On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court dismissed claims of insurrection against State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) and Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), ruling them valid candidates for the upcoming election.
A progressive nonprofit, Free Speech for People, alleged that the three legislators weren’t qualified because they committed insurrection through their actions and speech on January 6, a purported violation of the U.S. Constitution’s “Disqualification Clause”: Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In response to the ruling, Gosar asserted that free speech prevailed against the Democrats.
Finchem declared that the GOP continued its winning streak with this latest ruling.
The court agreed with the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ruling from last month. Judge Christopher Coury didn’t entertain whether or not the three lawmakers engaged in insurrection. Rather, the courts agreed that the plaintiffs lacked the ability to enforce it. The Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the superior court’s assessment that the U.S. House of Representatives has the sole authority to determine a candidate’s fitness to serve in Congress.
“1) Congress has not created a civil practice right of action to enforce the Disqualification Clause, and the criminal statute prohibiting rebellion or insurrection, 18 U.S.C. § 2382, does not authorize the challenge by a private citizen; 2) A.R.S. § 16-351 does not provide a private right of action to argue a candidate is proscribed by law from holding office; 3) it is unnecessary to decide if the Amnesty Act of 1872 is applicable because no private right of action exists under the United States Constitution or Arizona law; 4) the Constitution reserves the determination of the qualifications of members of Congress exclusively to the U.S. House of Representatives; 5) the doctrine of laches is not applicable at this time; 6) Plaintiffs do not satisfy the legal standards for injunctive relief; and 7) there is no need for an advisory trial. Plaintiffs timely appealed.”
The nonprofit that challenged the qualifications of Biggs, Gosar, and Finchem failed in two similar lawsuits against Congressman Madison Cawthorne (R-NC-11) and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14).
In addition to disqualification of the three legislators’ candidacy, Democrats have called for an investigation into their January 6 involvement.
The leader of the activist movement challenging the results of the 2020 election, Ali Alexander of “Stop the Steal,” named Gosar, Biggs, and Finchem as three individuals who helped him organize the January 6 protest.
One of the latest actions taken on these claims came last week when the U.S. House’s January 6 Committee requested that Biggs speak with them.
Biggs refused to cooperate. He compared the committee’s intentions and tactics to those behind the Salem Witch Trials, with former President Donald Trump supporters being the target.
Corporate executive Jim Lamon’s campaign for U.S. Senate received endorsements last week from the National Border Patrol Council and the Arizona Police Association, shocking many in the Republican Party who assumed Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was a shoo-in for the groups’ backing.
Lamon, the founder of Fortune 550 utility company DEPCOM Power, is among four prime candidates seeking the Republican nomination on Aug. 2, 2022 –and with it the chance to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly. The others are Brnovich, recently retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael “Mick” McGuire, and political newcomer Blake Masters, who serves as president of the Thiel Foundation.
There were also endorsements announced last week in the Arizona gubernatorial race, where businessman Steven Gaynor, former state lawmaker Matt Salmon, Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson, and current State Treasurer Kimberly Yee are hoping Republican voters will start to look past the local celebrity status of television news personality Kari Lake, the current front runner.
The endorsements came in the form of former governors Jan Brewer and Fife Symington joining Taylor Robson as co-chairs of her campaign. Their support comes after Taylor Robson and Yee spent the summer taking turns announcing various municipal and county endorsements.
Meanwhile, Rep. Aaron Lieberman (LD28) and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez Jr. are hoping to show the name recognition enjoyed by current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs does not mean she is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party in the race for governor.
The multi-candidate race to the Republican nomination for Arizona Secretary of State saw its biggest news to date when former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Mark Finchem (LD11) last week. Finchem’s most noted primary opponents are Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD23) and Rep. Shawnna Bolick (LD20).
Trump’s endorsement of Finchem overshadowed the fact Rep. Reginald Bolding (LD27) snagged the endorsements last week of two prominent Democratic state lawmakers in his race against former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes for that party’s nomination for Secretary of State.
Those endorsements, from Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and Senate Minority Whip Martin Quezada, came as Senate President Karen Fann announced the audit report is expected to be released shortly into how well Maricopa County -especially Fontes’ office- complied with election laws and state election rules during the 2020 General Election.
The Republican primary for State Treasurer got less bloated this month when Rep. Regina Cobb (LD5) bowed out just weeks after announcing her candidacy. Cobb will be taking an executive position with the Arizona Dental Association, leaving Sen. David Livingston (LD22) and Rep. Jeff Weninger (LD17) to duke it out.
On the Democrat side, Sen. Martin Quezada (LD29) is expected to easily win his party’s nomination in the primary.
There have not been any major changes in the race for Arizona Attorney General, where former Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould is in a close race for the Republican nomination against former federal prosecutor Lacy Cooper and UA College of Law alumna Tiffany Shedd in the primary.
And the fight for the Democratic Party nomination remains between Rep. Diego Rodriguez (LD27), former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes, and 2020 Legal Aid Attorney of the Year January Contreras. One Libertarian, Phoenix-based attorney Michael Kielsky, is also running for attorney general.