Arizona Sens. Anthony Kern, Jake Hoffman, indicted for fake election scheme

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Arizona Sen. Anthony Kern outside the captiol. Photo by Camaron Stevenson

By Camaron Stevenson

April 24, 2024

Eighteen individuals involved in a conspiracy to overturn Arizona’s election results in 2020 were indicted by a grand jury Wednesday and charged with forgery, fraud, and conspiracy.

Two of the fake electors are state senators: Jake Hoffman and Anthony Kern. Kern is also a congressional candidate for Arizona’s 8th District, comprising Peoria and parts of the West Valley. The rest includes Arizona’s nine other fake electors who forged a document that fraudulently claimed Donald Trump won Arizona’s electoral votes in the 2020 election.

Seven others were indicted, but their names were redacted from the charges released Wednesday. Mayes said those names will become public once the individuals have been served the charges.

“[Mays] has weaponized the once respected Attorney General’s office do dliver an indictment of her Republican political opponents,” Hoffman said in a statement. “Let me be unequivocal, I am innocent of any crime, I will vigorously defend myself, and I look forward to the day when I am vindicated of this disgusting political persecution by the judicial process.”

Kern has not commented on the indictments, but Kern did hold a press conference last month denouncing Mayes. Kern also opened a legislative investigation into Mayes in retaliation for her “witch hunt” against him. So far, nothing has come of it.

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced the charges after conducting a 13-month investigation and joins attorneys general in three other states who have indicted individuals involved in the scheme.

“We are here because justice demands an answer to the efforts that the defendants and other unindicted coconspirators allegedly took to undermine the will of Arizona’s voters during the 2020 presidential election,” said Mayes. “Whatever their reasoning was, the plot to violate the law must be answered for, and I was elected to uphold the law of this state.”

What are fake electors

In December 2020, 11 people met at the state Republican Party of Arizona headquarters in Phoenix and signed documents claiming to be the legitimate electors, or representatives, of Arizona’s electoral votes.

Electors are people appointed by state parties, sometimes before the general election, to represent voters. The job is often given to current and former party officials, state lawmakers, and party activists.

The winner of the state’s popular vote determines which party’s electors are sent to the Electoral College, which convenes in December after the election to certify the winner of the White House.

In 2020, the majority of Arizona voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, so the Arizona Democratic Party chose the state’s slate of official electors. Unofficially, and illegally, the Republican Party of Arizona also chose a slate of electors to be sent to Congress:

  • Tyler Bowyer: CEO, right-wing student organization Turning Point USA; National Committeeman, Republican Party of Arizona
  • Nancy Cottle: Chair person for slate of fake electors; Vice President of Programs, Arizona Federation of Republican Women
  • Jake Hoffman: Arizona state senator representing Queen Creek
  • Anthony Kern: Arizona state senator representing Phoenix and Glendale; candidate for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District
  • Jim Lamon: Former Republican candidate for US Senate; former CEO of DEPCOM Power, a subsidiary of Koch Engineered Solutions
  • Robert Montgomery: Former chairman of the Cochise County Republican Committee
  • Sam Moorhead, Former Gila County Provisional Community College District Governing Board Member; former Gila County Republican Party Second Vice Chair
  • Loraine Pellegrino: Secretary for slate of fake electors
  • Greg Safsten: Executive Director, Republican Party of Arizona
  • Dr. Kelli Ward: Former state legislator, former Chair of the Republican Party of Arizona
  • Dr. Michael Ward: Husband of Dr. Kelli Ward

Charges have been filed with the Maricopa County Superior Court, but a court date has not yet been set.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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