Election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona have been working to block Trump-backed Republican candidates from attaining office, reports reveal. On Monday night, the Grand Canyon State declared Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs the winner of the heated gubernatorial race, edging out popular Trump-backed Republican candidate Kari Lake at the last minute.
As Secretary of State, Hobbs is the state’s Chief Elections Officer, and has been responsible for overseeing the election she ultimately won, despite repeated calls that she recuse herself out of conflict of interest. Hobbs will certify her own victory by canvassing the results.
Maricopa, Arizona’s largest county and the fourth largest in the US, has been the center of dramatic tension this midterm election. Immediately upon the polls opening on election day, 20% of the tabulation machines in Maricopa County malfunctioned, almost entirely in Republican areas. Lake herself traveled to a liberal area to vote so she would be assured of a working voting machine.
Arizona has also sparked an outcry by taking over a week to count votes, while election officials continuously assured voters it was normal. Lake remained in the lead throughout the week until Hobbs suddenly surged ahead Monday night with 93% of the votes in.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Supervisor Chairman Bill Gates, who told voters to expect delays in counting votes, created a political action committee one year ago called the Pro Democracy Republicans of Arizona dedicated to keeping Trump-supporting Republican candidates out of office.
"Thanks to a few generous donors [the Pro Democracy Republicans of Arizona PAC] is now launching,” tweeted Richer in November 2021. “Join me if you care about traditional Republican 'stuff' (free people, free markets, rule of law), but also don’t believe in conspiracies about the 2020 election or that Jan 6 was a tourist event."
Some were surprised to see an elections official taking a stand in elections.
“For an elections official to get involved in campaigns in such a way is a rarity,” wrote the Left-leaning Arizona Mirror. “Many county recorders and secretaries of state refrain from even endorsing candidates to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”
The PAC’s website follows much of the same narrative.
"The Arizona election wasn’t stolen,” says the website for Pro Democracy Republicans of Arizona. “We Republicans simply had a presidential candidate who lost, while we had many other candidates who won. It’s time we Republicans accept and acknowledge that fact.
"Candidates come and go,” the PAC continues. “But our democratic institutions are long-lasting, and peaceful transitions of power are a hallmark of the United States. We should not abandon this history in favor of conspiracy theorists and demagoguery. To that end, we are launching this PAC to support pro-democracy Arizona Republicans. We hope you will join us. We will win some races. We will lose some races. But either way, we will be strengthening the processes that have long undergirded Arizona and the United States."