Fake elector Kelli Ward must feel like a sucker as she rattles an empty tin cup

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The Arizona Republican Party and the MAGA Nation stand four-square behind Donald Trump’s fake electors … until it’s time to put their money where their mouths are, it seems.

It’s now been eight days since former state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward and her fellow fake elector, husband Michael, put out their tin cup, hoping to rake in donations to pay for a lawyer to defend them against felony charges of fraud, forgery and conspiracy.

Eight days since they started begging for money, hoping to raise $100,000.

I don’t know if the rubes are just tapped out, what with snapping up golden “Never Surrender” shoes ($399), God Bless the USA Bibles ($59.99, not including shipping) and a “very limited edition” Trump loyalty card being hawked by RNC Co-Chair Lara Trump (cost unknown but, truly, priceless).

Heck, even Rudy Giuliani has gotten into the act, selling Rudy Coffee ($29.99 for a two-pound bag), though he’s going to have to sell a lot of beans to pay off his $148 million tab for defamation.

Wards have raised a fraction of that $100K

Michael Ward (left) and his wife Kelli Ward appear with their attorney (right) for their arraignment in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on May 21, 2024. Michael Ward and Kelli Ward are among those charged in a conspiracy stemming from the 2020 election.
Michael Ward (left) and his wife Kelli Ward appear with their attorney (right) for their arraignment in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on May 21, 2024. Michael Ward and Kelli Ward are among those charged in a conspiracy stemming from the 2020 election.

Or it could be that the America First faithful think that a couple that sails their catamaran around the Bahamas doesn’t need to be reaching into MAGA pockets for nickels and dimes.

Especially as they just put their five-bedroom, four-bath Lake Havasu City home — with an extra bath in the guest house — on the market for just over $2 million.

Whatever the reason, after a week of rattling their tin cup on GiveSendGo, the Wards have raised just $6,106 toward their goal of $100,000.

Just 108 people have ponied up, offering donations ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred.

But what’s most interesting is the names that aren’t listed there among the donors.

Where are the contributions from Sens. Shawnna Bolick and Wendy Rogers and Sonny Borrelli and all the other Republicans in the Arizona Legislature who signed a “resolution” calling on Vice President Mike Pence and Congress to accept Arizona’s “alternate” electoral votes?

In all, 29 incoming and outgoing GOP legislators signed that request, calling it “A Joint Resolution of the 54th Legislature” and attaching the state seal so it would look official.

Though I suppose two of those who signed the resolution — Sens. Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern — can be excused for not digging deep given that they, too, have been indicted in the fake elector scheme.

Shouldn't these lawmakers support their defense?

As for the rest who stood behind them, urging them on in the scheme to steal Arizona’s vote? Where are their donations to bail out the Wards?

Where is the donation from then-state Rep. Mark Finchem — a.k.a. “unindicted co-conspirator 3”?

It was Finchem who hand-carried the counterfeit legislative “resolution” to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5, 2021 — the day before the storming of the Capitol to try to stop the transfer of power.

Where’s the scratch from U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, who received the handoff from Finchem? Biggs was/is one of Trump’s strongest acolytes on Capitol Hill and was up to his eyeballs in efforts to overturn Arizona’s vote, though he was not among the 18 people indicted.

Both he and Rep. Paul Gosar attended a Dec. 21, 2020, White House planning session with Trump and his now-indicted chief of staff, Mark Meadows, to strategize how Pence could block the Jan. 6, 2021, certification of the election results, according to the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Biggs demands Mayes resign: Over fake elector case

Come to think of it, where is Gosar’s contribution to the Wards’ legal defense fund?

And how about the Arizona Republican Party? The Washington Posts's Yvonne Wingett Sanchez reported last week that a now-expired insurance policy has been paying some of the fake electors' expenses but it's about to hit its limit.

Will the party have the fake electors’ backs?

It was at state GOP headquarters, after all, that the fake electors met on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast their non-existent votes for the guy who didn’t win Arizona.

The party even put out a celebratory press release, headlined “Arizona Republican Presidential Electors Convene To Cast Votes For President Trump, Vice President Pence,” along with an all-smiles picture of the now-indicted fake electors.

Fake electors must wonder: Where'd everyone go?

Arizona’s 11 Trump “electors” didn’t just spontaneously and on a whim decide to meet in GOP offices to phony up a document declaring themselves “duly elected and qualified” to cast Arizona’s presidential vote for Trump.

This was a scheme, carefully planned, meticulously carried out and thankfully foiled by Pence, who actually believes in the U.S. Constitution.

Still, I can almost feel sorry for the Wards and for the rest of the suckers who tried to steal our vote. Almost.

People like Turning Point Action’s Tyler Bowyer, who in February asked the Republican National Committee, of which he was then a member, to formally acknowledge that the fake elector plan was schemed up by Republican leadership with Donald Trump’s approval and to “immediately indemnify” all those who participated in what he called the “contingent elector plan.”

The RNC told him to pound sand, voting instead to “vocally” support those who “lawfully” served as Trump electors in states Trump won.

Translation: Not Bowyer and his fellow 10 electors who participated in a scheme to steal Arizona’s vote.

As for Bowyer and the Wards and all the other suckers now taking the fall? I picture them looking around for all those Trump loyalists who urged them on, and wondering.

Where’d everybody go?

Reach Roberts at laurie.roberts@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on X (formerly Twitter) at @LaurieRobertsaz.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Fake elector Kelli Ward must feel like a (lone) sucker now