Fresh off an October 9 rally in Mesa with Trump and other Arizona candidates, Finchem posted this terse truism on social media on October 11: "Just follow the law."
But for Finchem, a state lawmaker since 2014, all crimes are not created equal.
He is hardly the first politician to promote law and order on the campaign trail. The irony is that, just days before the tweet, he participated in an interview with convicted criminal Micajah Jackson, a violent homophobe and antisemite who lives in Phoenix and took part in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Finchem posted the interview on his campaign website.
Earlier this year, Jackson pleaded guilty for his role in the insurrection. He was sentenced to 36 months probation and 90 days in a halfway house.
“I want to bring back unity in Arizona,” Jackson told Phoenix New Times earlier this year. By unity, he means a heterosexual, white Christian ethnostate, if his protracted record of internet bombast is any indicator.
In the interview with Jackson on September 26, Finchem added to his list of lies and conspiracies he's been peddling during his campaign. He also implied that the January 6 unrest was not an insurrection.
“So I continue to ask a question that I hope that one day we can get an answer to,” Finchem said. “How is it that this has been promoted as an insurrection when we have a malicious destruction of property and something that falls short of illegal entry? Something doesn’t add up here.”
Finchem also said it was an “outright lie” that five police officers died as a result of the attack. Another shameless whopper.
According to PolitiFact, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after suffering two strokes several hours after the attack. Four Capitol Police and Washington Metropolitan Police officers died by suicide in the weeks following the attack.
Finchem also claimed during his interview with Jackson that Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the then-House Sergeant at Arms to unlock the doors to the House chamber and wave in attackers. “As a law enforcement officer, I would look at that and say, 'Well that doesn’t even pass the sniff test,'” Finchem said.
Finchem’s “sniff test” as a cop isn't worth much. After retiring in 1999 from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety in his home state of Michigan, the agency wrote in its personnel file for Finchem that he received a “poor rating” and that the agency “would not rehire.”
Finchem Uplifting 'Bile, Bigoted Rhetoric'
Finchem's hypocrisy goes beyond preaching law and order while spending time with Jackson. During a September 22 debate with his Democratic opponent, Adrian Fontes, Finchem said, “I do not care for mail-in voting. That is why I go to the polls.”
Finchem, however, remained on the list to receive early ballots by mail from 2008 until April this year. He voted by mail in every single election but one since 2004. PolitiFact called it a "full flop." Fourth Estate 48 dug even deeper into Finchem's penchant for mail-in voting.
Finchem later claimed that Fontes lost the debate since he focused on issues that had nothing to do with the secretary of state's office.
“He wants to go do a bunch of Democrat sound bites and things that have absolutely nothing to do with the elections here in Arizona," Finchem told Jackson during their interview. Yet Finchem, during the debate, discussed sentencing recommendations for drug crimes, which the secretary of state has no role in setting. “I support your death penalty of drug dealers. Let's round them up," Finchem said during the debate.
If Finchem wins in November, he has promised to radically overhaul Arizona’s elections. He’s not only propagating the tirelessly debunked Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump, but he also played an intimate role in concocting it — along with other offshoot conspiracy theories centered around election fraud.
The term-limited legislator falsely declared himself an elector for Trump. Then he took credit for planning the January 6 attack.
"Finchem has used his campaign to uplift the vile, bigoted rhetoric of far-right extremists,” Aidan Johnson, spokesperson for American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC, told New Times. “He’s more focused on representing their interests than the interests of Arizonans.”
Finchem didn't respond to numerous questions from New Times.
According to a new poll from CNN, Finchem is a four-point favorite over Fontes despite lopsided fundraising. New numbers from the Secretary of State's office show Fontes has raised more than $2.4 million to Finchem's $1.8 million.