Republican Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers lost his bid for a state Senate seat after refusing then-President Donald Trump’s pleas to help overturn the 2020 election results and testifying before Congress about the efforts.
The Mesa lawmaker tried to move to the state Senate because of term limits. He lost to former state Sen. David Farnsworth, who criticized him for refusing to help Trump or go along with a contentious 2021 “audit” that Republican leaders in the Senate commissioned.
Farnsworth automatically will win the Senate seat because no Democrat is running in the heavily Republican district.
Bowers faced an uphill battle, especially after the state Republican Party censured him following his June testimony before the panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Congress and Trump endorsed Farnsworth.
“I’m well aware that I’m highly distrusted,” Bowers told The Associated Press before the election. “My district is a very Trump district, and who knows how this is all going to work out.
Bowers insisted on seeing Trump’s evidence of voter fraud, which he said Trump’s team never produced beyond vague allegations. He recalled Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani later told him, “We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”
Bowers is a conservative Republican, but Farnsworth said he’s not conservative enough and has become less so since becoming speaker following the 2018 elections.
“Of course, the big issue, I think, for everybody is the fact that I strongly believe that there was fraud in the 2020 election,” Farnsworth said in an interview last week.
“And I feel like Rusty failed ... to take responsibility as speaker of the House and look into that election.”
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