The state Republican Party of Arizona accused Secretary of State Adrian Fontes of “misusing the power of his office” to advantage Democrats in next year’s elections.
“By all accounts, Secretary Fontes is misusing the power of his office to impact the 2024 elections in favor of the Democrat [sic] Party, of which he is a member,” the Arizona Republican Party wrote in a Thursday statement.
The statement cited no “accounts” that had made such accusations against the Arizona secretary of state, however.
The state Republican Party’s accusations centered around preferential treatment given by the secretary of state’s office to third parties that seemed more likely to hurt Republicans’ chances in 2024 when compared to third parties deemed more likely to hurt Democrats.
The Arizona Republican Party’s X and Facebook accounts shared the statement Thursday morning. (The statement did not appear on the “Statements & Press Releases” page of the party’s website, though the social media posts were shared there.)
The statement accused Fontes’ office of failing to notify Republicans that the Patriot Party was scheduled to file signatures with the office in support of its petition to be recognized by the state as a political party.
As a result, Republicans had no observers present to view and possibly challenge those signatures.
In contrast, Democratic Party operatives were permitted by the Secretary of State’s office to observe a similar filing by the No Labels group.
The state GOP says that the presence of No Labels candidates on state ballots is considered by unnamed “[p]olitical pundits” to hurt Democrats in 2024. Presumably, the party considers the opposite to be true of Patriot Party candidates, although the statement did not make that clear.
“This brazen display of partisanship undermines the ability of every other political party, [sic] to compete on a level playing field,” the statement wrote, although the argument being made seemed more to be that Fontes’ actions made the playing field unlevel; presumably, the ability of Republicans to compete on a level playing field was not actually affected.
The GOP also claimed that the Secretary of State’s office had refused to provide clear images of the filings in question, leaving it unable to verify their legitimacy.
Should Fontes certify the Patriot Party as a political party in the state, the AZGOP said he should “expect litigation.”
Meanwhile, the statement said, the Green Party would be making a similar filing to get on 2024 ballots, and was “widely expected to hurt Democrat turnout” if approved. Again, this appeared to be a misstatement — the presence of Green Party candidates on the ballot could be reasonably expected to impact the number of Democrat votes, but how it might impact turnout of Democrat voters was unclear, at best.
Fontes was also “widely expected” to notify all of the previously ballot-approved political parties of that appointment so that that filing could be observed, the statement said, without specifying by whom this was “widely expected.”
“The people of Arizona deserve consistent and nonpartisan application of process and procedures with full transparency,” the AZGOP statement said, “a virtue Secretary Fontes espouses but has yet to practice.”