The two Latino secretaries of state who eliminated Holocaust deniers in 2022
Latinos Adrian Fontes and Cisco Aguilar are the new Secretaries of State for Arizona and Nevada, respectively, after seeing their Republicans compete in a close election that had major implications for the future of political races in the two states.
Leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, Arizona and Nevada have hosted at least three of the cycle’s highest-profile races.
In Arizona, not only did incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly face a close race against Trump-endorsed nominee Blake Masters – whom he has since won – but current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs , also faced an equally competitive challenger in Republican sweetheart Kari Lake, an election denier. .
Nevada hosted the tightest Senate race of the cycle between incumbent Latina Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Trump-endorsed Adam Laxalt, as well as a Trump-vs. since lost his re-election bid to the Republican challenger. Joe Lombardo.
But just below the surface of mainstream attention on figures like Lake, Hobbs, Kelly and Masters in Arizona and Cortez Masto and Laxalt in Nevada, were Fontes and Mark Finchem, and Aguilar and Jim Marchant.
The last four listed were the two states’ candidates for Secretary of State.
For states, the role of the secretary of state is the leader charged with directing elections whenever they are due to take place – giving whoever holds the position major power over the process. In some states, such as Pennsylvania, the secretary of state is appointed by the governor, but voters hold power in Arizona and Nevada.
Given the unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud by former President Donald Trump and his Republican loyalists in Arizona and Nevada since his defeat in the 2020 presidential election – which saw him lose both states – the job of Secretary of State has taken on a new importance.
In their respective races, Fontes and Aguilar faced off against Holocaust deniers of the 2020 election for secretary of state.
Finchem in Arizona and Marchant in Nevada were staunch Trump supporters, received Trump’s endorsements, and were the instigators of the false narrative that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him by Democrats and President Joe Biden. There is no doubt that they would have kept this attitude towards the current president and his party overseeing the electoral process in 2024 – where Trump could be a candidate again.
Instead, Fontes and Aguilar won, and they will be the ones overseeing state elections in 2024. Finchem and Marchant also join a host of 2020 election deniers vying for state secretaries across the countries that were rejected by voters. Candidates refusing the election also lost in Minnesota, New Mexico and Michigan.
For Aguilar, it’s also Nevada history as the first Latino to be elected secretary of state. He grew up in Tuscon, Arizona, in a working-class family. His father was a union electrician who worked long hours to put food on the table for Cisco and his two siblings.
He was the first in the family to go to college and earn a Bachelor of Science in Financial Accounting from the University of Arizona. Aguilar would also go back there to get both his MBA and JD.
Professionally, Aguilar has a long career in education and sports and first moved to Nevada 20 years ago.
Fontes grew up in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, and rests on the shoulders of her Mexican grandfather, who fought in World War II for the United States and became a citizen upon his return. His grandfather would also become mayor of Nogales during his lifetime.
A young Adrian entered the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1992 to 1996 before being honorably discharged. His political career began after he was elected the first Democrat as Maricopa County Recorder in 50 years.