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Arizona

Election Deniers Running for Congress

In Arizona, four incumbents and 10 other candidates running for federal office in 2024 have refused to accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.

These include:

A former Fox News anchor, Kari Lake is a Trump loyalist who entered politics in 2021 to run for governor of Arizona. Though she lost, and as a true MAGA Republican refused to concede, she is running for the U.S. Senate in 2024. Since the 2020 election, Lake has thrown herself into spreading the Big Lie and spewing far-right vitriol, a strategy that has fueled her sudden rise in politics and brought her ongoing endorsements from Trump.

Mark Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal County, is running against Lake in the GOP primary for the Senate. An outspoken messenger of the Big Lie, he attended the pro-Trump rally in Phoenix on Jan. 6, 2021, where he urged fellow Republicans to “fight for the Constitution, freedom, and the American way of life.” He is also among sheriffs across the country who have partnered with the right-wing voter suppression group True the Vote to monitor elections and advocate for police surveillance of ballot drop boxes, among other measures. Lamb is shown aiming an assault rifle on his campaign site, which includes a section on “election reform” that calls for “staunch [sic] voter ID laws.” 

Rep. David Schweikert is a conservative incumbent who has represented Arizona in the House since 2011 but only won reelection in 2022 by a very narrow margin. Democrats hope to flip his seat in 2024 since he’s considered vulnerable in a district that is becoming less conservative. In November 2020, Schweikert signed a congressional letter demanding an audit of ballots in Maricopa County, and two months later was among the 147 congressional Republicans who refused to certify President Biden’s.

Rep. Eli Crane is running for his second term after defeating the Democratic incumbent in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement and a newly redrawn district map that heavily favors Republicans. While running for office in 2021, he called for the state legislature to “decertify” the 2020 election and audit results in more counties, and urged the  attorney general to “launch a criminal investigation to hold all involved accountable.” In May 2022, Crane’s congressional campaign used a Facebook post to thank Turning Point USA for “creating an opportunity for so many citizens of Arizona to be educated about the massive amounts of fraud taking place in our elections” and promote the widely discredited film 2000 Mules, a hoax made to help the Right spread more lies about the 2020 presidential election.

A former salesman, minister, and insurrectionist, Jeff Zink is running a long-shot bid to unseat Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-3), who defeated him in 2022. According to AZ Central, Zink and his son participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Even though his son is fighting legal battles against a possible 22-year sentence in federal prison for his role in the insurrection, Zink himself claims that he didn’t enter the building that day. The candidate is now focusing his campaign on what he calls a “political prosecution and persecution scheme” coordinated by the Department of Justice and the Biden administration. He frequently tweets about Jan. 6 conspiracies and expresses unwavering support for incarcerated J6ers

An entrepreneur, former Marine and Trump loyalist, Kelly Cooper is running in the GOP primary (July 30, 2024) hoping to mount his second congressional campaign against Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-4), who narrowly defeated him in 2022. Cooper initially touted “election integrity” as a top priority on his former campaign website, where he called the 2020 election a “disaster” that left “millions of Arizonans” wondering “if their vote really counted.” In a campaign video, he also noted that he wants “the prisoners of January 6th…to be released on day one” and that if elected, he will “make every effort to make sure that happens.” Trump endorsed him in 2022 but has not yet done so during this election cycle.

Former NFL player and pastor Jerone Davison is also running in the AZ-4 GOP primary and again hopes to unseat Rep. Stanton after running his first controversial campaign in 2022. This round Davison is making “election integrity” a campaign issue by questioning everything from the “sketchy practices of voting machine companies” to whether more people actually voted for Biden than Obama. He also claims that “the corruption exposed by the Laptop Scandal was real and not Russian,” among other conspiracy theories he presents as “evidence” of fraud, and promises to “bring this horrific corruption to heel.” During an appearance on The Jim Price Show in June 2022, Davison said, “I was at January 6” and “they stole the election from him [Trump].”

An economics engineer, business consultant and former oil industry executive, Dave Giles is an election denier aligned with Trump and the House Freedom Caucus (according to his campaign site) who is also aiming to win the GOP primary for the 4th Congressional District. He has been endorsed by such conservatives as the John Birch Society, Mike Huckabee, and Patriot Movement AZ. In an April 2024 PBS debate with fellow Republican candidates from the 4th District, he focused on upholding the Constitution, balancing the budget, and cutting national debt.

Rep. Andy Biggs is an outspoken election denier and Trump loyalist who has served in the House since 2017, won reelection in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement, and is expected to win again in 2024. In 2023 he introduced a bill that would have punished Manhattan’s district attorney for prosecuting Trump. He is also among the five sitting congressmen subpoenaed by the House Select Committee that investigated the insurrection. In July 2022, the speaker of the Arizona House testified that after the 2020 election Biggs pressed him to support decertifying the state’s electors.

A former TV reporter, marketing professional and real estate agent, Kathleen Winn is challenging incumbent Rep. Juan Ciscomani in the GOP primary (July 30, 2024) for the 6th District. She lists “election integrity” as a primary issue on her campaign site and in 2022, she filed a lawsuit against Pinal County, alleging that officials there planned to fix mistakes made on the county’s ballots that would violate statutes and create “chaos and confusion in the upcoming primary election.” At a campaign event on Jan. 6, 2024, Winn apparently “rehashed the 2020 election… [and] was going on about how the election was not on the up and up. She spoke of 63,000 ballots being misprinted.” She also told supporters that Jan. 6, 2021 had not been “an insurrection at all. She spoke of the insurrectionists as decent citizens rather than criminals,” according to one voter who attended the gathering.

In 2022 Abe Hamadeh (R-AZ-8) ran for attorney general in Arizona with Trump’s endorsement, while doubling down on election denialism and the Big Lie. “As AG I will prosecute the election fraud of 2020 and secure the 2024 election so when Donald Trump runs and wins again in 2024, everyone will know it’s legitimate,” he told The Arizona Republic. Hamadeh also spreads election misinformation online, as a sampling of tweets from 2022 (on January 13, April 6, and May 8) indicate. After narrowly losing the AG race, he fought hard to overturn the results. Hamadeh is now running for the House in this very red district, hoping to win the crowded GOP primary (July 30, 2024), which means a likely win of the general election as well. 

A former state representative, Anthony Kern was among Arizona’s fake electors and was subsequently elected as a state senator in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement. He is now running in the GOP primary for the House in the very red 8th Congressional District. In April 2024, Kern was indicted by the state on nine counts of conspiracy, fraud, and forgery in an attempt to claim that Trump won the 2020 presidential election. In 2021, he participated in the insurrection, promoted it on social media, and was “photographed in a restricted area on the Capitol steps during the riot.” 

A venture capitalist, Blake Masters ran for the U.S. Senate in 2022, overtly claiming that “if we had had a free and fair election, President Trump would be sitting in the Oval Office today.” During that campaign, he ran an ad saying, “I think Trump won in 2020,” and since then has continued to promote false election conspiracies about “dead voters” and mass cheating. After losing his Senate race by almost 5% points, Masters is now setting his sights on the House, running in the GOP primary in the 8th Congressional District.

Rep. Paul Gosar has served in the House since 2011 and is a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. He won reelection in 2022 with Trump’s endorsement and is expected to win again in 2024 in his very red district. While campaigning with Trump in 2022, Gosar boasted of being “the most dangerous man in Congress” and told the crowd of MAGA supporters: “This is where it all began. This is where we questioned: Was there fraud? Absolutely. Was it enough to overturn the election? Absolutely.” Gosar actively spread election misinformation online, helped Ali Alexander organize the Stop the Steal rally, and described the riotous mob that attacked the Capitol as “peaceful protesters.”