PHOENIX — Donald Trump on Wednesday approved the Republican race against Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who gave strong testimony last week to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurgency.
Bowers, who is blocked by term limits from seeking another term in the Arizona House, is running for an open seat in the state Senate. Trump praised his primary GOP rival, former Senator David Farnsworth, for supporting the lie that the 2020 election was marred by fraud.
“Bowers must be defeated, and the highly respected David Farnsworth is the man to do it,” Trump said in his endorsement. “He will set things straight and secure your border.”
In his testimony last week, Bowers walked through what began with a phone call from Trump one Sunday after he returned from church. The defeated president proposed that the state replace its voters for President Joe Biden with others who prefer Trump.
“I said, ‘Look, you’re asking me to do something that violates my oath,'” Bowers testified.
Bowers insisted on seeing Trump’s evidence of voter fraud, which he said Trump’s team never got beyond vague accusations. He recalled Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani later telling him, “We have a lot of theories, we just don’t have the evidence.”
Bowers gained national fame for his popular recitation of the pressures he faced from Trump and his allies, including angry and vociferous protests outside his home when his adult daughter died indoors of a long-term illness.
His performance also drew disdain from Trump allies. Arizona Republican Party chairman Kelli Ward tweeted her own support for Farnsworth the following day.
Bowers said in an interview with The Associated Press that day that he thinks voters will support him for his honesty.
“Honestly, we feel good that this will bring in a big independent group that is finally seeing someone they think they can trust as Republicans,” Bowers said. “I think that’s our strongest point.”
The 2022 session of the legislature ended last week and early ballots will be sent out next week for the primary on Aug. 2. Bowers said he is focused on winning the seat in Mesa, an eastern Phoenix suburb.
He said voters will decide whether they want him or Farnsworth in the Senate.
“But it’s not David Farnsworth — it’s Donald Trump,” Bowers said. “David is just a surrogate. And if they want Donald Trump in this position, they should vote for David.”
Bowers caused quite the stir when, before testifying in Washington last week, he told the AP that he would vote for Trump again if the choice were between him and President Joe Biden.
That comment ended up in national headlines because he came across the same interview in which he called the former president’s efforts to make the 2020 election unconstitutional unconstitutional. He said Trump’s actions have hurt the nation and created mistrust in elections, which he believes are fair.
He has been working to clarify that comment since it was published. He told the AP that he is even more against Trump after he appeared before the committee that invested the January 6 attack on Congress. He said he was floored when he heard firsthand what Trump has done to other officials, including urging Georgian Secretary of State Brad Brad Raffensperger to find the 11,000 votes Trump would need to overcome the loss in the state. Peach turning back.
“I want robust, open, fair and honest primaries and I want choices other than Donald J. Trump,” Bowers said. “And there are some great picks available, and I hope we can get them across the finish line and not him.”
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