A Republican’s Defense of Arizona’s Election Integrity

Former President Donald Trump embraces Kari Lake at a campaign rally in October 2022. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Happy Monday! We trust after a restful weekend that you, like Mitch McConnell, are “in good shape, completely recovered and back on the job.”

Up to Speed

  • After three unsuccessful ballots on the House floor, House Republicans voted Friday to withdraw Rep. Jim Jordan as their speaker nominee, with only 86 lawmakers supporting his continued candidacy on a conference secret ballot. After the vote, Jordan told reporters that it was time for Republicans to unite around a candidate: “Let’s figure out who that individual is, get behind him, and get to work for the American people.”
  • The White House is urging Israel to delay its forthcoming ground invasion of Gaza to negotiate the release of hostages still being held there. Hamas released two American citizens, a mother and daughter, on Friday; 212 others are still being held.
  • Sen. Tim Scott said Sunday that he opposed Biden’s proposed $100 billion legislative package that would allot new funding to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the southern border, telling ABC’s This Week that “we need to have a single focus on bringing Congress together behind the support for Israel.”
  • Liz Cheney is not ruling out a 2024 presidential bid. Wyoming’s former congresswoman, ousted in a Republican primary last year over her opposition to former President Donald Trump, told CNN’s Jake Tapper “no I’m not” when he asked if she was “ruling out” jumping into the race. Regardless of her own political plans, Cheney said she planned to spend the next year “helping to elect sane people” of both parties.  
  • On a new episode of the Dispatch Podcast, Steve and Sarah interview McKay Coppins, the author of the forthcoming biography, Romney: A Reckoning. The conversation touches on how Coppins received extraordinary access to the Utah senator and 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Give it a listen.

An Interview With Stephen Richer, Maricopa County Recorder

We haven’t talked too much in this newsletter about the right’s ongoing “election integrity” fervor, which by definition becomes a bigger deal after votes have been cast. But despite the stop-the-steal movement’s continued abysmal record in court—two of its major players just last week pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy related to their 2020 efforts in Georgia—the issue isn’t going away. Its two biggest Republican proponents, former president Donald Trump and failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate and current Senate candidate Kari Lake, look like Republican standard-bearers going into the 2024 election season. 

So we thought it’d be useful to catch up with one of Arizona’s most important election officials: Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. 

The county recorder isn’t too important in most places, but the fast-growing Maricopa is an exception. Eighty-nine percent of Arizonans voted by mail in 2020, and it’s the recorder’s job both to get them registered and to process those mail-in ballots. Over the last two years, Richer has become notable for another reason: He’s made himself one of the country’s most outspoken Republican defenders of elections—earning the ire of the likes of Trump and Lake along the way. Richer even sued Lake for defamation earlier this year, alleging her election falsehoods had resulted in “constant harassment, intimidation, and threats to my and my family’s lives.”

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