Republicans in Arizona’s Legislative District 3 (LD-3), located in northern Maricopa County and the largest legislative district in the state, issued a scathing censure of Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates Friday for denying election fraud and opposing Republican candidates for office who believe there was. They called for him to resign and for the Maricopa County Republican Party to encourage Republicans to vote him out of office.
The censure of Gates began, “Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates has made and continues to make disparaging public comments about Republican Arizona Representatives and Republican candidates during interviews, all while seeming to support Democrat candidates running against them.”
The LD-3 GOP first cited a statement Gates made after the primary election on August 2, in which every Trump-endorsed candidate in the state won their races. “The election last night was a catastrophe for the Arizona Republican Party,” he said, “and, I would argue, our democracy.”
Next, the LD-3 GOP cited remarks Gates made during an interview on August 5. “I fear that if we continue to nominate people who deny the truth, then what may have to happen is that we lose elections,” he said. “I think the only way back is by humiliation at the ballot box, and the problem is the Democrats aren’t strong enough to do that. They’re still arguing that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, even though we’ve had numerous audits in Maricopa County, other independent examinations to show that that’s simply not the case. These folks continue to push this story and that is corrosive to our democracy. There’s no basis for it. And what it is doing is sowing doubt in our democracy. When we’re talking about the past and basically dredging up conspiracy theories, then we’re doing a disservice to the voters.”
Gates and the other Maricopa County supervisors refused to comply with the Arizona Senate’s subpoena for materials related to the 2020 election, forcing the Arizona attorney general to investigate. The censure cited Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli’s (R-Lake Havasu) comments about the noncompliance, stating, “The supervisors are acting as if they are above the law, and it is an insult to the citizens of our state. … The level of disrespect and contempt from the supervisors toward Senate leadership and Arizona voters is appalling.”
The censure referenced the 2,000 Mules documentary as evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election, and that “the Arizona Senate audit of the 2020 election found significant inconsistencies and discrepancies.”
Despite stonewalling from Maricopa County officials refusing to turn over requested items to his office, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an interim report in April on his investigation of the Arizona Senate’s independent audit, finding “serious vulnerabilities that must be addressed and [raising] questions about the 2020 election in Arizona.” He cited 100,000 to 200,000 ballots which lacked a chain of custody, a signature verification system “insufficient to guard against abuse,” and “instances of election fraud by individuals who have been or will be prosecuted for various election crimes.”
The censure concluded by stating the LD-3 GOP will no longer recognize Gates as a Republican, demanded that he immediately resign, and encouraged “all registered Republicans to expel him permanently from office.”
Gates made national headlines in October testifying to the Democrats’ House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Arizona 2020 vote outcome. He disclosed that hundreds of thousands of election files that appeared to be deleted by an employee captured on video one day before they were required to be turned over to the Arizona Senate independent audit were actually archived away instead. They were never turned over.
Gates criticized the Republicans’ popular Trump-backed candidate for governor, Kari Lake, for asserting there was election fraud last month. “It is beyond irresponsible for a major candidate in the Republican Party to be making these allegations,” he said. “If they have proof, they need to provide it.”
In the same Friday meeting, the LD-3 Republicans censured the FBI for raiding former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago.
The censure called the embattled law enforcement agency “the Arm of the Leftist Police State in Maricopa County,” and called on the governor and Arizona Legislature to “protect us from any violations of our constitutional rights by the FBI.” The LD-3 GOP said they “reject the questionable and unsubstantiated FBI raid” on Trump’s residence. They stated,“[I]nstead of enforcing the law, the FBI has used the law by waging attacks on individuals and groups (as lawfare) on behalf of a political party for political reasons and self-preservation, calling them, in effect, enemies of the state.”
The censure asked “the State of Arizona to stop cooperation with the FBI” including no longer sharing information, and called “on the Legislature to fund a state guard and place it under the exclusive command of the Governor of Arizona to protect its citizens.” Additionally, they asked the governor “to formally call for the cessation of FBI operations in Maricopa County.”
A group of protesters, some who were armed and wore tactical gear and gaiters, held signs outside the FBI headquarters in Phoenix last Saturday. One of them, who was identified as Joe Malone by an independent videographer who preferred not to be identified, said in July that he would like to work with Antifa and Black Lives Matter to deal with law enforcement abuses.
The Maricopa County Republican Committee censured Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer on Aug. 4 for denying election fraud in the 2020 election and “mishandling” this year’s primary election.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.