Arizona audit of Maricopa County ballots has attracted out-of-state visitors. Here's the list

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PHOENIX — There are more pleasant months of the year than June to visit Phoenix, but a growing number of officials and Republican legislators from around the country are making a sort of pilgrimage to see and be seen at the state Senate’s ongoing recount of Maricopa County’s general election ballots.

An opportunity to get publicity from right-wing media outlets that have followed the effort, some visitors say it is also a chance to glimpse a process they would like to replicate in their home states after pushing unsuccessfully to overturn the results of last year’s election.

Here are the visitors to Veterans Memorial Coliseum from nearly a dozen we know of so far. This list will be updated as more information becomes available:

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, a Republican, visited the coliseum with colleagues on June 2 and told a reporter that he wants an Arizona-style audit in his state, perhaps involving two counties, one Republican-leaning and another Democratic-leaning.

“Specifically, I like this approach in Arizona because it is scientific," he said, expressing a sentiment not widely shared among election experts. "I mean, what I saw there, there is no way that they can be accused of slanting or bias because it's just counting votes, looking at ballots, and then doing the forensic analysis.

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Mastriano, like many involved in the Arizona ballot review, long ago made clear he thought the 2020 elections were riddled with problems.

The lawmaker unsuccessfully sought to have the GOP-controlled Legislature pick the state’s presidential electors, rather than voters. And he was on hand in Washington on Jan. 6 when a pro-Donald Trump mob sought to push Congress to change the results (he said he followed police orders and was as uninvolved in the subsequent mayhem).

Mastriano was joined by other Republicans, state Rep. Rob Kauffman and state Sen. Cris Dush.

But their trip does not appear to have convinced the Pennsylvania Legislature to launch a similar effort.

Rep. Seth Grove, a Republican and chairman of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Government Committee, wrote on June 3 that the chamber would not authorize any further audits of previous elections.

Alaska

State Rep. David Eastman, of Wasilla, visited June 8. The Anchorage Daily News reported that the Republican funded the trip with his legislative office account.

“I am grateful for the efforts that those in Arizona are making to increase confidence in their elections and hope we will be able to increase the confidence that Alaskans have in our elections as well,” he said.

Eastman traveled to Washington, D.C. on Jan 6, and later on Facebook blamed the violence at the Capitol that day on antifa. Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, a Republican who oversees elections in Alaska, said he was disappointed by Eastman’s trip. Meyer, a former state legislator, said legislators should be in Juneau.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Representative Janel Brandtjen (center), Eric Greitens (2nd from left) and Wisconsin State Representative Dave Murphy (left) watch as Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona Senate on June 12, 2021, at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz.
Wisconsin State Representative Janel Brandtjen (center), Eric Greitens (2nd from left) and Wisconsin State Representative Dave Murphy (left) watch as Maricopa County ballots from the 2020 general election are examined and recounted by contractors hired by the Arizona Senate on June 12, 2021, at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Ariz.

Several Republican legislators from Wisconsin visited the Coliseum on June 11, including state Rep. Janel Brandtjen. She is the chairwoman of the Assembly Elections Committee, which is helping oversee a review of Wisconsin’s election.

The Wisconsin politicians' visit coincided with the Wisconsin Assembly hiring former law enforcement officials — including at least one with a partisan past — to review how the presidential election was conducted. She was joined by state Reps. Rachael Cabral-Guevara, David Murphy and Chuck Wichgers.

The Wisconsin delegation’s trip was funded by Voices and Votes, a group headed by Christina Bobb and Chanel Rion of One America News Network, a conservative outlet that has raised money for Arizona’s ballot review on air.

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Missouri

The Wisconsin delegation was joined by former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 after he was accused of blackmailing a woman with whom he was having an affair. He is now running for U.S. Senate.

During his visit to Phoenix, Greitens acted as a correspondent for Real America’s Voices and interviewed Arizona state Sens. Sonny Borrelli and Wendy Rogers about the audit.

Georgia

Three Republican legislators from Georgia visited the coliseum June 8.

State Sens. Burt Jones and Brandon Beach both signed on to an amicus brief for a Supreme Court lawsuit that sought to nullify the results of four states, including Georgia. Georgia’s Republican Attorney General Chris Carr called the failed suit “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong.”

Jones and Beach were joined by state Sen. Marty Harbin.

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Vernon Jones visited the next day. He served in the state Legislature as a Democrat but switched parties in 2021 to support Trump. He now is running for governor as a Republican. During his visit to the coliseum he was asked by a reporter about the partisan fundraising behind the audit and rather than answer, he aggressively confronted the reporter with a tirade about Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for governor in his state.

Jones also was in Washington on Jan. 6, speaking before Trump at a rally that day and using the occasion to make his political party switch official.

Jones was joined in Phoenix by former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Kerik also received a pardon from Trump after the former police commissioner served three years in federal prison on charges of tax fraud and making false statements.

Colorado

Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks declined to talk to a reporter on his visit to Phoenix June 10. The newly elected lawmaker also traveled to Washington on Jan. 6.

Michigan

Kristina Karamo visited the coliseum June 11. She is running for secretary of state in Michigan as a Republican after gaining prominence in right-wing media after working as a poll challenger in Detroit.

Oklahoma

Jackson Lahmeyer, a Republican candidate for governor of Oklahoma, also visited the coliseum June 11.

Tennessee

Bennie Smith, secretary of the Shelby County Election Commission in Memphis, Tennessee, also visited June 11. He is allied with John Brakey, a Democrat who has worked on the audit with former Republican Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Utah

Utah Rep. Steve Christiansen, a Republican, visited the coliseum June 11.

Virginia

The audit has attracted several other candidates for statewide offices elsewhere, who then make the rounds of right-wing media outlets spotlighting the effort.

Amanda Chase, a Virginia state senator who recently undertook a failed bid for governor, visited the coliseum on June 10. After the election, she had urged Trump to impose martial law.

And don't forget Arizona

The coliseum has attracted a cast of Republican legislators from Arizona, too.

The audit is a fundraising opportunity for lawmakers. The donation webpage of Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff, includes a photo of the coliseum floor set up for the recount.

Among others who have visited are Sens. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, and Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, as well as state Reps. Jacqueline Parker, R-Mesa, Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, and Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale. U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, a Republican, and state Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward have also visited the coliseum.

Contact Andrew Oxford at andrew.oxford@arizonarepublic.com or on Twitter at @andrewboxford.

Reach reporter Ryan Randazzo at ryan.randazzo@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-4331. Follow him on Twitter @UtilityReporter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Arizona audit: Full list of Republican lawmakers who visited coliseum

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