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America First Secretary of State Coalition


America First Secretary of State Coalition (AFSSC) is a political group that promoted extreme Right candidates for secretary of state in 2022 who support Trump’s baseless claims of 2020 election fraud.

The coalition grew out of a May 2021 meeting in Las Vegas convened by former state Assemblyman Jim Marchant (R), who was running for secretary of state in Nevada and wanted to align with other like-minded SOS candidates across the country, including Jody Hice (R) in Georgia (who lost the 2022 GOP primary), Mark Finchem (R) in Arizona, and Kristina Karamo (R) in Michigan. In 2022, AFSSC promoted a slate of 14 secretary of state candidates, as well as two candidates for governor and one for Congress. However, voters in all states but one (Indiana) roundly rejected the American First candidates in November.

AFSSC created a policy agenda to reshape voting procedures in line with right-wing ideology restricting voter access. The group advocated for stricter voter ID laws, the use of paper ballots only, the elimination of mail-in ballots (even after many routinely voted by mail themselves), new poll watching policies, and aggressively removing voters names from rolls. AFSSC established the Conservatives for Election Integrity PAC to fund its agenda, promising to provide preferred candidates with the financial support needed “to carry out and implement the Coalition’s goals and objective[s].”

Marchant promoted the group through right-wing media outlets such as Steve Bannon’s War Room.

January 6, 2021

  • AFSSC candidate Finchem was listed as a speaker at the Wild Protest rally that preceded the insurrection. Prior to Jan. 6, he promoted the rally and march to the Capitol on Twitter. 
  • At 3:15 p.m. on Jan. 6, Finchem posted a photo of angry Trump supporters on the steps of the Capitol, writing, “What happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud. #stopthesteal.” 
  • After the insurrection, Finchem spread the lies that members of Antifa had attacked the Capitol and that Trump supporters were attempting to stop them. 
  • Karamo also claimed without evidence that the Capitol insurrection was not perpetrated by Trump supporters but rather was “completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters.”
  • Just prior to the attack on the Capitol, AFSSC candidate Hice tweeted: “This is our 1776 moment” and later claimed that Trump supporters who attacked Capitol Police and other officials were the true victims of the riot.
  • Idaho secretary of state candidate Dorothy Moon (R) regularly attended meetings of right-wing extremist groups that helped organize the insurrection. For instance, she attended an event hosted by the Panhandle Patriots and was photographed with the group next to its leader, Mike Birdsong, who rioted at the Capitol with members of the Proud Boys.
  • The House Select Committee investigating the insurrection identified Doug Mastriano (R), a Pennsylvania state senator who ran for governor in 2022 with backing from AFSSC, as a key figure of interest. He reportedly spent more than $3,000 to bus roughly 100 Trump supporters to D.C. to attend the rallies that day.

The Big Lie

  • AFSSC was founded on the premise that widespread election fraud was perpetrated by Democrats and their “globalist” allies in 2020. The group is also closely tied to the QAnon conspiracy theory. One of its key leaders, a man who goes by the pseudonym Juan O Savin, is one of the most prominent “influencers” in the QAnon movement. 
  • Juan O Savin and AFSSC asserted, without any evidence, that Democratic megadonor George Soros was behind a “cabal” and a “globalist establishment” to subvert the election process through rigged digital voting machines.
  • Marchant claimed that he ran for secretary of state because of the need to “overhaul the fraudulent election system in Nevada.” In a 2022 interview with NBC News, he insisted that Trump beat Biden in Nevada and was the rightful president.
  • Karamo made several false claims of fraud in the 2020 election, including assertions that ballots were illegitimately cast after 3am and that poll workers decided to tabulate inconclusive ballots in favor of Democrats. 
  • On the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, Finchem tweeted: “The real insurrection was run by [then-Maricopa County Recorder Adrian] Fontes and [Secretary of State Katie] Hobbs in Maricopa and Pima on the run-up to Nov 3rd and several days after where they rigged the vote in Arizona with tens of thousands of fraudulent votes in each of those counties.”

Post-2020 Election Subversion

  • After the 2020 election, Marchant and AFSSC tried to persuade state election officials across the country to stop using voting machines and require that all votes be cast and counted by hand.