PHOENIX (AP) \u2014 A Republican Arizona lawmaker who embraces election conspiracies and has former President Donald Trump\u2019s endorsement sparred with the Democrat who helped oversee the 2020 election in Maricopa County in a debate Thursday evening as they each seek the state's top elections post. The two vying to be the next secretary of state \u2014 Republican Rep. Mark Finchem and Democrat Adrian Fontes, the former Maricopa County recorder \u2014 had vastly differing views on the outcome of the 2020 election, the violent attack on Congress and how to run elections going forward. Finchem said he would not have certified the 2020 results in two of Arizona's 15 counties because he said they were \u201cirredeemably compromised.\u201d He pointed to Yuma County, where two women have pleaded guilty to illegally collecting a few ballots and await sentencing. He said that was just one example of the problems that he believes merited not allowing that small county and those in the state's most populous, Maricopa, to be certified. No evidence has been uncovered to show that the problems were large enough to change the results that saw then-President Donald lose in Arizona. \u201cI\u2019m not talking about overturning an election. I\u2019m talking about declaring one county\u2019s election as irredeemably compromised,\u201d Finchem said. \u201cNow if that alters the outcome of the election, that\u2019s a different story.\u201d Fontes, who lost his 2020 reelection bid, said the courts are the place for those issues to be hashed out, as they often are. \u201cWhat we now have is an entire set of fiction that has somehow managed to make a lot of money for some people outside of the regular norms that we expect,\u201d Fontes said. \u201cThis is a chaotic way of readdressing a political loss.\u201d Fontes said voters need stability and predictability in elected officials, not \u201cwild-eyed skepticism.\u201d The 30-minute debate sponsored by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission was the public's only scheduled chance to see the two candidates for secretary of state side-by-side. The secretary acts as Arizona's top election official, oversees many business filings and is next in line if the governor leaves office prematurely. Finchem was at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, although he did not enter the grounds. He acknowledged Thursday that he's been interviewed by the Department of Justice and the congressional panel investigating the insurrection at the Capitol. He said he was there to deliver evidence to members of Congress so they could object to certifying President Joe Biden's win. \u201cThe last time I checked, being at a place when something\u2019s happening is not illegal,\u201d Finchem said. \u201cI've been treated as a witness, not a suspect.\u201d Fontes said Finchem's presence was damning. \u201cWhat we saw was an angry mob that didn\u2019t like the outcome of one election," Fontes said. \u201cWhat he did was engage in a violent insurrection and try to overturn the very Constitution that holds this nation together.\u201d Finchem pushed back, saying as a former police officer he did no such thing. \u201cFor him to assert that I was part of a criminal uprising is absurd, and frankly, it is a lie,\u201d Finchem said. But Fontes continued, pointing out Finchem's membership in the Oath Keepers, a group that has called for the overthrow of the government and backed people who have called for civil war. \u201cIt is a unhinged and violent aspect of Mr. Finchem that he\u2019d rather not discuss,\u201d Fontes said. The two also sparred over Arizona's voting system, where more than 80% of voters vote early, most by mail. Finchem has said he wants mail in voting ended for most, and has joined with the Republican candidate for governor, Kari Lake, in a lawsuit seeking to require all ballots to be hand-counted in a state that saw 3.4 million ballots cast in 2020 covering more than 100 races. A federal judge dismissed the case in August but they have appealed. Finchem attacked Fontes for issues that came up during his tenure as Maricopa County recorder, including long lines during a 2018 election and his effort \u2014 blocked by the courts \u2014 to mail ballots to all voters in the March 2020 presidential primary. Fontes defended that effort, noting that the coronavirus pandemic had just hit the state and people were scared to leave their homes. \u201cWe need to build confidence,\u201d Finchem said. \u201cWe need to have a senior elections director who will just follow the law instead of making it up as he goes. And that\u2019s what we\u2019ve had here.\u201d Fontes is an attorney and former Marine who ran primary ads saying he would protect voting rights for all Arizonans and that election deniers like Finchem were making a full-fledged attack on democracy. After the debate, Finchem would say little about his interactions with the Justice Department. \u201cIt was a long list of questions and quite frankly I don\u2019t remember all of them,\u201d he said. Pressed by reporters, he said they asked why he was there and that he was interviewed \u201ca couple of months ago.\u201d Fontes said after the debate it was good that Finchem was questioned by the Justice Department and the Jan. 6 committee. \u201cAnd I hope they investigate, and if he did something wrong, I hope that they prosecute him and convict him,\u201d Fontes said.