October 2, 2022

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Cary Lake blows a kiss to supporters in Scottsdale on Tuesday.Ross D. Franklin/AP

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Arizona Republicans are building a big tent. Below that sits a Mormon fundamentalist, a former journalist who once voted for Barack Obama, a Michigander who describes himself as a Western lawmaker and the Stanford-educated protégé of billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel. There’s really only one criteria for entering the scene: claiming that Donald Trump won 2020.

On Tuesday, those candidates — all of whom Trump endorsed — defeated Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and a star of the January 6 Commission, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a frequent guest on Fox News who made the mistake to admit Biden won and Beau Lane, a candidate for secretary of state who also acknowledged Biden’s victory.

Cary Lake, a former news anchor, is the front-runner to be the Republican nominee for governor, though the race is still undecided. He has asked lock up Katie Hobbs, the Democratic secretary of state who certified the results of the 2020 election. If Lake wins, she will run against Hobbs, the secretary of state who she believes should be jailed.

Below is a little more about Arizona Republicans.

Farnsworth, a former Arizona state senator, left retirement to retaliate against Bowers who turned on Trump.

In September, the Arizona Mirror mentionted that Farnsworth’s sympathy for QAnon conspiracy theories had deeply troubled his friend Ethan Watkins. “The notion that there is a secret cabal of satanic pedophile Democrats running sex-trafficking rings and that Trump is divorced [sic] of an attempt to dismantle the Deep State,” Watkins wrote to Farnsworth. “At least this spreads QAnon as real.”

“I don’t think it’s just the Democrats, it’s the Republicans.” Farnsworth replied.

Farnsworth believes “the devil himself” meddled in the 2020 election and has “no doubt” that it was stolen from Trump, though he admits he has no evidence to support that claim.

As Business Insider he’s got mentiontedhis worldview leans toward the conspiratorial in general:

By the time our conversation reached the one-hour mark, Farnsworth had taken a large, worn, labeled copy of the Book of Mormon from his shelf and was reciting passages from it while explaining how the scripture affected his way of thinking . . .

He later proceeded to a Unity detailing the “secret combinations” that “will seek to destroy the liberty of all lands,” which he likened to “the initiates, the one world government people, the socialists” of modern times. At some point during this discussion, he made a passing reference to ‘Clinton Body Count’ Conspiracy Theory..

On Tuesday, Farnsworth defeated Bowers, a Mormon, by nearly 30 points.

Finchem, a state representative since 2015, spent the first half of his working life as a firefighter and paramedic in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “What a great career,” he says on his LinkedIn. His former employer apparently felt differently. “Retiree, with poor rating, will not rehire,” reads a note in his personnel file. taken from New York Times.

Finchem’s efforts to present himself as a family man were also complicated by the TimesReport:

When asked about his family life by an interviewer, he said that “his children are grown and gone” and added that these days, “I think about my grandchildren” in the battles he fights.

But his family life was difficult. He has been married four times and has been estranged for more than two decades from two grown children and does not know their children, family members said. (He also has two stepchildren.)

In February, a Twitter page that appears to belong to one of his estranged children commented that Finchem was was summoned by the Jan. 6 Commission for its efforts to subvert the 2020 election. On Tuesday, the same account posted an image of Smokey the Bear calling on voters to “stand up to the fascist liars.” He did not specify which ones.

Finchem, who he said in 2014 that he was a member of The Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, was photographed outside the Capitol during the January 6 uprising. He has called for the 2020 election results to be decertified, wants to ban early voting in Arizona and require mandatory hand-counting of ballots, and has co-sponsored legislation that would allow state lawmakers to overturn election results. He has he told supporters that if he had been foreign minister in 2020 “we would have won. Simple.”

A former colleague interviewed by Phoenix magazine he remembered the former local TV news anchor as an “Obama-supporting Buddhist.” These days, Lake accuses Democrats of having a “demonic agenda.”

At a campaign event in March, a Times journalist mentionted that Lake claimed almost a dozen times in an hour that the election was stolen. He has said he would not have certified the 2020 election if he had been governor.

Like Finchem, she wants to eliminate early voting and get rid of machine ballot counting. Both candidates implied during a joint appearance in June that they were willing to blame the primary losses on the fraud. “There will be no concession speech from this guy,” Finchem said. “I will demand a 100 percent hand count if there is even the slightest hint of impropriety.” Now, with a primary victory secured, Finchem has not called for a hand count.

Efforts by Masters, a former Thiel staffer who attended Stanford for undergrad and law school, to claim Trump won in 2020 are, predictably, higher. Masters blamed Trump’s loss on widespread mail-in voting, big-tech censorship and media bias. He has avoided allegations of fraud that are hard to imagine him believing.

This is not to say that Masters and Thiel, who have long declared that freedom and democracy are incompatible, have much affinity with our current democratic order. As I have written about the Masters:

[A]After spending much of his youth as a libertarian purist, Masters now positions himself as an America First ally of Tucker Carlson. Ever the venture capitalist, Masters sees the United States as another bloated company that could be turned around with the right investments. If the system most Americans call democracy ends up being disrupted in the process, that may just be the cost of doing business.

For the Masters, winning a crowded qualifier with Trump’s blessing and $15 million from Thiel was the easy part. In the general election, he will face Mark Kelly, the former astronaut and husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in one of the few races expected to determine which party controls the Senate.

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