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Top Jan. 6 Witness, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Loses Primary Bid to Trump-Backed Challenger

Jack Phillips

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Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers lost his GOP primary bid to a challenger backed by former President Donald Trump, coming weeks after Bowers delivered testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee.

State Sen. David Farnsworth, who was endorsed by Trump in June, was projected by The Associated Press and other news outlets to win the Republican primary against Bowers, a Republican. As of Wednesday morning, Farnsworth held a more than 20-point lead over Bowers.

After providing testimony to the Jan. 6 committee, Bowers told NBC News in July that it would be difficult to win reelection. “If I pull this off, it’s going to be a miracle,” he said at the time of the primary.

Bowers has been censured by the Arizona Republican Party for “[demonstrating] he is unfit to serve the platform of the Republican Party of Arizona” and is going against “the will of the voter of the Republican Party in Arizona.” The state GOP called on voters to “expel him permanently from office” during the contest.

“I’m well aware that I’m highly distrusted,” Bowers also told The Associated Press before the GOP primary. “My district is a very Trump district, and who knows how this is all going to work out.”

“And if it doesn’t work out, great, I’d do it all again the same way,” Bowers said.


Trump criticized Bowers a day before the primary and called on voters to oust him.

“Remember Arizona, your so-called ‘Speaker,’ Rusty (an appropriate name because he is Rusty, just like steel gets rusty and weak) Bowers, is absolutely terrible,” he wrote on Truth Social.

In testimony in June before the House committee, Bowers claimed that Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani had no evidence for election fraud after the November 2020 election.

“My recollection, he said, ‘We’ve got lots of theories, we just don’t have the evidence,’” Bowers alleged. “And I don’t know if that was a gaffe or maybe he didn’t think through what he said, but both myself and others in my group … both remember that specifically, and afterwards we kind of laughed about it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Farnsworth said Bowers is not conservative enough and has become less so since becoming House speaker following the 2018 state elections.

“Of course, the big issue, I think, for everybody is the fact that I strongly believe that there was fraud in the 2020 election,” Farnsworth told AP last week. “And I feel like Rusty failed … to take responsibility as speaker of the House and look into that election.”

Also in Arizona, former TV news anchor Kari Lake, a Republican backed by Trump, is leading real estate developer and Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson by about 12,000 votes. Trump-backed Blake Masters also defeated Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the GOP primary for the state’s U.S. Senate seat, setting up a November battle between him and incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).