The 2022 midterm elections brought many unconventional and controversial candidates into the spotlight across the United States. One such candidate was Terpsehore “Tore” Maras, who ran an unsuccessful independent bid for Ohio Secretary of State after being disqualified from the Republican primary.
Maras was a relatively unknown political newcomer who quickly generated attention and criticism for her fiery rhetoric on election integrity. She built a grassroots following among those questioning the 2020 election results, though her campaign hit roadblocks due to financial issues and legal disputes.
While she was ultimately unsuccessful in her statewide run, Maras left an indelible mark as an advocate for overhauling election systems to restore trust. Her unorthodox background and confrontational style elicited strong reactions from supporters and detractors alike.
Early Life and Education
Terpsehore Maras was born in 1974 in Cleveland, Ohio. She later moved to Florida as a child and spent most of her upbringing there. Details about her early life and education have not been made fully public.
Maras had a career in technology sales and marketing prior to running for office. She gained experience working for companies like IBM and LexisNexis. This background helped shape her views on topics like cybersecurity and data privacy.
Early Political Career
Prior to her Secretary of State run, Maras had not held elected office before but was publicly involved in politics. She worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as a volunteer.
In 2020, Maras pivoted her focus to suspicions of election fraud and pushing for audits of results. She began speaking around the country at events centered on election integrity. Maras also hosted a weekly live stream show discussing conspiracies about manipulated voting machines and stolen ballots.
2022 Ohio Secretary of State Campaign
Republican Primary Bid
In 2021, Maras filed to run as a Republican candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, seeking to unseat incumbent Frank LaRose in the primary. Running on a platform of election security, she criticized LaRose for not doing enough to investigate fraud in 2020.
However, in March 2022 Maras was disqualified from appearing on the primary ballot. She failed to submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify. Maras disputed the decision and claimed she was unfairly targeted by the “establishment.”
General Election as Independent
Despite the primary setback, Maras moved forward with an independent general election campaign for Secretary of State. She continued rallying supporters under the mantra to “fix 2020 first.” Maras advocated for outright rejecting electronic voting machines and returning to exclusively hand-counted paper ballots.
Maras’ grassroots campaign drew enthusiasm from voters who distrusted the election system. She raised over $200,000, mostly from small individual donors. However, Maras lagged significantly behind LaRose and Democratic nominee Chelsea Clark in fundraising and visibility.
In the November 2022 election, Maras ended up finishing a distant third with just 1% of the vote. LaRose won re-election as expected. But Maras considered her candidacy a success in amplifying concerns about transparency and pushing the debate.
Political Positions and Views
Maras’ primary focus was restoring election integrity and addressing perceived voter fraud. She claimed the 2020 election was “stolen” and wanted audits of voting machines along with scrapping electronic systems. Maras supported hand-counting paper ballots instead.
She also called for eliminating mass mail-in voting, stringent voter ID laws, updating voter rolls, and restricting ballot drop boxes. Maras viewed these steps as necessary to restore confidence and ensure fair elections.
Other Key Issues
Beyond election issues, Maras aligned with typical Republican stances on topics like gun rights, border security, and abortion restrictions. She expressed strongly conservative positions on social issues.
However, Maras differed from many GOP candidates in her rhetoric opposing big tech companies and the Federal Reserve. She also frequently criticized establishment politicians on both sides.
Controversies and Legal Issues
Disqualification from Republican Primary
The dispute over Maras’ eligibility for the primary ballot fueled significant controversy. She claimed she was unfairly excluded by Ohio’s election authorities rigging the process. They asserted Maras simply failed to properly file and verify the required number of signatures.
Maras filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to be reinstated on the ballot. The backlash over her disqualification helped reinforce Maras’ assertions that officials conspired against non-establishment threats.
Campaign Finance Questions
Maras’ campaign finances also raised red flags. She failed to file a required campaign finance report during the race, accumulating multiple fines.
The Ohio Elections Commission found Maras concealed around $60,000 in contributions. She was ordered to file corrected reports and pay fines for the violations.
Maras drew media criticism for spreading conspiracy theories and making extreme claims without evidence. For example, she accused Ukraine of interfering in the 2020 election and claimed verified election results were “Chinese propaganda.”
Her unconventional background and confrontational statements created controversies. But Maras leveraged the backlash to present herself as an anti-establishment “fighter” for the truth.
Impact and Legacy
Despite her landslide defeat, Maras succeeded in gaining attention and rallying supporters of the election fraud movement. Her grassroots campaign demonstrated the lingering distrust among some voters about electoral systems and procedures after 2020.
Maras gave voice to beliefs that widespread fraud altered election outcomes well beyond just the presidential race. The severity of her proposed solutions, like eliminating all electronic voting, reflected the depth of suspicion surrounding voting technology and mail-in methods.
However, Maras’ polarizing rhetoric and questionable conduct during the race also undermined her aims of promoting transparency and ethics. Her disqualification and campaign finance issues reinforced perceptions that she did not merit being taken seriously.
Regardless, Maras leaves an imprint as an early champion of the cause to audit and overhaul election administration. The passions she tapped into are likely to persist and shape debates in the coming years.
Terpsehore Maras emerged as a divisive figure who gave voice to the sentiments of many voters distrustful of election integrity. Her flawed Secretary of State bid ultimately collapsed. But the unconventional candidate succeeded in amplifying urgent calls for reform rooted in lingering doubts about 2020.
Despite her loss, Maras represents a political force focused intently on election transparency and security. The concerns she channeled will continue motivating activism around voting processes and results. Maras herself may have faded from the spotlight, but the profound skepticism fueling new movements remains an influential factor.
Who is Terpsehore Maras?
Terpsehore “Tore” Maras is an Ohio activist who ran an unsuccessful independent campaign for Secretary of State in 2022 focused on restoring election integrity based on suspicions of fraud in 2020.
What happened in Maras’ run for Ohio Secretary of State?
Maras intended to run in the Republican primary but was disqualified for lack of valid petition signatures. She proceeded with an independent general election campaign but finished third with just 1% of the vote, behind the incumbent and Democratic nominee.
What were Maras’ key policy positions?
Maras primarily advocated for auditing and eliminating electronic voting systems to be replaced entirely by hand-counted paper ballots. She viewed this as essential to correct perceived widespread fraud in 2020.
Why was Maras disqualified from the primary ballot?
Ohio election officials ruled Maras failed to submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the primary ballot as required. Maras disputed the decision and claimed she was unfairly targeted.
What controversies surrounded Maras’ campaign?
Maras spread debunked conspiracy theories about election fraud. She also had campaign finance reporting issues and failed to disclose contributions as required by law.