Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican who has been very public with his opinion that there was no voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, has formed a PAC to support Republican candidates who also believe there was no voter fraud. Called Pro-Democracy Republicans of Arizona, the only interview he appears to have given about it is to the far left Arizona Mirror.
The Arizona Sun Times asked him why he was so opposed to investigating the 2020 election for voter fraud, and he responded, “I was consistently opposed to conspiracy theorist partisans with no election experience doing a review.” He referred The Sun Times to a letter he wrote in August.
The 38-page “Open Letter to Maricopa County” explains his position that “Nobody stole Maricopa County’s election.” He cites the examination in February done by two companies the Maricopa County Supervisors hired to look into hacking. He said they did “everything needed.”
Despite Republican control of the Arizona legislature, governor’s office, and most offices in Maricopa County in recent years, Richer said, “Everyone knows that Arizona had become a purple state prior to the 2020 election.“
Yet he discusses how in 2020, he was able to unseat incumbent Democrat Adrian Fontes for recorder even though he had no name recognition and contributed only $125,000 of his own money to the campaign.
Additionally in his letter, he dismissed the duplicate ballots that the independent Maricopa County audit later spotted as a potential problem. He said in the 2020 election there were 27,869 duplicate ballots in Maricopa County. But since Maricopa County turned over 1,626 ballots for review which had only nine presidential duplication errors, which were not all against Trump, it was “completely typical.” He did not address the 26,243 that the county chose not to turn over for review.
He described the computer security team that conducted the independent audit as “the biased, inexperienced, incompetent, conspiracy-theory-driven, unscrupulous, partisan Cyber Ninjas.” He claimed, “[H]ad Senator Fann given the audit to a certified elections company, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs wouldn’t have decertified the tabulation equipment from future use.” Richer then quotes Hobbs as an authority on why the Ninjas shouldn’t have been chosen, and lists seven left-leaning journalists as authority because they found something to criticize too.
He said there was no reason for the Ninjas to focus on Maricopa County, because its elections “had no serious mishaps or anomalies.” In 2018, many voters in Maricopa County became concerned about voter fraud when Kyrsten Sinema won the U.S. Senate seat and a couple of unknown Democrats won statewide races.
He criticized the Arizona Legislature for passing a bill banning private organizations and people like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg from funding election administration, implying that it would be better than activists raising money for the audit. Zuckerberg gave $3 million to Maricopa County (Richer said he returned over one-third of the money).
Richer said one of the first candidates he is looking at to fund is Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), who the Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona gave one of the lowest rankings to of Republicans in the Arizona Legislature last year, a 75. Bowers opposed election integrity bills last year. He refused to convene a special session of the legislature to audit the election last December. A recall petition was started against him for this reason.
Richer formed the new PAC despite acknowledging on the “Priorities” page of his campaign website, “Stephen ran on the promise to ‘Make the Recorder’s Office Boring Again’ by taking politics out of the office and focusing on the competent administration of the office.” In his Open Letter to Maricopa County, he stated, “I will run the Recorder’s Office in an objective, non-partisan manner.”
He built a separate website under the Maricopa County Elections banner to get his position on voter fraud out there, justthefacts.vote.
When The Sun Times asked him about his alleged history of being a Democrat, he responded, “I don’t think I was ever a Democrat.” In 2008, Richer participated in a debate over gay marriage at the University of Chicago representing the student Democratic club. He explained, “I was a libertarian who supported gay marriage (the topic of the debate), and I wanted to champion that side. And because I liked a girl who was part of the UC Democrats.”
The Sun Times asked him if he is connected to The Lincoln Project and he said no.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.