’s false election fraud claims and attended rallies aligned with the fringe QAnon conspiracy group.
Election denier Doug Mastriano also won Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial primary, which will allow him to appoint that state’s top election official if he wins in November. He’s said he’ll appoint someone who will require all of the state’s residents to re-register to vote. And there's more:

  • Big secretary of state primary fights featuring election deniers are also coming up in Arizona and Colorado. Less prominent races are taking place in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota and Massachusetts.
  • On the extreme end: Colorado secretary of state candidate Tina Peters (R), has already been indicted on a charge of endangering the security of election machines after the 2020 election. As clerk of Mesa County, Colo., Peters allegedly allowed an unauthorized third party to secretly copy election equipment hard drives. She’s been barred from overseeing the county’s 2022 elections.
  • It gets weirder: On the most extreme end, Wisconsin Republican Jay Schroeder is running for secretary of state claiming the 2020 election was illegitimate — even though the Wisconsin secretary of state doesn’t oversee elections. Schroeder argues he’ll assume responsibility for elections and then reform them.


Election deniers haven’t all had an easy path to the nomination. In the most closely watched race so far, incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) easily bested primary challenger Jody Hice, winning by about 18 points.

Raffenspger had become a top target for election deniers after he insisted Biden’s victory in the state was legitimate and resisted Trump’s demands to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat. Trump endorsed Hice in the race.
  • A 2020 election denier John Adams lost Ohio’s secretary of state GOP primary to incumbent Frank LaRose by more than 30 points last month.
  • Rachel Hamm, a longshot GOP secretary of state candidate lost decisively in last night’s open California primary. Hamm won about 11 percent of the vote compared with 59 percent for incumbent Democrat Shirley Weber and 19 percent for Republican Rob Bernosky.

General election​

Even if they’re nominated, some election deniers will face long odds in November.
Trujillo, for example, will go up against incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who won her 2018 general election race by a 20-point margin.
But a long political race focused on wild and baseless conspiracy theories and sowing doubt about election protections may do damage enough to the public’s faith in election security — which has already been driven down by 2020 election fights.

“What we’ve seen to date is election officials across the country and across the political spectrum that support evidence-based practices, that support the security of elections, that see their job as ensuring election outcomes reflect the will of the voters. You can no longer take that to the bank,” Levine told me.