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Former President Donald Trump chastised an Arizona Republican who said the chamber's controversial audit of the 2020 election in Maricopa County "makes us look like idiots."
A message issued through Trump's Save America PAC on Thursday singled out state Sen. Paul Boyer, calling him a "RINO," which stands for Republican in Name Only, and offering praise to his primary challenger.
"Republican Arizona State Senator Paul Boyer, a RINO if there ever was one, is doing everything in his power to hold up the damning Forensic Audit of Maricopa County which has been taking place over the last 90 days. The people of Arizona are demanding it," Trump said. "Boyer has been nothing but trouble, and nobody knows why. All we demand is Voter Integrity! He is being primaried by a strong and highly respected challenger, former Arizona State Representative Anthony Kern."
Kern, a candidate for the 2022 midterm elections, thanked Trump on Twitter for the statement.
Boyer also responded with a snarky tweet, alluding to the southern border, reports the auditors were looking for bamboo fibers from China in ballots, and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
"Had Trump built the wall like he promised, perhaps he could’ve prevented the 40k #BambooBallots from being imported into Arizona," he said in a tweet, inserting a laughing emoji. "And if he hadn’t started an insurrection in D.C. and gotten kicked off here, I could’ve responded directly to him. So there’s that."
After courts rejected several lawsuits challenging the 2020 results in Arizona and other states Trump lost, the former president and his allies have turned their attention to the GOP-led Arizona Senate audit in Maricopa County, touting it as an inspection that could support their claims of widespread fraud or irregularities.
President Joe Biden won Arizona and its 11 electoral votes by more than 10,000 votes out of the 3.3 million across the state. His lead of roughly 2 percentage points was due partly to his advantage in Maricopa County, where the Democrat scored nearly 45,000 more votes than Trump among roughly 2.1 million ballots cast.
Biden was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the Southwestern state since President Bill Clinton captured it in 1996.
Maricopa County officials, who have said the auditors are incompetent and refuse to cooperate fully with the review, previously authorized two election machine audits that found no irregularities in the county's 2020 election. There was also a hand recount of a statistical sample of ballots that did not turn up any problems.
Boyer, a Republican from the Phoenix suburbs, was quoted in a New York Times report in May lamenting the audit had become the focus of a political maelstrom, as critics panned the contracted auditors and processes of the partisan review.
“It makes us look like idiots,” Boyer said. “Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."
Maricopa County officials announced last month voting machines subpoenaed for the audit would be removed from service after Arizona's Democratic secretary of state, Katie Hobbs, threatened to decertify the equipment, citing concerns with the methods of Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based firm hired to lead the review.
The U.S. Justice Department has also signaled it may take action against the audit.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann says the audit is not about overturning the election but rather finding problems that could be addressed in election-focused legislation. Still, some in her caucus, including state Sen. Wendy Rogers, have called for recalling the state's electors even before the audit is completed and its final findings are released.
State Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli floated the possibility of introducing a resolution to “reclaim electors” if the audit's findings put Biden’s 2020 election victory in doubt. Although audit officials predicted the audit would conclude by the end of the summer, testimony last week before the Arizona Senate indicated it could be drawn out if their request for more materials and information leads to subpoenas.
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Original Author: Daniel Chaitin