Arizona State Rep. Rusty Bowers (R), who gave moving testimony outlining former President Donald Trump’s efforts to annul the 2020 presidential election to the House Select Committee investigating the 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was defeated Tuesday in the Republican Primary for a state Senate seat by a Trump-backed candidate.
FFormer Senator David Farnsworth easily won the contest for the seat representing areas east of Mesa. Bowers served in the state legislature for 17 years and is speaker of the Arizona State House. Farnsworth had a lower profile in the state and less campaign money, but had a potent weapon: Trump’s endorsement.
“Rusty Bowers is a RINO coward who went against the Republican Party on the totally partisan committee of thugs and political hacks the other day and disgraced himself, and he disgraced the State of Arizona”, Trump declared at a rally in Prescott Valley last month, using the acronym “Republican in Name Only.” He approved Farnsworth on Truth Social earlier in July, saying Bowers had to lose and “the highly respected David Farnsworth is the man to do it.”
There were relatively few policy differences between the two men, save for their starkly different views on the 2020 election. Bowers’ defeat is another road sign on the Republican Party’s path to a fully undemocratic party willing to rule out fair elections, fueled by a cult of personality entirely dedicated to Trump and his political fortunes.
In a recent debate, Farnsworth said of the results of the 2020 presidential election: “This is a real conspiracy directed by the devil himself.” He also expressed positive views on QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that most Democrats are in the grip of a global pedophile ring. “I’ve spoken to quite a few people who really believe they’re good people trying to bring out the truth,” he said in text messages to a friend at the time. revealed exchange in 2020.
Bowers became an instant object of scorn among Trump-aligned conservatives when he testified before the House Select Committee in June. The Arizona GOP executive committee officially censorship Arbours in July. “He is no longer a Republican in good standing and we are calling on Republicans to replace him at the polls in the August primary,” party chair Kelli Ward tweeted.
President Joe Biden won Arizona by just about 10,000 votes, making the state an immediate target of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results. There is no evidence that significant voter fraud took place, and subsequent Republican-backed audits found that Biden had in fact won the state by more than the initial November tally.
Bowers told the Jan. 6 committee that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuilani launched an extreme pressure campaign immediately after the election, urging Bowers to use his powers as Speaker of the House to replace Biden voters with voters loyal to Trump. to change the count of the Electoral College. During a phone call, Bowers said he pressed the duo for evidence of voter fraud, but they provided none. “We have a lot of theories, but we don’t have the evidence,” Giuliani finally admitted, according to Bowers’ testimony.
Bowers refused to play along and appeared to choke when he explained why to the committee. “I will not play with the laws to which I have sworn allegiance,” he said. “How else could I approach [God] in the desert of life, knowing that I only ask for this direction to show myself a coward by defending the path he led me to follow?
Democrats did not field a candidate in the heavily Republican district, so November’s election will be a formality for Farnsworth.