Arizona Republican Party Censures House Speaker Rusty Bowers: ‘Unfit to Serve’

The Arizona Republican Party’s Executive Committee formally censured Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) this week, calling on Republicans to vote him out of office during the primary election this year, and urging his Legislative District 10 and the Maricopa County Republican Party to issue their own censures.

The two-page censure contains a lengthy list of Bowers’ actions on bills in the Arizona Legislature and declares he is “unfit to serve the platform of the Republican Party and will of the voter of the Republican Party of Arizona.” Arizona GOP Chair Kelli Ward tweeted, “he is no longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to replace him at the ballot box in the August primary.”

The first bill cited in the censure is SCR 1044, which Bowers ushered through and supported, providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich sued the colleges over this and won, stopping the practice.

Next, the censure addressed Bowers’ co-sponsorship with Democrats of HB 2039, a $1 billion education spending bill. It said he opposed and killed a bill, HB 2597, that would have brought the Pledge of Allegiance back to public schools.

He was the only Republican to oppose HB 1194, the censure states, which would have established two genders for all government documents. Next, “Bowers sponsored one of the most horrific attacks on the Republican Party Platform on religious liberty by sponsoring a bill with Democrats (HB 2802), that makes sexual orientation and gender identify a protected class…” This would require public schools and businesses to allow men in women’s restrooms and locker rooms, and it would also prohibit religious-based materials addressing this issue.

Bowers “ensured killing all meaningful election integrity bills,” HB 2596 and HB 2289. The censure said he killed committee and floor debate on those bills, which meant the findings of the independent Maricopa County ballot audit would not be addressed.

Next, Bowers “sponsored and led the passage of the bill that eliminated precinct elections (HB 2839).” The bill infuriated conservatives, who worked tirelessly to defeat it. After it became law, the Arizona Republican Party and multiple GOP county parties filed a lawsuit and got the law blocked. The censure cited Bowers as “opposing working with Party leaders in order to achieve legislative success with one of the most conservative bodies Arizona has had in the past decade.”

The Arizona GOP censure concluded by declaring that the party would “immediately cease any and all recognition and support of him as a member of the Republican Party” for his actions, as well as his “inaction on election integrity.” Bowers testified last month to the House Democrats’ Select Committee on Jan. 6, where he reiterated his position that he did not believe there was fraud in Arizona’s 2020 presidential election. He testified how he rebuffed former President Donald Trump’s attempts to contact him about his concerns regarding possible fraud.

Trump endorsed Bowers’ opponent in the race, David Farnsworth, a well-known former legislator who said he came out of retirement in order to stop Bowers. Trump issued a statement on July 19, calling Bowers “a weak and pathetic RINO who has blocked Election Integrity, allowed illegals to pour into Arizona, and betrayed the people of his Great State.” He warned, “Rusty Bowers is now running for the State Senate to continue his ‘con job’ against the People of Arizona.”

Bowers was often the only Republican in the House holding up Republican-sponsored bills or siding with the Democrats to push their bills through. In the Senate, Sen. Paul Boyer (R-Glendale) performed the same function, but after seeing polling showing he would be defeated for reelection, Boyer decided not to run again.

Bowers admitted to NBC News this month that he may lose reelection.

“If I pull this off, it’s going to be a miracle,” he said.

Last year, the Arizona Republican Party censured Gov. Doug Ducey, former Senator Jeff Flake, and Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Senator John McCain. Flake and McCain were censured for supporting Joe Biden for president and Ducey for heavy-handed COVID-19 restrictions. The Arizona GOP censured John McCain in 2014 for an insufficiently conservative record.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News NetworkFollow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rusty Bowers” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.


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