By Terri Jo Neff |
Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives Rusty Bowers has been censured by the executive committee of the Republican Party of Arizona, it was announced late Tuesday evening.
Bowers will no longer have any formal state GOP support as a member of the Republican Party in part due to his purported “general disregard for Republican Party Leadership at the precinct, legislative, county, state, and federal levels,” according to a statement released by the AZGOP on Wednesday.
“Rusty has failed in his specific actions, including co-sponsoring Democrat-led bills and refusing to work with the most conservative legislative body in 10 years during arguably one of the most critical sessions in Arizona history,” the statement reads. “This goes much further than any policy disagreement and acknowledges his failures in his capacity as Speaker to implement stout conservative legislation.”
The censure vote came less than two weeks before the Aug. 2 Republican Primary Election in which Bowers is being challenged in the newly redistricted Legislative District 10 encompassing much of Mesa. It also came less than one month after Bowers testified in Washington DC about his communications with former President Donald Trump after the 2020 General Election.
The executive committee is comprised of more than 80 registered Republicans, including the AZGOP’s elected officers, three members from each of the 15 county committees, 27 at-large members based on Arizona’s nine Congressional districts, and others. The number of votes cast has not been released, but the state party’s bylaws allow for a quorum based on only one-third attendance provided eight different counties are represented.
According to the AZGOP statement, it is the state party’s duty to hold elected officials within its party “responsible and accountable.” The executive committee further calls on Republicans in the new LD10 “to contemplate a similar censure,” while encouraging “all registered Republicans to expel him permanently from office in the impending primary election.”
Bowers, who is being primaried by David Farnsworth, spent Wednesday ignoring what he called “baseless character attacks, choosing instead to focus on highlights of his tenure as House Speaker. Such as the most expansive school choice options in the country signed into law earlier this month.
The censure action prompted mixed reactions, although the majority of Arizona’s lawmakers remained on the sidelines.