DSCC - Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

07/19/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/19/2021 11:01

In Arizona’s Republican Primary, Trump’s Election Lies Are “The Only Litmus Test That Seems To Matter”

July 19, 2021 Press Releases

'Republicans are worried that embracing Trump's falsehoods could hurt their eventual nominee'

New reporting from CNN over the weekend highlights how Trump's 'false claims of widespread voter fraud' are escalating Arizona's already 'protracted, expensive ' Republican primary fight.

Despite Republican concerns that 'questions over the 2020 race will hurt' their eventual nominee, every single GOP candidate has 'embraced some level of rhetoric' about Trump's conspiracies in a race for an elusive Trump endorsement even after the former president lost the state in 2020. As one Arizona Republican lawyer said: 'The audit is an albatross around the neck for every Republican running in the state of Arizona.' It's the latest example of how Trump's election lies are 'taking over Republican Senate races' and causing headaches for the party.

Read more:

CNN: 2020 election becomes early dividing line for Republicans in crucial 2022 Senate race in Arizona
By Alex Rogers and Michael Warren
July 17, 2021

Key Points:

  • In one of next year's most consequential Senate races, the Republican primary to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona is turning on a question: Who won the 2020 presidential election?
  • Former President Donald Trump's false claims of widespread voter fraud, including his promotion of a controversial, partisan audit of the vote in Maricopa County, has dominated the debate within the Arizona GOP for months, as it recovers from Trump's and Republican Sen. Martha McSally's close losses to Joe Biden and Kelly last year.
  • Some Republicans are worried that embracing Trump's falsehoods could hurt their eventual nominee in the party's effort to take back the Senate in 2022.
  • 'The audit is an albatross around the neck for every Republican running in the state of Arizona,' said Chris DeRose, the former clerk of the superior court in Maricopa County and a Republican lawyer.
  • [Brnovich] has faced some blowback from Trump. Brnovich was one of the state officials who certified Biden's 10,457-vote .3% victory over Trump in 2020, and in May, Trump said that 'Brnovich is nowhere to be found' while the 'massive crime in the 2020 Election is becoming more and more evident and obvious.'
  • Masters and Lamon have sown more doubt about the results of the 2020 election even as they accept that Congress certified Biden's victory.
  • 'Do I look back at what happened in November and see a really crazy, opaque, messy process that we shouldn't be making excuses for? Absolutely,' Masters told CNN Tuesday. 'I think it was messed up.'
  • Lamon has donated millions of dollars to a voter registration group affiliated with prominent election fraud conspiracy theorists, according to Axios. He has taken to the airwaves in a bid for Trump's attention and possible endorsement, airing a TV ad on enhanced border security in New Jersey, where Trump is spending the summer at his Bedminster golf club.
  • Some Arizona Republicans worry that the state's election review and questions over the 2020 race will hurt whoever emerges to take on Kelly.
  • 'The party apparatus is deeply entrenched in MAGA and it's the only litmus test that seems to matter at the moment,' said an Arizona Republican operative.

See also: Vice: Trump's Election Lies Are Taking Over Republican Senate Races; CNN: Republican candidates back Trump's election lies across the 2021 and 2022 maps; New York Magazine: Republicans Face New Litmus Tests in Trump Era; Washington Post: In ramp-up to 2022 midterms, Republican candidates center pitches on Trump's false election claims