Election-denying January 6th insurrectionist candidate for Arizona Secretary of State, Mark Finchem (R-AZ), had his Twitter account restored within hours of asking his 7.2K Facebook followers to tag new CEO Elon Musk and demand that he be unbanned.
“Tag Elon Musk and tell him to unban me right now,” Finchem instructed, adding a link to donate to his campaign and a screenshot of his locked Twitter account.
In a subsequent post, the unapologetic member of far right-wing milia group The Oath Keepers claims the tweet that got him suspended was, “Probably the one that made Obama mad when I told people to boo him at his AZ rally. Assuming he called some of his commie holdovers at Twitter HQ to mess with me.”
The associate of Stop the Steal organizer, Ali Alexander, got help from Newsmax pundit and former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis – who tweeted a screenshot of an email sent by Finchem about the ban – adding, “This shouldn’t happen a week before the election.”
Musk responded that he was “looking into it,” and within the hour Finchem was back on the bluebird.
“We’re back! Thank you Elon Musk for stopping the commie who suspended me a week before the election. Twitter is much better with you at the helm,” Finchem then tweeted.
Finchem has been vocal in his support of Donald Trump, and has echoed the ex-President’s false claims of a stolen election and spread baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud.
If elected Secretary of State – a position currently held by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs – Finchem will be one of the state’s top election officials.
It was Hobbs who made the decision to certify Arizona’s election results – solidifying Biden’s win.
The far-right politician has been a member of the Arizona House of Representatives since 2015. In 2021, Arizona House Democrats called for Finchem’s expulsion from the legislature due to his presence at the Capitol on January 6th and encouraging the attack on the Capitol.
Representative Athena Salman (D-Tempe) called her Republican colleague “dishonorable,” saying his actions “undermine the public confidence in this institution and violated the order and decorum necessary to complete the people’s work,” The Maricopa Monitor reported.
“Salman said she believes there is enough to say Finchem incited insurrection, including his membership in the Oath Keepers which was involved in the attack on the Capitol and which she said ‘had the very clear intent to kill members of Congress, to kill the vice president.’’ And she said even if he didn’t enter the Capitol, he did go past the barricades around the building,” according to the Arizona newspaper.
While “free speech” is a constitutionally protected right, hate speech and fraudulent speech aren’t. Finchem’s unceremonious return to Twitter will be a test of the new ownership and how far down the rabbit hole those previously banned will take it.
It’s been five days since Tesla CEO Elon Musk took over – firing the board of directors and those in charge of content moderation and accountability.
An uptick in racist posts, big lie propaganda, and conspiracy theories will only fuel the hate machine and send democracy-loving users seeking social media shelter elsewhere.
Running against Democratic candidate Adrian Fontes, Finchem has vowed not to concede if he loses the race.
Original reporting by Dan Ladden-Hall at The Daily Beast.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick