Big Lie: These Arizona Candidates Running in 2022 Still Won’t Acknowledge Biden’s Victory

headshots of Gosar, Blackman, and Biggs

(AP Photos)

By Connor Van Ligten

November 10, 2021

Although it’s been over a year since the 2020 presidential election, some Arizona politicians have been unable to move forward. 

A number of Republican officials and candidates are still refusing to acknowledge President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump, and some were involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt on the US Capitol. 

Here are the Arizonans seeking office in 2022 who still believe in the “Big Lie.”

US Senate

Justin Olson

Justin Olson sitting at desk in front of microphone
(AP Photo/Bob Christie)

Current office: AZ Corporation Commissions

Office seeking: US Senator

Time in office: 2017-present

Justin Olson is the former CFO of Turning Point USA, a far-right nonprofit that advocates for conservatism in education. He is seeking Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s seat and has refused to acknowledge that Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election.

Blake Masters

Blake Masters speaking at podium
(Photo by Gage Skidmore/The Star News Network)

Office seeking: US Senator

First-time candidate Blake Masters is a business partner of billionaire investor and Trump supporter Peter Thiel. Masters previously considered running against Martha McSally in 2020 but decided against doing so.

Masters wouldn’t directly confirm if Biden won the 2020 presidential election when asked. On Nov. 9, 2021, he posted a video of himself saying “I think Trump won in 2020.”

US House

US Rep. Paul Gosar

Paul Gosar sitting in front of mic in House Committee room
(AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst)

Current office: US House, District 4

Office seeking: Re-election

Time in office: 2011-present

Paul Gosar, the dentist turned congressman, is no stranger to those who follow Arizona politics. Gosar is a staunch Trump ally and has been in office for over a decade.

Gosar was allegedly involved in meetings planning and organizing the deadly Jan. 6 rally in Washington, DC. Gosar defended the Capitol rioters, called attempts to prosecute them a “conspiracy against Trump supporters,” and advocated against any charges for insurrectionists.

Gosar was one of 139 US representatives who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. A supporter of the Arizona Senate “audit” of Maricopa County’s votes in the 2020 election, Gosar refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory and called for a rematch of the election by the end of this year. Gosar was caught on video in September saying that members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors needed to be charged with crimes if the “audit” revealed fraud. 

US Rep. Andy Biggs

Andy Biggs speaking at podium with hand raised
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Current office: US House, District 5

Office seeking: Re-election

Time in office: 2017-present

Andy Biggs is a former Arizona state senator and current US congressman. He is also the chair of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Like Gosar, Biggs was linked to coordinating and planning the rally that became the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt. 

Biggs voted against certifying the 2020 election results and claimed that Biden did not win the 2020 election.

Ron Watkins

Big Lie: These Arizona Candidates Running in 2022 Still Won’t Acknowledge Biden’s Victory
Photo by By Fredrick R. Brennan

Office seeking: US House, District 1

Ron Watkins is a conspiracy theorist and former administrator of the website 8chan (currently owned by his father Jim Watkins). But more notably, Watkins is one of the most prominent suspects as the true identity of “Q,” the leader behind the violent and dangerous QAnon conspiracy.

Watkins has spread misinformation about the 2020 election. He called for the decertification of Arizona’s results, and told CNN that Trump is still the “de facto leader” of the United States and that Biden “is currently occupying the White House.” Watkins is attempting to unseat incumbent Democrat Rep. Tom O’Halleran.

Arizona Rep. Walter Blackman

Walter Blackman being sworn in  at Arizona Capitol
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Office seeking: US House, District 1

Current office: Arizona House, District 6

Time in office: 2019-present

Rep. Walter Blackman, a 21-year Army veteran, was the first Black Republican elected to the Arizona Legislature in 2018. Before the 2020 election, Blackman was criticized for attacking the character of George Floyd—a Black man whose killing at the hands of a police officer sparked worldwide protests—and calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist organization. Blackman also introduced a bill in the Arizona Legislature in January that would charge women who received abortions and doctors who performed them with murder. 

After Biden’s victory, Blackman signed onto a letter asking Congress to accept “alternate” electoral votes for Trump for the state of Arizona. Blackman also wrote an email to constituents claiming the Arizona Legislature could change the results of the Arizona election and give the electoral votes to Trump.

Other Offices

Kari Lake

profile of Kari Lake smiling
(Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Office seeking: Arizona governor

Kari Lake was a Fox 10 News anchor for over 20 years. In March 2021, Lake left her position there, saying that she had become disillusioned with the state of modern journalism. Lake was criticized in recent years for claiming the 2018 #RedForEd movement was a front for legalizing marijuana, using a curse word to disparage the Phoenix New Times in a 2019 Facebook Live, sharing COVID-19 and election misinformation, and attending CPAC (a conservative convention) in Florida while on vacation in 2021 though still working for Fox.

Lake announced her bid for governor in June and was endorsed by Trump. She has called repeatedly for the decertification of Biden’s 2020 victory in Arizona depending on the results of the state Senate’s “audit.” She has called for the imprisonment of Democratic Secretary of State (and fellow gubernatorial candidate) Katie Hobbs and has threatened to do the same to journalists.

Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem

Mark Finchem speaking into microphone with hand raised
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Current Office: Arizona House, District 11

Office seeking: Arizona secretary of state

Time in office: 2015-present

Mark Finchem is a member of the Arizona House and a Trump-endorsed candidate for the 2022 Arizona secretary of state race, a seat that is open due to Hobbs running for governor.

Finchem has ties to far-right extremist militia organizations such as the Oath Keepers and was photographed near the US Capitol on Jan. 6. Finchem has frequently promoted Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, supported the Arizona Senate “audit,” and called for decertification of the Arizona results. Arizona House Democrats attempted to expel Finchem earlier this year for his proximity to the insurrection but were unsuccessful.

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