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Jan. 6 Hearing Witness Rusty Bowers Defeated By Trump-Backed Candidate In Arizona Primary

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Arizona state Rep. Rusty Bowers (R), who gave emotional testimony describing former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot on the U.S. Capitol, was defeated Tuesday within the Republican primary for a state Senate seat by a Trump-backed candidate.

Former state Sen. David Farnsworth easily won the competition for the seat representing areas east of Mesa. Bowers served within the state legislature for 17 years and is speaker of the Arizona state House. Farnsworth had a lower profile within the state and fewer campaign money but had a strong weapon: Trump’s endorsement.

“Rusty Bowers is a RINO coward who participated against the Republican Party within the totally partisan unselect committee of political thugs and hacks the opposite day and disgraced himself, and he disgraced the state of Arizona,” Trump declared at a rally in Prescott Valley last month, using the acronym for “Republican in name only.” He endorsed Farnsworth on Truth Social earlier in July, saying Bowers needed to lose and that “highly respected David Farnsworth is the person to do it.”

There have been relatively few policy differences between the 2 men, save for his or her starkly different views on the 2020 election. Bowers’ defeat is one other road sign on the Republican Party’s journey toward a completely anti-democratic entity willing to brush aside fair elections, fueled by a personality cult fully dedicated to Trump and his political fortunes.

During a recent debate, Farnsworth said of the 2020 presidential election results: “It is a real conspiracy headed up by the devil himself.” He has also expressed positive views of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that holds most Democrats are in thrall to a worldwide network of pedophiles. “I even have talked to quite just a few individuals who really imagine they’re good people who find themselves attempting to bring out the reality,” he said in text messages to a then-friend who revealed the exchange in 2020.

Bowers became an fast object of scorn amongst Trump-aligned conservatives when he testified before the House select committee in June. The Arizona GOP’s executive committee formally censured Bowers in July. “He is not any longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to interchange him on the ballot box within the August primary,” tweeted state party chair Kelli Ward.

President Joe Biden won Arizona by only about 10,000 votes, which made the state an instantaneous focus for Trump’s efforts to overturn the outcomes of the election. There may be zero evidence that any meaningful voter fraud occurred, and subsequent Republican-backed audits found that Biden actually won the state by greater than the initial November tally.

Bowers told the Jan. 6 committee that Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuilani initiated an extreme pressure campaign immediately after the election, urging Bowers to make use of his powers as House speaker to substitute Biden electors with electors loyal to Trump to vary the Electoral College count. During a phone call, Bowers said, he pressed the duo for his or her evidence of voter fraud, but they provided none. “We’ve got a lot of theories, but we don’t have the evidence,” Giuliani ultimately admitted, according to Bowers’ testimony.

Bowers refused to play along, and he appeared to choke up when he explained to the committee why. “I is not going to play with laws I swore allegiance to,” he said. “How else will I ever approach [God] within the wilderness of life, knowing that I ask of this guidance only to point out myself a coward in defending the course he led me to take?”

Democrats didn’t recommend a candidate on this heavily Republican district, so the November election might be a formality for Farnsworth.

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