Since the 2020 election, One America News’ prime-time programs have hosted at least 75 candidates challenging incumbents or running for open seats in local, state, and national office positions in the 2022 midterm elections.
Media Matters tracked the appearances of non-incumbent candidates who appeared on OAN prime time from their campaign announcement date through November 1, 2022, a week before the midterm election. Many of the 75 candidates deny the results of the 2020 election and are either right-wing extremists themselves or have extremist ties.
Here are the top 15 such candidates in the general election who OAN hosted most frequently on its prime-time programming:
Out of 75 non-incumbent candidates who made it to the general election and appeared on OAN prime time during their campaign, the former president had endorsed 27 at the time of their appearances -- Trump endorsed another 7 after they appeared on the network. Of the 15 most frequent candidates, 12 have been endorsed by Trump. These candidates have been going on OAN for months pushing far-right rhetoric and spreading misinformation about mass shootings, COVID-19, January 6, and supposed election fraud.
The non-incumbent candidate who made the most appearances was Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, who appeared on OAN’s prime-time shows 35 times during her campaign up to November 1. Lake is known for her election denial and has already hinted that she might not accept the results of the race if she loses.
On OAN, Lake has legitimized the bogus Arizona election audit and maintained she “would not have certified” or would “decertify” the 2020 election (there is currently no legal pathway to decertify an election). In other appearances, Lake has attacked journalists who refused to legitimize election lies, promised to sue the federal government over COVID-19 vaccination efforts, and promoted the anti-LGBTQ “groomer” smear. In turn, OAN prime-time host Dan Ball has endorsed Lake and directed viewers to her website.
The second most frequently appearing non-incumbent candidate was Anna Paulina Luna, who is running for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Luna is a self-identified “pro-life extremist” who has campaigned on election conspiracy theories.
The third most frequent was Joe Kent, who was featured 26 times in OAN prime time while running for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Kent has been identified as an extremist with concerning ties to white nationalism, including violent far-right group the Proud Boys and a Nazi sympathizer who once said that Adolf Hitler was someone who “many people misunderstand.”
In a July appearance on OAN, Kent blamed mass shootings on the “progressive agenda” destroying the “nuclear family” as part of “an assault on parents having autonomy over their children.” In June, Kent used OAN prime time to spread misinformation about the vaccine, saying he was seeing “fit young men falling over dead with heart conditions” and “brand-new” cases in the military of “guys just falling over from heart attacks” because of the “experimental vaccine.”
Florida’s Cory Mills (19), Arizona’s Mark Finchem (13), and New York’s Lee Zeldin (11) followed with the next most appearances on OAN prime time during this period. All three of these candidates are 2020 election deniers.
Finchem, the GOP nominee to be secretary of state for Arizona and oversee elections there, has used OAN to express support for the state’s mishandled 2020 election audit sparked by misinformation about election fraud, saying, “You don't vilify people because they saw some irregularities and they have questions.”
Other top appearances included Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance. Mastriano essentially launched his candidacy on OAN, while prime-time host Dan Ball offered to help Vance campaign on-air.
Media Matters reviewed video from the SnapStream and Grabien databases for all original episodes of OAN’s In Focus, Real America, Tipping Point, After Hours, and The Real Story for candidate guest appearances from November 3, 2020, through November 1, 2022.
We also reviewed internal documents generated from live monitoring of the aforementioned OAN shows, iHeartRadio podcast guest lists, OAN Rumble videos, and YouTube video uploads to cross-check appearances. Finally, we searched Twitter for any of the handles @DanNewsManBall, @nefertari_25, @AlexSalviNews, or @STEPHMHAMILL with any of the terms “tune in,” “guest,” “guests,” “tonight,” “join,” or “show” as a final check.
We counted non-incumbent candidate guest appearances, which we defined as any guest who was actively running for a local, state, or national office at the time of their interview and was also not seeking reelection for that same position. We manually cross-checked interview dates with the first known declaration of candidacy and their Ballotpedia pages, which contained information about whether a candidate had lost a primary or dropped out. In order to find candidacy announcement dates, we referenced candidate declarations on FEC databases, qualified candidate information from state and county databases, or news articles. We also used Ballotpedia to collect and date political endorsements by former President Donald Trump.
We included only new appearances by candidates; we did not include appearances in prerecorded interviews unless those were the interviews’ first airings. We also did not count a guest more than once if the person appeared in more than one segment in the same episode.
The Real Story replaced After Hours on March 22, 2021. OAN subsequently canceled The Real Story on May 26, 2022. We did not weigh these programming changes.