2020 Election Deniers Win Key Republican Primaries in Arizona, Michigan and Missouri

·5 min read
Mark Finchem; John Gibbs,; Eric Schmitt
Mark Finchem; John Gibbs,; Eric Schmitt

Ross D Franklin/AP/Shutterstock; Sarah Rice for The Washington Post via Getty Images; Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Candidates closely aligned with former President Donald Trump and who share his stubborn stance on the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, which he lost to President Joe Biden, won Republican primaries in several key states Tuesday.

In Michigan, former Trump administration official John Gibbs defeated Republican Rep. Peter Meijer, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach the former president in 2021 after his supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Gibbs, who Trump appointed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development during his presidency, has said Biden's win in 2020 was "mathematically impossible," according to The Detroit News.

Trump's endorsement of Gibbs helped boost his campaign but he also had help from Democrats, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads to boost their preferred choice to face the party's nominee, Democrat Hillary Scholten, in November, according to The Washington Post.

"I'm very proud of you, John," Trump told Gibbs in a late-night phone call after it was clear he'd defeated Meijer on Tuesday, The Detroit News reported.

Also in Michigan, businesswoman and conservative media personality Tudor Dixon will be the Republican nominee for governor, after defeating four male candidates in the primary. Dixon, who just earned Trump's endorsement on Friday, will face Democratic incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in November.

When a moderator asked candidates during a May debate if they believed Trump won Michigan in the 2020 presidential race, Dixon, 45, raised her hand, even though the former president earned about 154,000 less votes than Biden.

RELATED: Trump-Backed Candidate Wins Michigan GOP Primary, Will Now Face Incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

Dixon backed away somewhat from her position on a so-called "stolen" election less than 48 hours after Trump endorsed her, telling Fox News host Bret Baier she was "concerned" about how voting was handled by her state in 2020, according to Detroit Free Press.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - AUGUST 02: Republican Michigan Gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, flanked by her children, speaks with members of the media outside the Norton Shores Fire Station 3 after voting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 in Grand Rapids, MI. Dixon recently received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - AUGUST 02: Republican Michigan Gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, flanked by her children, speaks with members of the media outside the Norton Shores Fire Station 3 after voting on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022 in Grand Rapids, MI. Dixon recently received the endorsement of former President Donald Trump. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kent Nishimura/instagram

In response to Dixon's victory, Nancy Wang, executive director of Voters Not Politicians — the preeminent voting rights and democracy organization in Michigan — said in a statement: "Tonight we are dismayed to see the GOP celebrate and validate the gubernatorial candidacy of a well-known election denier, who has repeatedly shown she is a danger to our democracy."

RELATED: Victories Stack Up in Georgia for GOP Candidates Who Blocked Trump's Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election

In Arizona, state lawmaker and 2020 election denier Mark Finchem won the GOP primary election for secretary of state, a position that can influence how elections are run in the state.

Finchem attended the Trump rally on Jan. 6, 2021, that preceded the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. He also pushed for Arizona's legislature to overturn the 2020 election results, the AP reports, and claimed that tens of thousands of Arizona falsified ballots helped Biden win the state's electoral votes.

"What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud," Finchem tweeted Jan. 6, 2021, with a photo of mob of flag-waving Trump supporters outside the Capitol.

Finchem, who has publicly admitted his affiliation with the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, defeated three other GOP candidates in the race for secretary of state.

RELATED: Trump-Backed Arizona Candidate Says He Won't Concede if He Loses on Tuesday

Blake Masters, who earned Trump's endorsement in June and said he believed the former president won in 2020, was the victor in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Arizona, defeating former businessman Jim Lamon and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters speaks during his town hall event at Miss Kittys Steak House in Williams, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters speaks during his town hall event at Miss Kittys Steak House in Williams, Ariz., on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Blake Masters

He will face Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, astronaut and husband of former congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in November.

Masters said in a recent NBC News interview that he would have objected to the 2020 presidential election certification on Jan. 6, 2021, had he been a sitting senator at the time. "What [Sen. Josh] Hawley and, I believe, what [Sen. Ted] Cruz did was right," Masters said, referring to two senators who did just that. "I think their constituents had a lot of concerns."

RELATED: Blake Masters' Best Man, Former Friends Blast Him for Right-Wing Rhetoric: 'What Happened to You?'

Former state senator David Farnsworth, who said he believes that the devil stole the election from Trump in 2020, defeated Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, one of the Jan. 6 committee's witnesses who testified at a televised Capitol Hill hearing about the former president's unsuccessful pressure campaign to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump called Bowers a "RINO," a favorite insult of the former president that stands for "Republican in name only, in his endorsement of Farnsworth in June.

2018 file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens looks on before speaking at an event near the capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens, a sometimes brash outsider whose unconventional resume as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL officer made him a rising star in Republican politics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, May 29, 2018, after a scandal involving an affair with his former hairdresser led to a broader investigation by prosecutors and state legislators.
2018 file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens looks on before speaking at an event near the capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Greitens, a sometimes brash outsider whose unconventional resume as a Rhodes Scholar and Navy SEAL officer made him a rising star in Republican politics, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, May 29, 2018, after a scandal involving an affair with his former hairdresser led to a broader investigation by prosecutors and state legislators.

Jeff Roberson/AP Photo Eric Greitens

In Missouri, Former Gov. Eric Greitens was defeated in the state's U.S. Senate primary Tuesday, losing the Republican nomination to Eric Schmitt, the state's attorney general.

RELATED: Trump Endorses 'Eric' for Senate Hours Before Missouri GOP Primary — There Are 3 Erics on the Ballot

Schmitt and 17 other attorneys general supported a Texas-led lawsuit that sought to overturn the 2020 election results in four key states Trump lost — Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the suit in December 2020.

Schmitt will face the winner of Tuesday's Democratic primary, nurse and Anheuser-Busch heir Trudy Busch Valentine, in November.

Trump vaguely endorsed "ERIC" just ahead of the Missouri primary, but in a bizarre twist didn't say whether he meant Greitens, Schmitt or Eric McElroy, all of whom were on the ballot.