The Arizona Race That Reveals The Most About Trumpism And The ‘Big Lie’

by | Jul 30, 2022 | Politics

By the time the Jan. 6 House select committee had subpoenaed him to testify, Rusty Bowers was already careening toward a messy showdown with the Republican Party — the Arizona House speaker uneasy with his party’s embrace of election lies versus a growing number of Republicans who’ve fully bought into them.The battle will culminate on Tuesday in Arizona’s statewide primary, with Bowers pitted against a Donald Trump-backed opponent, former state Sen. David Farnsworth, in his quest to move over to the Arizona Senate after being term-limited out of the state House. Although Bowers is the top Republican in the GOP-led chamber, his victory and his political future are anything but guaranteed.AdvertisementAs Trump has done previously this election cycle, he put his finger on the electoral scales in down-ballot contests to help his enemies lose. Trump has trashed Bowers as a “weak and pathetic RINO” (shorthand for Republican in name only) for blocking the fringe element in his chamber from overturning the 2020 presidential election results.Last month, Bowers gave moving testimony before the House select committee investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. He spoke about the intense pressure he faced to invalidate then-presidential nominee Joe Biden’s win in the state when Bowers said he saw no evidence to support doing so.“There was no ― no evidence being presented of any strength… anything that would say to me, ‘You have a doubt. Deny your oath.’ I will not do that,” Bowers said.A month later, the Arizona GOP censured Bowers for supporting a $1 billion education bill that included protection for gay and trans rights. The censorship was also for Bowers showing a “general disregard” for leaders of the party — including, presumably, Arizona GOP leader Kelli Ward, who has branded Bowers with the Trump-esque nickname “Rusty Bowels,” despite party committees not normally interfering in primaries.AdvertisementIf Bowers loses, it will likely happen amid a sweep of Trump-endorsed candidates: Kari Lake, the media-bashing former TV anchor vying for governor; Blake Masters, the venture capitalist with a history of embracing right-wing ideology running for U.S. Senate; and Mark Finchem, the conspiratorial state legislator competing to run elections.But compared with those primaries — Lake is a firm election denier and opponent Kar …

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