PHOTO/NEVADA GOP: Jim Marchant, at left, with the six fake electors who in December signed a certificate in December 2020 falsely certifying that Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election in Nevada. Marchant, who was not among those who signed the document, is the Republican candidate for Nevada Secretary of State. The state GOP posted the image on social media.

It’s almost too easy to write off Republican Secretary of State candidate Jim Marchant as Nevada’s political Gump.

Marchant has found a way to rise in a state GOP under the spell of Donald Trump largely by never wavering from the former president’s every deception and especially his big lie about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. When it comes to carrying out ever-more-elaborate conspiracy theories about spooky voting machines and deep-state Geppettos, Marchant is so far down the rabbit hole he can see the Queen of Hearts and even Joey Gilbert.

And yet, as the namesake implies, when it comes to promoting the big lie Marchant turns up in the oddest places and long after most, well, reasonable people have returned to reality.

Look closely at photos taken during the Nevada GOP’s scammy alternate elector signing ceremony in December 2020 in Carson City, and you’ll see Marchant standing to the side beaming with pride. The audacious attempted end run on the peaceful transfer of power was a dud, but has drawn intense interest from the FBI in its ongoing criminal investigation.

In the Nevada Republican Party’s fiercely competitive race for greatest fealty to Trump, Marchant ranks with the frontrunners. On his campaign website, he touts his Trump the P.T. Barnum of corporate self-promotion’s endorsement of Marchant as a “brilliant” businessman.

Marchant moved to Nevada from Florida in 2005 and was elected to a single-term in the state Assembly in 2016. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in District 4 in 2020 and, you guessed it, claimed he was “a victim of voter fraud” after losing to Steven Horsford by more than 16,000 ballots – around 5 percent of the vote. In that race, he touted endorsements from Trump and congressional election deniers Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, and Jim Jordan.

Let’s set aside the fact that such a fraud, if it were true, would rank among the larger election deceptions in the history of the Republic. Nevada’s own political history has seen races for US Senate decided by a few hundred votes without the losers sniveling about being robbed. Marchant’s whiny claim wasn’t true, but that hasn’t deterred him for a moment from repeating it.

Nevada voters were fortunate to have strong-willed professionals guarding their interests and protecting the election process in 2020 against a firestorm of disinformation, vexatious litigation, and even physical threats fomented by Trump’s big lie. It’s been often reported, but bears repeating, that the much-vilified Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske played a pivotal role in preventing those who would win at any cost from doing so.

For that she paid the price in the form of a censure by her own party. May she wear it like a badge of honor. Now Marchant wants to replace her.

He not only promotes the falsehood about the 2020 election, but has loudly embraced the idea of overturning future ones. That’s hardly a person Nevadans should want anywhere near the office constitutionally dutybound to ensure fair, accurate, and secure elections.

As a candidate for secretary of state, he’s piled on the prevarication about election security and has promoted a lineup of pseudo-experts who have spent the better part of two years vilifying those who protect the election process as well as the use of Dominion Voting Systems machines.

Some candidates consult with their families and political advisors before embarking on a run for office. Perhaps Marchant did all that. But he also has said that he decided to run for secretary of state after receiving encouragement from QAnon conspiracy influencer Juan O Savin. It wasn’t happenstance.

Those who attempt to marginalize Marchant do so at their own peril. He was among several Republicans leading the “America First Secretary of State Coalition,” a collection of big lie true believers. It was Marchant who led a “strategy session” in May 2021 in Las Vegas and has become a go-to talking point on the subject on Steve Bannon’s popular podcast.

Last year, Marchant was among the speakers to appear at the Patriot Double Down in Las Vegas, an event presented by a QAnon-linked group. But when asked by a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter about the QAnon conspiracy, which among many deceptions posits that Democrats are pedophiles and participate in child sex trafficking, Marchant claimed not to know much about it. Then he continued to circulate among his fellow conspiracy theorists.

Marchant has been a steady presence in rural Nevada, where belief in the big lie and voting machine voodoo appears strongest. In Nye and other counties earlier this year, Marchant led a parade of election deniers and those who believe Dominion machines are not only unreliable, but so easily hackable that they should be decertified in favor of paper ballots counted by election officials.

Paper ballots. Counted by people who might share the same worldview as Jim Marchant.

Marchant claims without the burden of proof that Nevadans’ votes have been manipulated for years and officials haven’t really been elected, but “installed by the deep state cabal.” In a primary debate in February, he out-crazied several opponents and knowingly proclaimed, “Your vote hasn’t counted for decades. You haven’t elected anybody. The people that are in office have been selected. You haven’t had a choice.”

It’s also true he finished first in the primary despite taking hits from more than $2 million in attack ads, by his own campaign’s count. Translation: His beliefs may be unhinged, but he’s tougher than he looks and has no plans to ride off into a QAnon sunset.

If you think his fellow Republicans appreciate the trouble Nevada’s Gump represents, think again. In August, Marchant received the endorsement of the influential Keystone Corporation, which boasts former Nevada Gov. Robert List on its board of directors.

As I write this, it’s unclear whether Marchant’s name will surface in connection with a brewing scandal first revealed by The Washington Post exposing an attempt by Trump acolytes to collect ballot information and spin it into false voter fraud claims. Part of the alleged scheme included a Nevada connection with voter data obtained from Clark County that was later presented at a 2021 election fraud symposium in Sioux Falls, SD sponsored by conspiracy theorist and MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell. County officials said the data gathered contained no sensitive information, The Post reported.

Marchant’s role, if any, remains to be seen. But it’s hard to ignore his Aug. 10, 2021 tweet: “Couldn’t be happier to accept the invitation of Mike Lindell to look deeply into election integrity. Sioux Falls, here I come!”

He not only promotes the falsehood about the 2020 election, but has loudly embraced the idea of overturning future ones. That’s hardly a person Nevadans should want anywhere near the office constitutionally dutybound to ensure fair, accurate, and secure elections.

When the head scratching, raised eyebrows and nervous laughter finally subsides, try to remember that Jim Marchant is a genuine danger to fair elections in Nevada.

Nevada native John L. Smith is a longtime journalist and the author of Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens: The Endless Battle Over the West’s Public Lands.

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3 Comments

  1. Marchant said if he’d been secretary of state at the time, he never would have certified Biden’s win.

  2. This man is dangerous to Nevada and our democracy. We must do all we can to get his opponent Cisco Aguilar. Why the Nevada Democratic Party is snoozing on this is beyond me.

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